Thursday started off a little slow. After getting back from The Lion King late last night, everyone was really tired, which made our devotion/quiet time this morning interesting. Everyone loved the show last night, and got to spend a little bit of time in Times Square for shopping and pictures.

The morning also brought rain. After stopping at Lowes to pick up some flowers and other needed tools, the group drove into Breezy Point. Dashing through the rain, the groups got started on their tasks for the day.

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Three of the small groups went to work on finishing the sheet rock in the winter chapel, and taping and compounding the Sheetrock that was already up. These three groups turned out to be all women. The whole week this room and the work done in it was dominated by a male presence. As the group was getting started this morning, one of the Habitat workers (a woman) said she needed some guys to do something. Both Duane and I said, these girls can handle it. And they totally did! By the end of the day, I overheard the Habitat woman say to her supervisor that he needed to find more work for the girls because they were knocking it out!

The other three groups focused on the outside of he church, where the cook-out will be on Friday. There was weed-eating, weed pulling, and flower painting. But the outside work quickly came to a halt when thundered rolled. The outside crew moved inside and we started moving pews from a section of the summer chapel to another part of the room. This part of the floor had not been cleaned yet. The pews were stacked one on top of another. After moving about a dozen of them, a group started sweeping and then cleaning the floor. After various layers of dirt were removed, sections of mold was discovered. This part of the floor was located to the right of the front doors, where apparently there was a surge of water.

Upon of the discovery of mold, two brave individuals – a college student and an adult – set out to tackle the mold. Using a mold kit that Big Tom (with Habitat for Humanity) bought, they began the process. At one point David, one of the high school students, came into the room and it wasn’t long before he put on a hazmat suit, goggles, and gloves, and got down on the floor to scrub. Shortly later, two more joined in to tackle this common enemy.

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Meanwhile, the rain left, and he sun came out. And along with the outing of the sun, the youth and adults headed back out into the world, as if they were leaving the ark. They cleared out brush. They weed eated some more. They planted more flowers. They trimmed tree branches. And they hauled more debris and trash to the dumpster.

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Despite the rain, it was a very productive day. And we learned tonight in the debriefing/worship from Willy, our mission leader with the Center for Short Term Missions, that our presence has made an impact on the Habitat for Humanity leaders, like Big Tom, who hasn’t worked with other volunteer groups willingly in three months. And on the church members, including Dylan who owns a billards hall in Brooklyn. Dylan opened up a whole area of his business for us tonight for two and a half hours. The group got to play pool and ping-pong, and eat real New York pizza for dinner!

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Each morning this week the team members spend some time in quiet for devotions and prayer. Afterwards, they gather in their small groups to discuss their devotion. In the evenings the team gathers again in their small groups to talk about their challenges and inspirations from the day. They also share where they saw God during the day.

Everyday this week I have seen God in each youth on this trip. They have willingly tackled each task presented them, never with complaint, and have done an excellent job. Big Tom went on and on this afternoon about the group and how awesome they did. All you parents, grandparents, and Peaklanders should be very proud.