2019 Mission Trip: Louisa, Kentucky Day 5



Gotta or Wanna?

Back to our regular routine this morning, so we were up very early and off to 7:30am Mass. In today’s Gospel, Jesus invites us to yoke ourselves to Him and He will be our helpmate. Fr. Mike talked about the difference in having to do something and wanting to do something. He told the story of two neighboring dads. One dad told his son that he had to get the front yard raked or he would face punishment. The other dad told his son that the other neighbor said that he lost a $10 bill and thought it blew into the leaves on their front lawn. The dad told his son that the neighbor said if he found it, he could keep it. One boy cheerfully and carefully raked while the other was doing it begrudgingly, with a scowl on his face. Motivation makes a big difference in how easy it is to get things done. If we are followers of the Lord, we should ‘wanna’ follow His will, not because we ‘gotta.’

After Mass we headed out to job sites. Our larger group of eight headed to Miss Ann’s home to finish up our job there. In total we changed out five windows and changed an inefficient door wall to a well insulated door. She lost a bit of light in the rooms, but the fact that the rooms will stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter make up for it. Miss Ann told us that she could tell the difference yesterday, even before we changed out the last two windows. These changes making her home more energy efficient should also help her reduce her utility bills. Miss Ann is a very kind, giving and grateful woman.  Wanting to help her motivated us to do the very best we could for her. Her gratitude was just the cherry on top.

As a parish nurse my medical antenna tends to goes up when someone talks about a medical issue. Early in the week Miss Ann stated that she will be having important surgery on her arm stump in September to help relieve some of the pain. After that she can get an arm prosthesis. The doctor told her that she must stop smoking for at least six weeks before and after surgery for him to even consider her a candidate. Ann was proud to tell me that she had not smoked for five days already. I did notice that there were full ashtrays in the home and I could also smell smoke. When I asked her if anyone else in the home smoked, she said that several others did. I informed her that she should ask them to do it outside because the second hand smoke could eliminate her chance of having the surgery. She would probably still test positive for nicotine. This information surprised her and she felt somewhat uncomfortable with the thought of asking them to go outside. Many of us on the team encouraged her to do what was best for her health. First thing this morning she told me that no one has smoked in the house for two days and she already feels like the air in the house is cleaner. It was nice to use my nursing skills for something other than bandaging wounds and trying to prevent heat exhaustion. All of bring different gifts to the mission experience. We might think that we are just there to fix something in the house, but often we find that we are given opportunities to do and say things that encourage and affect others in unexpected ways.

We pray for a successful surgery for Miss Ann.

Our other team went to a new home today, the home of Miss Judy. She had a roof problem that caused water damage to her living room ceiling. After four attempts to fix the leak, the problem was finally solved, but the ceiling was a mess. A large portion of the ceiling needed to be removed, new insulation put in and then new dry wall applied. All of this was completed today, leaving the finish work to be done tomorrow. They will also weather-proof and exterior door for her.

Miss Judy is a retired CPA. She now sells jewelry at flea markets to make money. Many medical issues have slowed her down quite a bit. Miss Judy shared that she lived in Michigan for many years when she was working. When she came back to Kentucky she brought back a butterfly bush to re-plant here. It is beautiful and attracts many butterflies to her yard. Michelle had an opportunity to spend some time with Miss Judy and learn about her connection to Fr. Beiting. She told her that she met him several times and observed him when he was doing street preaching. One Christmas season she witnessed three people being saved during one of his outdoor sessions. Praise be to God! Many people in this area admire Fr. Beiting for the good work he did in this area. Although he has been deceased for many years, he is still well respected in this area.

After a big pasta dinner, eight of us went to Paintsville to attend Front Porch Pickin’ at the Country Music Highway Museum. It was a fun evening. Different groups played live music every 20 minutes. When a gospel song was played people stood in respect. For the rest of the music many people were up and dancing. Several young people were there, including our friends from Immaculate Conception, as were several senior citizens. They all showed off their dance moves tonight.

It is hard to believe that we only have one more day of service here in Louisa, KY. We appreciate all of your prayers. We will really need them tomorrow, as there will be a hot weather advisory through Saturday when we leave. Blessings to you all!