Friday, September 30, 2016

SMM Welcomes New Board Members

SMM would like to welcome our 2 newest Board of Directors, Sarah Idsardi & Ron Herron. While you've probably already seen them at some of our past events, both of these Directors will officially begin in January 2017.
Sarah lives in Hardee County and is a School Teacher at Wauchula Elementary School. She attends First Baptist Church Wauchula and serves with the youth and missions committee. She has been on several missions trips including Montana, New Orleans, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and most recently a 3 year international teaching experience in Kenya, Africa. "I love missions because through the lens of missions we realize and learn how to use our gifts, talents, and resources to further God’s Kingdom." -Sarah Idsardi
Ron lives in Hardee County and is an Administrator at Hardee Senior High. He attends First Baptist Church Bowling Green and serves with the Men's Ministry, Personnel Committee, and soon, a Deacon of the Church. Ron also serves on the Board of Caring People Recovery. He has been to Haiti and serves frequently in Hardee County. "Serving at Hardee Senior High School around teenage students and other adults, I have a chance to share the Love of Jesus and the Gospel message. And that's one of the most important mission fields to me." - Ron Herron

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Louisiana Disaster Relief Trip - Day 4 Update

Today was our last day working in Louisiana. It hurts to know that there are so many homes that are desperate for help and we have to leave; however, it brings such joy to look back at the 7 houses we completed in just the 4 days we were here. Today we split into 2 groups: group one continued the "mud-out process" and gutting out houses. Group 2 consisted of 4 members, it was the group that sprayed homes for mold. Group 2 set out to spray their first home and then met up with a Disaster Relief Team to help finish the gutting of one home. One of our team members, Tonya, volunteered to work with the Alabama Relief Team a.k.a "The Food Unit". They fed approximately 3,700 people in the area all before 2:30!

We've met several people throughout the days we've been here.  Today after dinner, we went for a treat at Baskin Robins with our team shirts on and we met a few ladies who we spoke with while we were there. They were all their with their friend who was affected by the flood. They wanted to take her out and get her mind off her tragedy. They all thanked us and said how grateful they were to receive any kind of help.  Although we hear thank you from the people of Louisiana, it truly has been a blessing to work in their homes and to offer up the help that is so desperately needed. Through all the devastation the good news is that many have found Jesus and many have grown stronger in their relationship with the Lord. We are grateful that we've were able to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Louisiana Disaster Relief Team - Day 3 Update

I apologize to my readers for not updating the blog yesterday. I fell asleep a little early, but I am back and ready to inspire your souls. We had another amazing day helping the people of Louisiana. This morning we went back to the home of Mr. Brown to finish cleaning out his home. Every time we met with him, he would greet us with a smile and a hug. Talk about inspiring! Anyone could see the joy of the Lord in him just by his countenance, even through this disaster.  We finished the job early in the morning and said goodbye. Then we were given our next work order, and we went to the home of Mr. Joe while Team 1 stayed to finish up the wood floor in Mrs. Tracey's house.

Mr. Joe is an older gentleman who would definitely not be able to do this on his own. We tore out the walls, took out furniture, and cleaned it up as best as we could. After a home is cleaned up, another team will come and spray it down in order to stop and kill any mold.  Toward the end of our time there, we met the neighbors who were graciously mowing Mr. Joe's yard. They ended up joining us in a word of prayer when we were all finished. With tears in her eyes, the neighbor thanked us for all of our help. Not only was she thankful, but Mr. Joe was also thankful. His son and Mr. Joe hugged us all and thanked us for our help. Jesus says in Mark 12:29-31 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these. - Martha Valadez (SMM Team Member)

Friday, September 2, 2016

Louisiana Disaster Relief Team - Day 2 Update

It's been a long day and our team worked incredibly hard today (which is why our updated isn't being posted until today - Day 3). Hardee County & Polk County should be very proud of the people that are here representing them. Our teams are "promoting" daily in their work and becoming very skilled at gutting homes. There is such a sweet spirit with all of our team members and there is unity with everyone!

Our SMM Team was split into 2 teams today, but still worked within a few homes of each other in the same neighborhoods. Team 1 completed gutting our first home from yesterday and started on another. Team 2 completed a new home today and started on another one. We had the opportunity to meet several of the homeowners today and hear their stories of devastation and, for some, hope. No matter where we were, we did our best at sharing where our hope comes from no matter what's happens here on this earth.

So what does a typical work day look like for us...

7am Breakfast
7:45am Team Meet Up to receive assignments for the day
8:30am Arrive on Work Site
12pm Lunch
4:30pm Head back to the church
5pm Showers
6pm Dinner
6:30pm Devotion
7:30pm Team Leader Meeting
8:30pm Team Share Time

So what does it look like when we gut a home... Everything that came in contact with the water has to go! Furniture, beds, clothes, dressers, cabinets, floors, toilets, dishwashers, stoves, refrigerators, and even the walls. The picture below is of our first home that we completed. Most of the homes at this point have all of their personal belongings out, but the walls & floors haven't been prepped. Once we completely gut the home, then a team will come in and spray it to kill any mold that may be forming. This completes our process and then the homeowner will have a contractor come in and restore the home.

In talking to most of the families, while some of the homes did have flood insurance, others didn't, but this type of flooding has never happened before. No one was ready for it. The rains just kept coming, the levee broke, and there was little time to prepare to leave. Most had to evacuate and for those who didn't, as one lady said, "the man was just floating down the water on an air mattress, waiting for someone to come help him."


Tonight we also spent some time sharing with each other what we did, what God has been teaching us through this experience, and then we had a special time of prayer for some of the families, some of our families and for those in Florida that may be hit by the hurricane that's on it's way. While the weather doesn't look good for our hometown right now, the weather has been just perfect for the work we are doing here in Louisiana.

Please continue to keep praying for:
  • Safety
  • Strength for each day 
  • One of our team member's mom who is in the hospital
  • More opportunities to share Christ with others