My brother’s profound words on the closing of my mother’s estate.
The Kansas Expatriate
Last week my siblings and I closed on my mother’s estate. It was long in coming, filled with what seemed like reams of paper that needed to be stamped, notarized, mailed, faxed, PDF copied in email, and ultimately filed in a court in Sedgwick County Kansas. Now that it is done I find myself shockingly sad.
I have been trying to figure out why I am so tilted by the end of this process. Her death is hardly new and I had full knowledge of the outcome of probate. Everything worked out pretty much the way we expected. There were no fights, no last minute surprise bills or policies, no hidden agendas. Nothing except a large, heavy, and profound ending as if the curtain closed on a favorite production for the last time.
In a small way this is why I find it so hard to shop at estate sales. …
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Our first mission trip on behalf of West Heights United Methodist Church was intentionally a short one. The other trips in recent years had been international trips, very long and expensive. West Heights has a history of being mission minded and very generous in terms of food and clothing and meeting local needs and responding to calls for help financially.
Some were feeling the call to be more hands on. So after a couple of years and many conversations, a plan began to form. David Lewis was instrumental in following through with e-mails, phone calls and organizing a trip. Beaver Crossing needed and still needs so much work. I am constantly in awe of how destructive weather can be and how long it takes to recover. Like many weather disasters before, the efforts to rebuild a town takes the entire community and all the help they can get.
Today, we spent only a few hours, but finished up some projects we had begun. The cleaning up of all the trees and brush on one woman’s property took all of yesterday and today. Here are some pictures of that project:
And then we finished painting the hallway and stairway in the 1907 Victorian home. This was a family with six children and a seventh on the way. Not only had they had significant damage from the tornado, their roofers were less than careful and left the roof uncovered and a huge thunderstorm dumped rain into their home.
We then finished cleaning up the church and prepared to head home. To a person, each one of us had sore muscles and were tired. AND we all agreed we were blessed to be able to spend a few days offering ourselves to help others. In the words of our sermon series we were grateful to “#dosomething” and in doing something living out our faith.
A big thanks to: Bob Richards, Norma Ackert, Dave and Terry Glover, Andrew Stover, Rusty Allensworth, Norm Roelfs and David Lewis for their willingness to spend a few days making a difference. We are thankful to Mike and Dorothy Aspegren who are Great Plains UMC Conference site coordinators. They made sure we had everything we needed and helped us get to work sites in Beaver Crossing. A final picture with all of us:
I am sure I speak for all of us that we are
Graced to Serve.
The day started out gray, chilly and drizzling rain. Over breakfast, David Lewis lead our devotions on why we are really here: to help others. We discussed our impressions of day one. Lots of work was done and it was a challenge to check our own motivations and behavior. Here we are dressed in our Do Something t-shirts:
We discussed the projects and divided them up for the day. One group went out in the rain with chain saws to work on brush and trees. Before lunch they had one flat bed trailer loaded up and ready to go to the dump.
Another group went back to the home with the wheel chair ramp and finished it up. It took them all morning and half the afternoon.
The ramp was completed by mid-afternoon. The other group painted at the house where the wheelchair ramp was being built in the morning.
The afternoon was also filled with painting another home. Internet connection is very slow. Will post more pictures of the painting and the final days work either tomorrow evening or Saturday. It has been a blessing to work with the Great Plains Disaster site workers Dorothy and Mike Aspegren and the wonderful people from West Heights UMC. I am and we are all graced to serve.
After driving up to Beaver Crossing, the crew arrived at the church to be greeted Dorothy and Mike Aspergren. Unloading all our personal items, we watched a short video about the damage from the tornado on Mother’s Day, 2014. Not one building was untouched. Several projects were available. The people with expertise consulted as to who would be doing what.
One of our group, Norma Ackert went to work with Dorothy at a woman’s house who needed some help. The others split into two groups: one to work on a metal building doing siding and roofing and the other to build a wheelchair ramp.
Some pictures from the wheel chair ramp group:
And from the group doing the metal siding and roofing:
Believe it or not, we are all tired! Had a wonderful supper and going to bed early! Will post more pictures tomorrow. It has been a good day and we are
Graced to Serve.
Today, myself and eight volunteers from West Heights United Methodist Church head north to Beaver Crossing Nebraska. http://www.jrn.com/kmtv/news/Tornado-Obliterates-Beaver-Crossing-NE–258986311.html This little community was hit hard by a tornado mid May. Many came to help in the few days afterward, but then, other communities were hit and Beaver Crossing ended up being forgotten.
Part of my joy in being a member of the United Methodist Church is the long tradition of working and staying in disaster areas once everyone else has gone home. West Heights was looking for new ways to be in mission and ministry, to “Change Lives by Connecting Heart to Jesus Christ.” For me, the question becomes how is my heart connected again and again? Hands on ministry is one way to remember the grace and love I have received.
Thanks to David Lewis and his organizational gifts, this short trip was planned and is being implemented. My prayer and that of many others is that this is the first of many such trips to assist in disasters and in helping others. Please pray for us. I will be updating this blog as cell and internet service allows.
I am truly graced to serve.