As usual while Gerri and I are doing our thing Pastor is talking to other pastors, people who have women’s shelters, and making as many contacts as he can. He’s gone to some of the local businesses in the area and has been told, “Sure, we’ll hire them.” That’s another service we will provide to the women; help them find a job. Oh no, not flipping hamburgers, but something they will like and be successful in.
We’ve cleaned out the cabinets and drawers, cleaned out the stinky food and two dead cockroaches from the refrigerator, (anyone ever find roaches in your frig?) and bagged up the donations and trash. We fill the back of my SUV with the bags and lose items for donating and on the way home I swing by a donation center and leave with an empty car and a smile on my face.
Returning the next day I’ve started lining all the drawers and cabinets and place my friends clean dishes in the cabinets. We have some baking tins and a few cups and glasses that we have decided we can use. They are set aside to wash and store.
We have learned that besides there not being any heat there is no hot water either. Ya’ can’t wash this stuff in cold water and we ain’t putting our hands in a sink full of cold water when we’re already fighting hypothermia! First things first must be done before we can have the gas turned on, and the hot water heater and furnace is gas.
Returning the next day, because there is no heat and we’re cold we debate whether to stay and do more if we can. We decide to stay a little longer and start a list of kitchen appliances and kitchen items we will need; the coffee pot is okay, we need a new microwave, there are no decent pots and pans, some more cups and glasses, a knife set, and the list goes on. We’ll finish the list at home where its warm. Walking out to the car we stop and look at the junk piled up along the side of the house. “Did Pastor say he has a big dumpster coming Monday?” I ask, with a sour expression as I pick up a filthy rag with the tips of my fingers and toss it on the pile.
“Yes.” “Good! We’ll come Tuesday and get this crap cleaned up as much as we can.”
Pastor calls and says the dumpster has been delivered and he’ll try to get a few of the teen boys to come over and get the mess cleaned up. I almost laugh out loud. Teens? Work? Yeah right! But no worry, for the next three days Gerri and I are like kids standing looking out the windows and whining, “Will it ever stop raining?” We’re bored, we’re anxious to get back to the house and get more done and finally it stops.
“Get your boots and work gloves woman, we’re heading to the house!” I holler downstairs. Throwing our rain boots and work gloves in the back of the car, we head out. The rain has started again but more of a drizzle. All the way over to the house we’re pleading, “Lord stop the rain, we have work to do!”
Oh Jesus is so good and He’s always faithful to hear our prayers. Pulling into the driveway and to the back of the huge dumpster the rain has stopped and we don our rain boots, gloves, and I make sure my crocheted hat covers my ears. Its cold and cloudy and wind in my ears? I’ll be sick in nothing flat! We grunt and heave as we struggle to get the big door open on the end of the dumpster. Taking a deep determined breath we step into the muddy yard and begin our work.
Some of the items takes the two of us to lift and carry to the dumpster. We drag a large sheet of heavy wall paneling to the gaping hole of the dumpster. Standing at one end of it looking at the big sheet of wall paneling, I think, If I was just 2 years younger I could pretend that’s a Javelin and heave that sucker right over the top. Taking a deep breath and flexing my 77 year old muscles, I lift one end and shove it into the dumpster as far as I can.
Cardboard boxes filled with stuff we don’t want to stick our hands in are soaked from the weather and fall apart as soon as we lift a corner, leaving the mess in the mud for us to pick up.
Each trip to the dumpster I have to shove my hat back out of my eyes. I laugh when Gerri stands watching, “I should not have washed my hair, my hat won’t stay in place.” Laughing we get back to work. Gradually the dumpster is filling up and the pile of garbage and left behind stuff is getting smaller. After about three hours we have to stop. The wood and panel pieces leaning against the building, the old dish washer and washing machine are just way too big and too heavy for us to handle. The men will have to deal with those.
Thankfully the slipping and sliding in the mud has ended and we start in the carport. A toy that a small child can ride is set aside for donation, bags with sweatshirts, jackets, and kids clothes are gone through and sorted for donation or tossed in the trash bag. A breast pump is gingerly inspected and tossed, the wood stretched across a couple of saw horses is left, and as Gerri sorts through more stuff she suddenly yells, “I found a key!” How the wife ever thought we would find a key hidden behind this stuff is beyond me.
We’ve had extra keys made from the one we found in the dish so there’s no question now about having to break in. We’ve also learned all reports, contacts, rules and regulations, and the pass word for the website have disappeared into the night along with the couple.
We’re determined to persevere and refuse to be detoured. Progress is being made. But will we find any more surprises as we continue to fulfill God’s plans?
Stay tuned, there’s more adventure to come.
See ya’ next time.
Into the Light Ministry