Saturday is the last full day at the Montreat Middle School conference.  The routine is pretty much the same as the other days.  Opening convocation was complete with energizers, singing, and the wrapup by the keynote speaker on the topic of love.  Small Group meetings in the morning and afternoon talked about divine providence and social justice.  Afternoon recreation was on the campus quad and included a variety of physical activities and games.  After the evening meal the whole tribe headed o a local emporium for ice cream.  Grace Holmes participated in the opening processional of the worship service (Anna Claire West was in it last night and Madeline Deye will be in it tomorrow morning).  After the back home group discussion, folks got ready to leave in the morning after Worship.  It has been a good conference and I think everyone learned something and had a good time.

Today was consumed with the normal opening convocation including a keynote address on the concept of love.   This was followed with a small group meeting  (There are about 28 people in each small group and no Lakesider is in the same group as any other Lakesider).  After lunch the small groups met again until the start of water day activities.  Most of the kids got wet and had a good time playing water related games.  After dinner the activity was worship which continued the love theme.  That was followed by a variety show in which Max Wilson played the piano and impressed everyone with his rendition of “YMCA”.  We were all very proud of him.  After the back home group meeting it was lights out at 11:30.

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We left Lakeside at 7:15 AM on Wednesday and arrived safely in very hot Clinton, SC, about 2:45 PM.  We registered, unloaded the cars, established our residence in Lauren Hall (We have the whole 2nd floor of the dorm) and relaxed for a time before dinner.  Fortunately, it rained while we were in the dining hall and cooled things off considerably.  The opening exercise was held in Belk Auditorium and included an energizer, much singing and some general conference information.  That was followed by a welcoming, get acquainted type mixer.  After that came a dorm meeting to reiterate conference rules and then our own back home group meeting to wrap up the day.  Lights out was at 11:30 PM.

Thursday morning started out with breakfast at 7:30 followed by the morning convocation.  It included an energizer, much singing and a presentation by the keynote speaker, Landon Whitsitt.   He spoke on the meaning of love consistent with the conference theme “Rooted in Love”.  The conference was then split up into small groups that met at various locations around the campus.  The campus is full this week with several groups outside the middle school camp here for the week.  (There are about 650 kids here from 62 churches in 13 states).  After lunch the various small groups met again and that was followed by the Montreat Olympics–a perod of games and recreation.

More later

All of us went to our respective assignments to wrap up the week’s efforts.  None of the homeowners will be able to return to “normal” after this week but all of them will be one step closer than they were at the beginning of the week.  All of the teams had wrapped up and returned to FPCJC around noon on Friday.  The group decision was to head home then rather than wait until Saturday.  We left Johnson City about 1:45 PM and arrived in Cincinnati about 1:30 AM (At least the Lakeside van did) on Saturday morning in a steady rain.  Some of our number had another 45 minute drive to get  home to their Batavia area abodes.


It was a good week–filled with meeting and working with new people and with the warm feelings generated by helping someone who needs it.  One of the frustrations of trips such as this is that one hardly ever has the opportunity to see a finished product.  However, one learns to play the hand you are dealt and trust that someone down the line will have the opportunity to say “Done!”



Weather was clear and cold this morning but  warmed up nicely during the afternoon.  This part of New York is several weeks behind Northern Kentucky in terms of the leafing out of trees and other vegetation. 

Work continued at the two houses today with the main activities being application of drywall compound and sanding of previous coats.  The teams were further split to begin work on House #3 and House #4.  Our part of the work on House #3 involves placing underlayment on the first floor and installing new  basement windows.  The work on House #4 includes removal of the flood damaged portions of the house, basement , and garage.  Larry and Phil went there today and were joined by four people from Rochester Presbyterian (Also in town on a mission trip this week. 

We have made excellent progress this week with the tasks assigned to us.  The drywall work at houses #1 and #2 should be finished tomorrow.  The underlayment should be done at house #3 tomorrow as well.  We are to help move some materials into house #4.  Various team members will be leaving tomorrow in assorted directions.  The Lakeside van will probably be home about 6:00 PM on Saturday.   


Day 3 dawned as both clear and cold.  Work continued on two houses with drywall compound and taping efforts at both places.  Additional activities at one site  included general site cleanup, pressure washing the basement, and setting out much construction debris for trash pickup.  An effort was made to clean the sump pump basin and we were able to get the garage door opener to work again.   Sanding and second coats of drywall compound are next at both locations.   







Progress has been very good for the last three days.  So much so that the group will be split into smaller teams on Thursday and tackle two more locations.  One is a house that needs underlayment for new flooring and the other is one that needs substantial cleanup.  Another possibility is installing basement windows in a third home. 


FPCJC folks provided dinner for us this evening and invited us to join them in worship.

Day 2 is drawing to a close.  The weather has been beautiful today–sunny and warm.  One team went to each house and made significant progress.  Kevin, Kay, Neva, and Georgia finished insulating the kitchen in their project and got most of the drywall cut and hung.  

The other ten of us were engaged in installing subfloor (All of it is now in place), finishing the installation of the drywall, sanding earlier coats of drywall compound, reinforcing a set of steps,hanging a bedroom door, and cleaning up the basement and yard from flood debris.  Each team got to spend some additional time with the owners of the two homes and share some more of their stories.  

After returning to FPCJC, we cleaned up and enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by Gay.  Worship was led by Kay.  There are two Kays, one Gay, one Ray, and two Johns on the trip.

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Day 1 is just about history.  The day dawned sunny and cool and reached a high in the low 80’s during the afternoon.  This morning we all went to a house about 10 miles from Johnson City.  The house had experienced about 3 feet of water on the first floor during the flood of the Susquehanna.  We set to work on a variety of tasks.  Several folks began to install underlayment (luann) on the entire first floor (living room, entry hallway, bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom) while another group of folks began installing drywall in the bathroom.  A third group was putting an additional coat of drywall compound on various areas of the first floor while still another two men were pressure washing the outside of the house.  About midafternoon, five of us went to another house–back in Johnson City–and started to insulate and drywall a kitchen at that location.  While working there we met one of  the homeowners and he repeatedly expressed his gratitude for our help.  


We made good progress at both locations and returned to “camp” at The First Presbyterian Church of Johnson City (FPCJC) to clean up, eat, worship, and rest up for tomorrow when we will return to both houses for a continuation of today’s activities.  During dinner, the homeowner of the other house stopped by and introduced herself.  It turns out that she is a lay minister in the community and a member of the FPCJC.  she told us her story and repeatedly expressed her gratitude for our assistance.  


FPCJC was built in 1916.  It is a fairly large building with a membership of about 120.  Normal  Sunday attendance is about 70.  One member of the choir is 96 and still drives to church (as well as other places).  


That’s all for now.


Grace and Peace,

The Lakeside tribe

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We all arrived safely in Johnson City about 6:30 PM after 11+ hours on the road.  We are staying at The First Presbyterian Church that dates to 1916.













Another beautiful day, but continues to be windy and on the chilly side.


We continue to have a full schedule for the day.  First stop, the Csonkapapi school. A young lady sang a beautiful song (Hungarian), followed by a group of Sr. High playing Ziteras, some pieces with singing. And the younger youth put on a skit about the environment and how it has been polluted, and working on cleaning things up and taking care of it. They were all very good.


Then off to Fornos, where a filtration system was installed last year at the school.  We visited with Ester and Szaboles and their two children. (Szaboles is a pastor.) They live next to the school and David and Mary Beth stayed with them during the installation and education sessions last year. We then went over to the school to talk with the principal and check on the system. The sediment filter did not look like it was being changed often enough. (There is a lot of iron and rust in the water and it builds up in the filters.) The filtration system is installed in the kitchen.) The children are taking home bottles of pure water (normally 2 liters). But the rest of the village has not been given access to the pure water. So there was some discussion around making the pure water more accessible. Not resolved, so will need to be followed up on. Lots of politics!


The neighboring lake’s water level is down quite a bit.


There are many greenhouses around, and in some cases so many that it’s pulling the water table down faster than its being replenished.


Note: most homes in the areas we have been have either their own well, or have access to a public well, but pure water has to be purchased.  He. Many of the homes (and schools) have outhouses, and in some cases I use that term loosely.


It was a beautiful drive to and from Fornos. The roads are terrible with lots and lots of pot holes. So you are constantly weaving back and forth across the 2 lane road trying to avoid pot holes, bicycles, people walking, horse & carts, and oncoming traffic. Joe handled it beautifully, while filling us in on history tidbits as we traveled. Plus lively conversation about our visit at the school. We saw our first storks looking for food in one of the fields being plowed.


Back to Csonkapapi to pick up Kathy and Attila and off in the opposite direction to Szaloka (Solovka) for dinner with Joseph and Ilona Batory. We first got a tour of their farm with lots of animals (chickens, doves, pigs, curly haired pigs, cows & a young calf, a couple of dogs, some kittens, and some farmland already planted (potatoes). Iona has a wonderful garden started. Dinner was a wonderful stew and fresh bread and an assortment of desserts (rolls with either a cheese mixture, poppy seed, or a walnut mixture). Lively conversation. Joseph and Judit (who was also at the dinner and was Mary Beth’s translator at Szernya) will be coming to the US in May to attend Clean Water U and Solar School. So much discussion on how to continue putting in water filtration systems and what would help in installation, education and follow-up.


Tired, but another good day!

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