MMAP French Camp, January Week 3

Our first project for 2011 is officially over! Time flies when you are having fun, and we are certainly having a lot of fun! We are now enroute to our next job and will spend a week on the Georgia coastline.
The last week, Paul and Rick spent repairing and replacing plumbing for bathtubs in two bathrooms. This was a particularily difficult piece, since the space was small with no crawl space (it was in the overhang right above the first floor wall) and they were attaching PVC sewer pipe to the old, existing cast iron.

When they installed the bathtub, it was 9 inches wider and a little longer than the previous tub, so they had to move a wall in order to accommodate the difference. This was after spending two days changing plumbing, so NO, they were not going to move that tub!!
I helped out by sanding a bedroom, and taping and mudding the sheetrock in the hallway. (God has prepared me for this with the rentals we have owned! ) I also got more tatting lessons, so I am now confident to finish my ‘first project” alone. When we return, the gal teaching me, Regina, is going to start me on a real pattern.

Thursday night, a Christian couple that live in the community, Roy and Rosemary, had us, with a few other people, over for dinner. Roy is a full time volunteer with maintenance department at the academy and sometimes worked with the guys. Rosemary is part time fill in when and where needed. They built (literally!!) a large log cabin in the middle of 116 acres of forest. They are a delightful couple, and are the greatest example of southern hospitality! After dinner we had a good old fashioned gospel sing, accompanied by the pastor and his guitar, and Roy with his dulcimer, which he made!

And then some silly songs:

Roy and Rosemary sang a duet, “Butter Beans” to the tune of one of our great hymns, “Just a Closer Walk”!

and Rosemary and the pastor’s wife sang a song about being short,

and we all sang the alphabet song in a different way than I have ever done! We were divided into two teams; each team decided on a nursery song to be sung to the same tune, alternating teams, with the alphabet song being sung each time in between. It was great fun! Great group activity for young AND old!

I also want to share a picture of some of the “wild life” at the camp:

We look forward to returning in March!!

MMAP French Camp, January Week 2

During a Christmas open house (at the FCA president’s home), the floor collapsed due to rotted wood in this 1800’s era home. There were also some problems with the fireplace and a wayward spark that could have caused even more problems.

Toward the end of the first week, Paul and another MMAPer, Rick, were asked to help replace the floor.

In a subsequent conversation, FCA maintenance found out that Paul had built several fireplaces, and the person that was to do the repair work on the fireplace was not going to be back to even start repair on it until the beginning of next week.

So after building the frame work and laying subflooring down, Paul collected and cleaned brick,

with Rick as his “gofer” and mixer, (thank you Rick!) and got started on the fireplace,
building up and putting rebar in under the hearth, ( of course the cat had to put it’s mark on the foundation {bottom}!)

installing firebrick on the floor of the fireplace,

and building a new hearth.

Previously there was no support and no hearth. They worked all week in this home and Paul finished the hearth on Saturday morning. I will have to post a picture on a later blog.

On Thursday night, we met with another MMAP team working in the area (Lexington, MS) and had catfish buffet at Guy’s, which was about the halfway mark. It was a really good taste of southern cuisine! We had not met any of that group before, but with 24 MMAPers getting together to eat around two long tables, there were no strangers.

The Lord is showing me flexibility: That our plans are not always His! The flooring installation started before Paul was done on Thursday, so he felt he had to finish up the fireplace on Friday, so we did not go out “rubbernecking” on Friday, but did on Saturday. We joined Milt and Paula, our fearless leaders, to see some of the churches and church additions that MMAP has been involved in. They have done quite a few here in Mississippi:

Buffalo Methodist Church in Kosciusko. This was the childhood church Oprah’s. The building on the right replaced the white board building pictured in a previous post. The building on the left was the building MMAP built, with the brick work being professionally done.

Sunny Mount Missionary Baptist Church. where MMAP added the fellowship hall on the right,

and Poplar Springs Methodist Church, where they added footage to the back of the building and remodeled the front interior area, and built the connection between the buildings.

We also stopped by the current MMAP job in Lexington. This church, Sweet Canaan, is the second oldest Church of God in Christ Church in the WORLD. The building itself was built in the 1950’s. They have been met with challenges, including parking in the mud, weather being cold and wet, and working outside.

The wood framing is for restrooms on each side, men on one, women on the other.
The steel framing was to have been installed before they got there, but it was just being installed while we were there on Saturday. It was fascinating to watch the steel workers as they walked on the beams as if they were on the ground!!

It is an interesting build; and to me, very confusing, because they are literally encasing the old building.
It will be interesting to see the finished building to see what the space around the old building will be used for.
The ladies folded and stuffed a mailing for the Camp of the Rising Son at the beginning of the week,

then a couple of us are learning a “new” craft: Tatting. Hopefully I can get the hang of it and be able to make some small cross bookmarks to sell in their gift store. I also got to get dirty and did some plaster work… but of course, I am the one behind the camera, not in front of it!!

Mississippi Rubbernecking; Kosciusko and Columbus

We have three days off each week, Friday through Sunday, to explore, relax, rest. No rest for the wicked in this RV!! We EXPLORE! Friday, we headed south, to Kosciusko.

Kosciusko is the birthplace of Oprah. The house is no longer there, but there is a sign,

and the Bufffalo Methodist Church, a block away, where she attended, is still there.

A new church building has been built, (by MMAPers!) so this building is now a community center.
We had a Sausage and Cheese Muffin (Really Great!!) at the Beehive Bakery for breakfast,

then found the local Walmart, (to buy another electric heater!!) and got home early afternoon. Since we have the extra heater, the temperature is now warming up! It actually got up to 50 yesterday!!

Saturday, we went northeast, to Columbus. During the Civil War, it maintained an arsenal that made gunpowder, handguns and cannons; and because of this, the Union Army tried to invade repeatedly, but was stopped by forces under the command of General Nathan Bedford Forrest. As a result of his successes, and Columbus status as a hospital town, many antebellum homes were spared, and the town is known for having the most extensive collection, second only to Natchez, in Mississippi. These are what I consider to be the most interesting of the ones we saw. (I know we missed seeing some)!
Rosedale is located a little way out of town and still has land around it. It has been remodeled inside and out and is painted as it was originally.

White Acres has a sad story. The daughter was so distraught over her fiance leaving for war, her parents gave her a party. During the party, she went outside, caught cold, turned into pneumonia and died. Her parents left the house and never returned.

Amzi Love is owned by family members of the seventh generation, and has all the original furnishings.

The Pratt Thomas house has the most unique divided staircase. It is open and curved in the middle. At first glance, it looks like an arch, but it is actually the stairrailing. I should have took a picture from an angle so it could be seen better. It is referred to as the friendship staircase.

Twelve Gables is where the meeting to plan the first decoration of the cemetery after the Civil War was held. It was the beginning of the National Memorial Day.

Memorial Day originated in Columbus, in 1866, when women of the town decorated graves of both Confederate and Union soldiers after the war. This entire section at Friendship Cemetery were unknown Confederate soldiers!

Sunday, after church, which we thoroughly enjoyed again, we did rest up for the week ahead.

MMAP French Camp, January End Week 1

The end of the first week always comes fast! it has been challenging with the temperatures being in the teens! We had a frozen water hose, but Paul was able to put water in the tank, and with the heaters going, we have since had flowing water. Our neighbor’s waterline is still frozen.

The work on the house is progressing. After the plumbing and electrical work was finished, the crew put in insulation in the ceiling and walls (which immediately made the house warm for them!) and then started putting up the sheetrock on the ceiling throughout the house.

One of the MMAPers, Rick, is a whittler, and was asked to share his talent with the students. He came last month, and has been teaching the art class the past month. After dinner one night, while visiting, he just started whittling a piece of wood, and 15 minutes later, this was the result!!

He offered to teach a class on Tuesday night, so I went, and enjoyed it. He kept having to remind us that he had been doing it for over 50 years, so we cannot expect to have the same results as he gets!! Next Tuesday, we finish our project. (It depends on how it turns out, if you see it or not).

We have a special MMAPer on the crew this month. Bruce has Downs Syndrome, and he and his parents were MMAPers for several years before his father passed away in 2008 (they served on over 50 projects!). When his father died, he and his mother moved to French Camp, where she works in the accounting office, and he does different jobs. This month he is cleaning up at the house and is delighted to be back in MMAP, showing how this truly is an extended family.

Some of us ladies prepared boxes of bread for mailing. These are sent out as a thank you for donations, or people can request they be sent as gifts, and they are also sold at the welcome center.

One lady, Mrs Annie, bakes over 15,000 loaves of bread a year….. each daily batch makes 70 loaves!! To make a batch, she uses a whole container of salt, and 50 pounds of flour plus amazing amounts of the sugar and yeast, to make the dough!!

It is fascinating to watch her! And she is a delight to talk to.

Everyone here at French Camp Academy is SO friendly and welcoming, the meals are FANTASTIC, and the MMAP crew is AWESOME!

MMAP French Camp Week 1

I promised pictures, so here are a few of the buildings on the school campus that I was able to take today. The snow makes everything look so beautiful!

The school auditorium and cafeteria, where they have invited us to join them for most of our meals,

and the school administration building, which was a dorm at one time.

One of the homes, which is the project, was damaged by fire on the inside, and needed a complete remodel. This is the exterior, which shows very little damage;

but on the inside, most of the dry wall has been removed, and wiring and plumbing are being upgraded.

Prior to coming on this trip, Paul got experience at Nathan’s house installing Pex pipe.

So when we got here, the first job he has?

Right! Installing Pex pipe!! At least it is in the ceiling of the basement, rather than a cramped dirt crawl space!

This is the Reformed Presbyterian Church on site, which we attended on Sunday and enjoyed.

The Sunday school class just started Dobson’s series, the Truth Project. If the rest of the series is like the first one, we want to continue!! Did you know why Jesus came to earth? Go ahead, guess….. then when you think you know, look at John 18:37.

French Camp, Mississippi

On the road again, we’re on the road again……
This time, we are at French Camp, Mississippi! We just arrived Friday, and we will be here for the month of January, and the month of March. I intended to get some pictures yesterday and today, but it was too cold, rainy, and snowy, so decided to post without the pictures. Over the next three weeks, I should be able to get pictures.

French Camp is located on the Natchez Trace. MMAP will be working on several buildings at the French Camp Academy, a Christian boarding school for junior high and high school students. The whole town is part of the Academy, which was established in 1885. The Academy seems to have a great deal of support through their onsite ministries and endeavors.

The French Camp Historic District is operated by French Camp Academy. It originally was known as the Frenchman’s Camp, founded around 1810 when Louis Le Fleur and his family opened a stand or tavern and inn. Among other buildings in the historic district, an 1848 antebellum home was moved to the property and restored in 1981.

French Camp is still functioning as a refuge along the Trace with Bed and Breakfast facilities, Council House Cafe, Second Blessings Thrift Store, and homemade bread, made at the Welcome Center.

The school also has a Gospel Music Radio station, WFCA 107.9, and can be heard world wide through their website,! What an outreach for a small community. It has also recently added Rainwater Observatory.

A lodge, conference center and lake, part of Camp of the Rising Son, are also located on the 900 acres.

I am anxious to start exploring! The weather has not been cooperative, though!
Of the assignments we have had, all have been welcoming; but I must say, this place has demonstrated it most with comments, attitude, enthusiasm and joy! So, with this as the background information, we look forward to beginning our work Monday morning with excitement!