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.


Day 25 – Grand Forks

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

It was another warm day when we got up and it reached the low 30’s C ( mid 80’s F ) by the afternoon.

A new volunteer, Gordon B arrived in the morning to join our crew for a few days.   He checked the installation of a pocket door at the Redding house before going to Barbara McClelland’s house to help Jon, Mike and Shiela with trim installation, painting and miscellaneous items.

Gordon M, Jack, Stella, Alice, Vanessa and Sam continued mudding at Jesse and Courtney Redding’s house.

Justin, Randy and John finished most of the third coat mudding at Kent Tough’s house with the help of Kirk Walter’s sister, Pam.

I went to Radek Grundel’s house to finish some odd jobs.   I filled in the space behind the stove fan that the electrician had moved forward to accommodate the larger cabinet size.   Then I added support under the back doorsill and caulked the shower stall door for Radek.   I helped Ike deliver the garbage around Radek’s house to the dump and then I started to install the rear screen door before I left at 4:45.

We had been invited by the Gospel MB Church for supper at 5:45, so we quit a little early to get cleaned up before we left.   After a very nice meal,  we returned to cam.   Maria, Mike and Shiela played scrabble with Vanessa keeping score and Randy watching,

while Justin and Abby gave Cole a mullet hair cut.

Tomorrow Cole will be finished his 1 year assignment with MDS and he will be heading to the MDS office in Lilitz, PA for de-briefing in the near future.




Day 24 – Grand Forks

Monday, July 22, 2019

It was a warmer morning than we have had for a while.   It started out to be 20 C ( 68 F ) when we arrived at our job sites and it soon warmed up to 30 C ( 86 F ).  Most everyone continued the jobs they were working on the previous day.

I started my day by showing Gord Martens, one of the new crew leaders, the equipment trailers and the Redding house, where he and his crew would be working.    By 9 am, I was at Donna Lester’s house and I continued to tile her bathroom.   I had almost finished the wall next to the shower, when Ike called me to request some assistance for Justin’s crew with mudding at the Kent Tough’s  house.  At 2 pm, I had finished most of the wall before I left.

I stopped by the Reddington house before going to Kent’s house and I found Gordon on a platform, taping and mudding the high point of the ceiling.

The house was designed by the owners, Jesse & Courtney and the ceiling slopes from 12 ft down to a standard 8 ft.

He had help from Jack, Stella and Alice.

Sam had arrived from Chiliwack in Eric’s piper cub airplane at 8:30 and he had accompanied Cole on a delivery before joining Gordon’s group.

I arrived at the Tough house at 2:30 pm and I found Justin in Kirk’s house next door finishing some repairs and painting.

He was being help by John

and Randy

I  reviewed a few of Kirk’s ( the owner ) questions regarding the delay in the installation of the countertop and then helped Justin’s crew finish the last few odd’s and ends that needed to be finished.

Jon, Mike & Shiela worked at Barbara McClelland’s house adding trim for the doors and windows.

We finished as much as we could do at Kirk’s house and, by that then, it was time to clean up and return to camp.

When we arrived back at camp, Maria Martens,  our cook for the next two weeks, had cooked a wonderful meal of scalloped potatoes, meatloaf and taco salad.

Vanessa, one of Gordon and Maria’s granddaughters had helped her in the kitchen.

Following the main course, we reviewed the status of each of the houses that we had worked on.   After the updates, we had homemade blueberry pies with ice cream.

A 7:30 pm, Ike and I went to pick up a temporary donated stove and brought it to Radek & Geordie Grundel’s house until their new stove arrived.   Radek & Geordie had started decorating their house with furniture and a lot of different plants.

When we returned to camp, we had a short crew leader’s meeting before relaxing for the rest of the evening.

During the day there was cause for celebration.  Maria and Gordon had been waiting on news regarding one of their son’s adoption of a newly born baby boy and at noon they received confirmation that they were grandparents for the 23rd time.