Disasters have one major thing in common. It takes longer to recover from them than many people realize. It’s definitely “the Long Haul.” It can seem overwhelming, but when caring people come together to help, the burden gets lighter. What a joy it is to see many churches coming together to help in the aftermath of the recent devastating storms.
Park Cities Presbyterian Church is one of the many churches across the country that have taken steps in the last few weeks to come alongside MNA Disaster Response. Their vision is to provide resources not just for the short term, but for six, twelve, eighteen months from now so that their people can still be helping with the recovery. Rebuilding lives is a long process, but help is already in full swing.
Today, September 23, two Sheds of Hope are being set up in Houston. They were pre-built by Bethel Church in Dallas many months ago in preparation for such an event. Thirteen more Sheds of Hope will be following them in a few days. These were built by members from 13 different churches and about 80 volunteers last week. How exciting it is that plans are in the works to pre-build 60 sheds before the end of the year!
As the work progresses, more people are eager to be involved. In mid-October, I will be at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in San Antonio as they host volunteers from a group of churches in that area that are coming together with the goal of pre-building six Sheds of Hope. I look forward to being with them to train them and work alongside them. The following weekend I plan to be in Anna at Grace and Peace Mission doing a pre-build there as well. It is great to see the vision of Sheds of Hope becoming a reality, training and mobilizing people and churches to have a powerful impact as we work and serve together to show the love of Christ after a disaster.
A tremendous group of volunteers came together this past week in Dallas at Davis Hawn Lumber Company to build Sheds of Hope for Houston. Our goal was 12 sheds, but “the people had a mind to work” (Neh 4:6), and by 3:00 Saturday afternoon, our 13th shed was finished and added to the stack of shed kits ready to be delivered to Houston. Eighty volunteers from thirteen different churches gave of their time this week. Some could only work for one three-hour shift, and some came almost every day. Many thanks to Davis Hawn and Park Cities Presbyterian Church for their partnership with MNA Disaster Response and providing everything we needed.
After the shed kits are delivered to Houston, they will be set up by volunteers who have been able to travel to Houston to help in the recovery from Hurricane Harvey. We have a disaster response team on the ground there, and the work will be long. We are lining up other shed builds, so that people in other cities can also help, even if they can’t travel to Houston. Stay tuned for more updates.
Just arrived with two of the newest SmartBenches for the Sheds of Hope build starting Monday, 9/11. We set up the work site today, and then the pre-cut for the Dallas Sheds of Hope build got under way.
What a week it has been! Last Sunday, Pastor Mark Davis made an announcement for the upcoming Sheds of Hope build for the Houston area. The deacons have set a goal of building 12 sheds starting 9/11 and ending 9/16. They wanted to reach out to other churches in the area so that they could be involved as well. PCPC put a sign-up link on their web site, and we had to close the sign-up form on Friday, 9/8. In just six days, we had 66 volunteers representing 13 different churches and groups. What an outpouring of mercy and love!
We are thankful to have the use of a great worksite for the build – Davis Hawn Lumber Company in Dallas. The pre-cut today went well, and things are looking great for our first volunteers to arrive at 9 am on Monday, 9/11. We are going to operate two shifts: 9 to noon. There will be a lunch break for those staying all day. The afternoon shift will be from 1 to 4pm.
Take a look at this short video as we finished cutting the end rafters for the twelve sheds. We need four rafters for every shed.
Mission to North America (MNA) is bringing shower trailers and bunk houses into the Houston area. They are coming from Mississippi, Texas, and from our warehouse in Rome, Georgia. Rick Lenz and I will be bringing the shower trailer in the photo from North Texas Presbytery to Grace Presbyterian Church in The Woodlands. Rick Lenz is our Disaster Response Specialist, South Central Region. He has been very busy getting the names of families impacted by the flood and has been polling churches all across the Southeast. Tomorrow, he will be leading our information and strategy meeting at Christ the King Presbyterian Church in Houston.
I just loaded up a box of sheets and pillows into the truck to take with us. Dawn, who brought the box from Christ Presbyterian Church in Flower Mound, told me about a young lady 18 years of age living in the Dallas area who has not heard from her family to know whether or not they are ok. It lets you see the pain and struggle that countless people are dealing with in the aftermath of Harvey, and the pain and struggle we will be entering into as we begin working in the devastated communities in and around Houston.
Hurricane Harvey came with a vengeance and did not want to leave. Now a very long recovery begins for Houston and many other communities in South Texas. MNA Disaster Response is already in the process of moving bunkhouses, shower trailers and equipment to Grace Presbyterian Church in The Woodlands area.
Sheds of Hope will begin building shed kits on September 11, and it has been amazing to see God bring together the resources and location for a large-scale build in Dallas. Thanks to a generous business owner, we will have the space we need to allow many volunteers to be working at the same time.
You can be involved in building sheds, and you can even bring a group from your church and get trained on the Smartbench. The Dallas build, September 11-16, is being sponsored by Park Cities Presbyterian Church. For information and to sign up, click here.
For wisdom for those planning the overall response strategy.
For volunteers and donors to get involved.
For safety and protection for staff and volunteers in the recovery efforts.
After I had the joy of training a group from Lake Oconee Presbyterian Church, the newly trained team began building two sheds for Albany, Georgia which had just suffered severe storm damage. This Community Spotlight Radio Interview with the leader of the Lake Oconee team, Dick Forrester, was recorded the week after the shed-build.
The first Sheds of Hope Bench has been cut out on a CNC router. It was great to take all the pieces from 8 sheets of plywood and put them together to form the first Sheds of Hope Bench cut on a CNC router. Some fifty-seven parts went into making the workbench. The templates for the wall studs will allow all the studs to be cut in three passes – eighteen studs at a time, with no measuring or marking.
Now that this prototype has been built, I am making a few minor tweaks to the CAD drawing and hope to start production on four more benches in the next few weeks. This bench is going to Georgia next week for its trial run to build the first Shed-in-a-Truck, made with 4-ft-wide panels. The bench can also be used to make the Standard Shed (8-ft-wide panels).