What an amazing day today was! We all have God moments every day on these mission trips. Sometimes it’s just a whisper, an ice cream truck coming down the street just as we’re talking of about taking a break to get ice cream or as we found out today, God has a much louder voice.

Because we’re working on our house from 1pm-7pm, we have the morning to head out and enjoy the area. Today we elected to go on a two hour swap boat tour that took us into the Bayou of the Honey Swamp in Slidell. We boarded a canopied flat bottom boat piloted by our guide Captain John. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of the flora and fauna and had spent the better part of 30 years exploring and guiding groups through these pristine, protected waterways.

We learned about the amazing bald cypress trees that are nearly impervious to water and disease and the Spanish moss that drapes its branches. We watched alligators right next to the boat eating hot dogs that Captain John put on long bamboo sticks and we had wild boars put their hooves right on the side of the boat to eat biscuits that John had brought along. Turtles and snakes and birds oh my! Tupelo trees that are known for their hollow trunks that bees love to inhabit and is the namesake of the honey swamp. All in all it was a beautiful morning on the water and being able to see this place I’ve come to so many times before from a different point of view was a great experience.

Captain John, like so many people down here once they find out what our mission trip is about are immediately grateful . So many conversations are started because someone will see our tee shirts or hear our New England accent (not that we have one!). “Thank you” is almost always the first response. These trips to help rebuild homes become so much more when you hear from the locals; strangers who welcome you in, shake your hand, share a story or just smile.

We left the swamp boat tour and headed out to our worksite. For me and Tish, this was our first day on the site because yesterday was spent shopping and cooking meals for the 11 person team for the week. Our site supervisors were two young guys named Jake and Jack. They were both very friendly and welcoming and patient as we hung drywall in our soon to rented home. I mentioned a loud God moment earlier. It came in the sound of a bang and a thump. The bang was the leg of a ladder bending and crumpling, the thump was Larry falling off of said ladder and hitting the floor!! A very scary moment for all and landed Larry in the ER with contusions to his neck and shoulder and elbow. In the end, Larry’s ok and was lucky to have gotten away with relatively minor injuries. We do real work down here and today was a reminder of what can happen in a blink on a job site. Prayers for quick healing for Larry!

We came back to our tree house dusty and hungry. We showered and ate and wrapped our day up with a devotion and reflection on a blessed day.