This really has been no week at the beach, but we were close...about ten miles, to be exact. That’s about as close to seeing the white sands and blue water of the Gulf of Mexico as I have come this week. I’m sitting in the fellowship hall of Temple Baptist Church, in Lynn Haven, Florida. It is two-thirty in the morning. Other than the purr of a refrigerator, all is quiet as I sit here alone writing what you are now reading. It is not quiet in the sanctuary. No, they aren’t having a worship service at this time of night. There are nine men sleeping in there. Well, there are only eight now. I was the ninth, and like they used to say of Elvis, I have left the building. For the past half-hour I have “listened” to the others sleep! Old men sleep loudly. I must confess that I too am one who sleeps loudly, but not for the last hour. All that snoring, along with two who couldn’t stop coughing, one who had an unbelievably loud squeaking air-mattress, one C-pap machine, and various other noises, is why I’m sitting in the fellowship hall at this hour of the night, writing to you. Warning: I may be grouchy today.
This is the beginning of my sixth and last day here - no, not in the fellowship hall but in Lynn Haven. I have spent this week, as I have many others, with Master Builders Mission Team. Twenty-four men, women, and youth made this trip. The youngest is ten and the oldest is eighty-three. This is my first visit to the panhandle since Hurricane Michael blew through. We came here to help rebuild the education building of the church. Like a giant can-opener, Michael opened up and removed their roof. We came to hang and finish sheetrock in the four-thousand square foot building. This is our team’s specialty. Once we arrived, we realized they were not ready for what we came to do because the air-conditioning duct work and the electrical wiring had not been completed. The first word in almost any mission trip is “flexibility.” Mission work is “give-and-take.” You take what they give and you do the best work you can. Fortunately, one member of our team knows how to do wiring and electrical work. We did as much sheetrock work as possible, while he and a few helpers did wiring.
On our last day, one of the teenagers was laying insulation in the attic when he slipped off a rafter and fell through the ceiling. He hit one of the men below. By God’s grace, neither of them was seriously injured. Right after another great dinner prepared by our cooking team, I discovered my truck had a dead battery. Do you realize that car batteries these days cost almost $200 – at least on the Gulf Coast!
You may be saying, “Boy, y’all had a bad week.” Hey, we hadn’t been hit by a hurricane. Actually, we had a great week. We have worked, laughed, sang, prayed, played, had devotionals, and eaten way too much wonderful food. We’ve made new friends, spent time with old friends, and helped a church who badly needed a hand. We haven’t even had a bad day, because there is no such thing. Bad things, difficult things, and trying things, sometimes happen in the course of a day, or even a week, but there are no bad days. How we respond to those things is up to each of us. The Bible says, “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” When we’re given lemons, make lemonade!
— Bill King is a native of Rainsville, where he and his wife graduated from Plainview High School. King is a director of missions in Opelika, a writer, musician and author. His column appears in the Times-Journal Thursdays edition. Visit brobillybob.com for more information.