Sunday, October 16, 2011

Saturday "A Day Late"

I really tried to open my laptop and post something on Saturday night. I got the case open, thats all I remember. So, with that said, I apologize to the millions of readers/followers that this post is 24 hours late.

We are obviously home. Safe and sound. TCF has completed another one of many mission trips. Would any of us have ever guessed seven years ago that tiny TCF would send missionarys to India, Southeast Asia, Africa, New Orleans, Nashville, Tuscaloosa, Central America, Mexico, etc??

Praise Him!! We were blessed abundantly! Through the hard physical work, aches, and pain, we knew we were covered by Him. He was ever-present.

It was a joy to watch Michael, Aaron, and Larry, who have never been back to the south, enjoy their mission experience. It was great to watch the ever steady Bob, lead the crew. It was great to hang out with Matt and watch his growth. The youngsters and oldsters of the team made up a great team.

As always, the Samaritan's Purse crew were great hosts. I honestly dont know how they could improve, (they asked for input, we didn't have any).

We look forward to going back to Tuscaloosa, soon.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Day 5

Quote of the day: "We ain't buildin' no violin!"

Today was our last full day of work here in Tuscaloosa. Most of us had trouble getting up for breakfast at 6:30 this morning. So tired that most didn't remember the words to "Blessed Be Your Name".....including myself...during our time of worship. We are all dinged up, brused, sore, legs shaking, heads aching, falling through ceilings...the list goes on. We started off with with tons of energy and set really high goals. Of course, the list of repairs climbed with every layer of roof we peeled off, but we knew we could do it. But as the days wore on, we all started to wear out. Things weren't exactly going to plan and went much slower than anticipated.

But yesterday as we showed up to the site, I feel that the morale as a group turned the corner. Aaron prayed for us that morning before we started and he said, "God, let us be able to look back at our work today and say 'Wow!'"

Well...after looking back...we really could. That momentum carried over to today, regardless of brused bones or brused egos. All framing, bracing, sheeting, and papering of the roof is now complete. All that is left is to put shingles on the roof. We may not complete this in the 4 hours we have tomorrow, but it's something we can look back and be proud of. We know that we helped Miss Mary with something that she couldn't have done, otherwise. We were the encouragement and light for people in a hurt community. Finally, it exposed our own need and dependence for God and showed that we're really nothing without him. It's only him working through us that we can do great things. We're just middle men. :)

This is a before and after of Miss Mary's roof:

Just one more day here in Tuscaloosa and then we're on our way home. If you are in charge of picking us up, we get back at 7:40 in Sacramento. Don't forget, please.. But we might not have any money because we're stopping in Vegas....and we bought everything in Wal-Mart.

Thank you again for all the support and funny comments...we need more of those by the way. We're going to miss this place a lot but are looking forward to come back home.

Michel Mann

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 4 in Tuscaloosa

Greetings ya'll!

It has been a long and fruitful day today in labor for the spirit. We had high hopes for completing certain stages of our roofing remodel.

As you can see, we began the day with a partially skeletonized roof frame. As the day progressed, we began picking up speed, quickly finishing the raffters of one side of the "A" frame, setting up an opportunity to begin a full on plywood nail-athon. After lunch and 2 more hours we had completed one whole side of plywood laid down and papered.

And if that wasn't enough, our other dynamic duo Manntastic Michael and Aaron(Alan) finished the opposite side rafters of the roof. Needless to say, there was plenty of opposition. The enemy tried to douse us with 2 rounds of downpour. Oh, and then this happened....

Hello! Is anyone in there?

Michael Mannaged to find a rat hole buried under layers and layers of insulation! Just kidding, he decided that standing on his tippy toes on dry wall would be an ok idea. Needless to say, we told Ms. Mary, that whether or not liked it or not, we were giving her a new skylight! We even told her we would throw in the extra labor for free.

We are very excited and hoping to make a lot of progress tomorrow so we can get Ms. Mary under a leak-free new roof. Thank ya'll for keeping us in your prayers and we will see you soon.

God Bless,

Matt Mann

Lets just say it's turning out Manntstically and rafstafari!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 3 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

"Greenbow, Alabama!"

"Anybody want an Oreo?"

"That's not right..."

All things said today (and yesterday) with meaning, you'll find out later.

(From Dave)

Serious note, Day 3 was God filled as always. We are "working" on removing and re-installing a roof. The decision to start over was made late on Tuesday. When we are done, Miss Mary, will be dry for the winter. Michael Mann did worship this morning. A treat as always.

We are being fed really well. Blueberry pancakes, oatmeal, eggs, sausage, fruit, english muffin, for breakfast served by Jay, the house cook. Great guy and WANTS us to gain 5 lbs.

We had dinner at my aunt's house tonight with my cousins and 2nd cousins and 3rd cousin!!! Homemade roast with potatoes, fried chicken, chicken pot pie with green beans, onions, carrots, au jus, lima beans, black eyed peas, fruit salad, coleslaw, barbeque beans, sweet tea, coke, dessert was cheesecake squares, chocolate pie, sock it to me cake, and pound cake. It was kind of like Thanksgiving dinner on a Wednesday in October.

We are placing rafters on the roof, each one a custom-fit cut. No cuts are the same as the house needs more tlc than we can give. However, she will have a nice roof . We are very hopeful we will have some sheeting on the roof tomorrow.

We have been well received by all we meet here in Tuscaloosa. All have been appreciative of our presence BUT it is OUR blessing that HE has provided to us to serve. There are plenty of opportunities here for service to Him. I'm thinking a returning trip may be in the offering at some time in the near future.

Today we have a game for you wonderful's called

"Guess Who's War Wound!"

your choices are: Dave, Larry, Bob, Aaron, Matt, and Michel

answers tomorrow. Have a good night.

-Dave Elliot-

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Day 2

Hey Everyone!

We are here in Tuscaloosa, Alabama! We arrived yesterday afternoon and made it here safe. All bags, tools, guitars, and snacks made it without a scratch...thank you Southwest Airlines for not only letting our bags fly for free, but for handling them so gently.. :) After arriving in Tuscaloosa and settling into our temporary home at the First Baptist Church, we set out to our work site to do what we came here for.

A natural disaster is hard enough on a city, regardless. But for Tuscaloosa, the tornado ripped through some of the poorest communities in town. It was humbling to see people's belongings, and really, their life, just lying on the ground. Most of these people could not afford to rebuild themselves, even with home insurance. They had no other choice but to uproot and move away. This is a picture of an apartment complex that was destroyed and then left abandoned.

We arrived at our work site this morning and began our project, which is a complete rebuild of a roof. Not only was part of the roof damaged from the wind, but this home was built during the 1940's and possibly as early as the 1930's. So it was needless to say that we have our work cut out for us. Everything will be ripped down and will start over from scratch in order to provide a safe and weather-proof roof over this family's home. This seems like a tremendous task, but I'm confident that we were put here for this specific reason and have the tools and knowledge to finish the job.

Our goals for this week are:

- Complete tear down and complete rebuild the roof

- Show God's love and mercy through our work

- Build stronger relationships with our team members and with other volunteers

- Enjoy our time here!

This is a great town that is full of great people. We have been greeted with countless thank you's from the moment we got here. Seriously, one of the most welcoming places on earth. We can definitely learn from them. Roll Tide! (Hopefully some of you get that)

More to come tomorrow. Thank you for the support and prayers.

Michael Mann

Monday, October 10, 2011


A group of men from Touchstone are serving with Samaritan's Purse in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 
rebuilding in the wake of devastating Tornadoes last April.
Check in here for regular updates throughout the week.