Day 32 – Grand Forks

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

After breakfast and devotions, Gordon, Olivia, Sarah and I drove to Home Hardware to pick up some sanding blocks before going to the Redding house.  When we got there, Sam and Jake were waiting for us and we continued to sand and ‘ mud ‘ the walls.

Gordon almost finished most of the final coat in the living room, while




Sam and I continued to sand and mud in the other rooms,

At 8:30 Sam and Jake took some garbage to the dump and picked up a few things that we needed.   While we were taking a break at 10:15, Courtney showed up and we talked with her for a while.   A little later Jesse delivered some stone for his septic bed and talked to me about the bathroom tile and the storage of his appliances in the unfinished basement.

At lunch time, Sam, Olivia, Sarah, Jake and I went to see Jesse and Courtney’s pigs and then we took the short walk down to the river .

In the afternoon, we had a nice treat when Maria, Abby and Vanessa showed up at the house with some ice cream bars that Roman bought for us.   A little later, Courtney showed up and I asked her about the original house and their accommodations.  From the picture below, taken at the back of the house, the little building to the right is where Jesse and Courtney live.   It is their kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom, all rolled into one small building.    They used to live in the house  in the background at the far left of the picture.   During the flood, the water had risen to 3 feet in the house and everything in it was destroyed, so they decided to build their new house much higher so that now the bottom of the basement of their new home is now 3 feet above the height the river had reached during the flood.

The day passed quickly and we started to pack up at 4:45 pm and then Sam took Jake, Olivia and Sarah back to camp while Gordon and I went to the Tough house to meet Roman in order to determine if the living room ceiling should be textured or stipled.   After deciding that stipling would be the best option, we returned to camp and cleaned up before supper.

Supper had been made by ladies from several of the churches in Grand Forkes and consisted of potato salads, ham, raw vegetables, quinoa and sponge cake with berries and whipped cream for dessert.

After supper, each of the groups gave a report, regarding the status of the work at their job sites, before we dispersed.   During the evening, Roman, Peter, Gordon, Robert and I sat outside for a while and discussed a variety of topics, while the ” young folks ” when swimming and ‘ tubing ‘ at Christina Lake until dark.

Day 31 – Grand Forks

Monday, July 29, 2019

It was 13 C ( 55 F ) when I woke up but the forecast indicated that the high temperature for the entire week was supposed to be in the low 30’s C ( high 80’s ).

Gordon, Sarah, Olivia and I drove my car to the Redding house and before I went in, I opened the windows in the car to help keep it cool.

We started sanding and mudding the drywall.  Gordon started with the living room ceiling.


and Olivia,

two of the young adults, started sanding and later they mudded.   They were enthusiastic, willing to work and enjoyed conversing with each other while they sanded.

I put on the second coat of mud in the bathroom and then helped sand the living room ceiling.

Sam and Jake ( one of the youth leaders ) went to the ‘ Darcy ‘ house to rip up some flooring and shortly before noon, they joined us with sanding and mudding.

Sam and Jake drove into town at 4:30 pm to pick up a door from home hardware before they closed.   At 4:40, we started to clean up to return to camp.   When I went to open the trunk of my car to put in the coolers, it wouldn’t open.   I looked for my key and found it in the ignition, in the accessory position….the battery was dead.    I phoned Sam and asked him to come back with the truck to give me a boost, however, Gordon  noticed that Jesse had left his truck and when he found the keys in it, he drove it over and we were able to start my car with the booster cables I had fished out of my trunk from inside of the car.   l called Sam and told him that he didn’t have to come back and then we headed to camp.   We had just left when I realized that I had put my phone on the truck bumper while we were starting my car, so I had to drive back to the Redding house and get it.   We finally left and arrived at camp by 5:30.   We quickly took showers and were ready for supper at 6 pm.

After supper we reviewed what everyone had done during the day.

Peter and Robert Prince had 4 young adults with them at a new site, which was about an hour from the church where we are staying.   The homeowner and several friends and neighbours helped during the day to clean up,  install siding  and paint trim.

Jon had four people helping him. John installed cabinets, Denise installed vinyl flooring with one of the young adults and Jon installed trim.

Justin, two of the young adults, as well as Kent, the owner, painted the walls and prepared the ceiling for stiple at the Tough house.

After our reports, Ike handed the keys and the official MDS hammer, to Roman, who would be the project director for the rest of the week.

It was a typical relaxed evening.

I had received a picture of the volunteers for the previous week .

They are, from left to right;

Back Row: Sam Dyck, Jonathan ( Jon ) Wiebe, John Close, Ralf Hamm, Gordon Martens,  Randy Blaskovich, Mike Davis

Middle Row: Ike Epp, Justin Marchand, Alice Close, Jack McDonald, Sheila Davis

Front Row: Abigail ( Abby ) Thompson, Vanessa Martens, Maria Martens, Stella MacDonald

Day 30 – Grand Forks

Sunday, July 28, 2019

It was a comfortable temperature in the morning but it turned out to be a hot day.   While most of the crew attended the River Valley Community Church service, Sam and I drove to the Pines Bible Camp where the MB Gospel Chapel and the First Baptist church were having a joint family camp and service.  After the service, Sam visited with some friends before we left to meet the other volunteers at the Golden Chopsticks for lunch.

The food was very good and we had so much that we took several containers of leftovers, back to camp.

Sam, Justin, Jon and Abby went to play board games at a local establishment in town before returning to camp, while the rest of us drove back and relaxed during the afternoon.

We made ourselves supper from the leftover food in the fridge at camp.  While we were eating, two short term volunteers, John and Denise arrived.   At 6 pm, Robert Prinse, a long term volunteer, arrived and a little while later, 3 youth leaders, with 7 junior youth ranging in ages from 14 to 18, arrived to assist us for next 3 days as short term volunteers.

AT 7:15 pm we had orientation, after which we had a crew leaders meeting.

It was another relaxing evening before the adults went to bed.   I am not sure how long the young people stayed awake.

Day 29 – Grand Forks

Saturday, July 27, 2019

It was Saturday morning and we were on our own for our meals, so Evelyn and I decided to help stimulate the local economy and go to the ‘ Wooden Spoon ‘ restaurant for breakfast.  I had my standard 16 oz Cappuccino with my breakfast, however, she opted for a non-standard ‘ beetroot latte’  ‘.

When we returned to camp,  Sam, Justin and Jon had driven to Osoyoos for the day and I helped Ike and Peter move some equipment and trailers before lunch.   We made lunch from the leftovers from the previous week and then Peter, Susan, Evelyn and Vanessa went to Christina lake for the afternoon, while Ike, Gordon and I went to the Son Ranch Timber company museum.

I had a hard time finding the museum and at one point I had to return to town to get more gas so that we could continue our search.

The museum was interesting for us guys.

The owner had hundreds, if not thousands of chainsaws, some that were brand new and had never had gas put in them; others were antiques.


One of the old Husqvarna chainsaws had a large hole in the middle so I took a picture of Ike through the middle of the guide-bar.   We have not been able to figure out the significance of this special shape.

There was also a hand-carved, toy, wooden truck and motorcycle on a trailer that had been made to scale, apparently by a ‘ convict ‘ while he was serving time in jail.  The doors of the truck opened, there were hidden compartments, the inside was upholstered, the parts were removable and there were even pedals, a gear shift that activated a hidden compartment and small wooden tools under the seat of the truck.

We also toured his shop where he cut and prepared wood for special orders.

Outside he had a ~110 year old Harley Davidson engine in a old mini race car.   The owner started the engine for us and I was amazed at how quickly and smoothly it ran.

He also had some other old vehicles on his property,

as well as, some more chainsaws.

He showed us some shipping containers that contained hundred’s of more chainsaws that people had sent him.

We also saw a bus converted to a mobile home that was very unique, but I forgot to take a picture of it.

We weren’t there very long and on our way home we stopped at the ‘ Tastie Treat ‘ restaurant for milkshakes.  By 4 pm we had returned to camp and the crew that went to Christina Lake returned shortly afterwards.    Most of us had supper together, consisting of the leftovers from the previous week.   When Sam, Justin and Jon returned from Osoyoos, they also made themselves supper from the leftovers.   Afterwards, Sam put on a bicycle helmet which had a stuffed lion toy attached on it as he rode a bicycle around the dining hall before heading outside to go for a ride.   I joined him and we rode for a few kilometres before returning to camp.

Most of us conversed for the majority of the evening or relaxed in our rooms, while Maria and Vanessa played scrabble, before we slowly mad our way back to our rooms for the night.

Day 28 – Grand Forks

Friday, July 26, 2019

It was cool again in the morning but by 11 am it reached 34 C ( 93 F ).

After breakfast and devotions, we all went to our perspective job sites, with instructions that we would return at 11 am to clean up before going to the house dedications.

I continued working at Donna’s house and I finished grouting the bathroom tiles at 11:00 am.

Before I left, I cleaned up the floor and then returned to camp, took a shower, changed and drove to Radek and Geordie Grundel’s house for the first dedication, where I met the other volunteers, case workers and some friends of the family.

Above: Geordie’s granddaughter and Geordie in the foreground in the house.

Radek had started rebuilding his house before he had suffered two heart attacks.   It was hard for him not to help, but with his condition it could have been very detrimental to his health.    With the help of the case workers and  MDS we were able to rebuilt his home.

Before we started the ceremonies, we had a very nice lunch and then Stella presented Radek & Geordie a quilt, I presented them with a bible and Jon presented them with the book ” The Hammer Rings Hope “.   This was followed by a prayer of dedication by Evelyn and comments by Radek and Geordie, thanking us for rebuilding their home.

Afterwards we walked over to Kirk Walter’s house for their dedication.

Roman Huft, the former project director, had returned for the ceremonies for the formal signing of job contract signifying that the work had been completed.

Alice presented a quilt to Kirk and his wife Wendy.

Kevin ( Kirk & Wendy’s son ), Wendy and Kirk took a picture with Justin, who had worked at the house for 3 weeks.

Mike Davis, who had also worked at Kirk’s house during previous weeks, presented the book ” The Hammer Rings Hope ” to Wendy and Kirk.

After the dedication we had some cake and visited for a while before returning to camp to clean the trucks, bedrooms, showers and dining area.

Maria prepared the ingredients for each of us to make tacos for supper, after which we had some sharing and then interacted with each other before some of the short-term volunteers left to go home.   The rest of the group took the opportunity to relax before going to bed.

Day 27 – Grand Forks

July 25, 2019

It was another cool morning that slowly warmed up to 29 C ( 84 F ) by mid afternoon.

I was up at the break of dawn and headed to the kitchen to prepare coffee.  By 5:45, Maria and Vanessa arrived at the kitchen and started to prepare breakfast.    After breakfast we took a group photo and then headed to our respective jobs.

Justin, John and Randy went to Kent Tough’s house.   Randy ( see picture below ) and John finished the drywall sanding and started priming the walls.

Justin went to Kirk Walter’s house to finish a few items and then helped prime the walls at Kent Tough’s house.

Gordon, Sam, Jack, Stella and Alice continued mudding the drywall at the Redding house.

Jon, Mike and Shiela went to the McClelland house.  Jon finished most of the trim work while Mike and Shiela continued to install the flooring.

I went to Donna’s house and finished installing the tiles and started grouting them.

When we returned to camp for supper, Peter & Susan Thiessen ( Project Coordinator ), Evelyn Peters-Rojas ( MDS Volunteer Development Coordinator ) had arrived to join us for 2 house dedications on Friday.

We were also privileged to have Jesse and Courtney Redding join us for supper and shared the circumstances that they had encountered during the flood that had destroyed their home.   Afterwards, Stella and Alice presented Jesse and Courtney with a quilt that they had help make.

Holding the quilt are, from left to right, Alice, Courtney, Stella and Jesse.

For the rest of the evening we relaxed in different ways.   Jon played the guitar he had built, Maria, Mike and Shiela played scrabble, while some volunteers read books and others conversed on a variety of subjects until 10 pm, at which time everyone had gone to bed.

Day 26 – Grand Forks

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

I was in the kitchen preparing coffee for breakfast when a thunderstorm entered the area for 10 minutes, which helped cool down the outside  temperature.  Apparently there had been a very loud thunderstorm during the night, but myself and several others hadn’t heard it.

Most of us went back to the same job sites as the previous day and continued the work we had started.

Jon, Mike, Shiela and Gordon B worked at the McClelland house again.  Jon sanded and painted the walls, Gordon B did some carpentry work,

while Mike and Shiela installed the vinyl flooring in the kitchen.

Gordon, Sam, Jack and Alice add the second coat of drywall mud at the Redding house.

Justin, Randy and John added the third coat of drywall mud at the Tough house.

I completed the installation of the screen door and touched up some of the walls with paint at Radek’s house by 11:30 and then drove to Donna’s house and finished most of the tile work at Donna’s house.

When we returned to camp, Maria had made German pirogies and sausages for supper.   She had made a lot of food, but it all disappeared.   After supper, a few volunteers played a board game while some relaxed and others sat in the lounge area and discussed a variety of topics.   Before we knew it, it was 10 pm and everyone slowly disappeared.