We are so excited to be back in action at the barn. We camped inside the barn a few times over the winter and it was COLD. We pitched a tent inside the barn and had a propane header going and it was still very cold. Hopefully we’ll have a wood stove before next winter!
We spent Easter weekend camping inside the barn as well. I had 40 tons of 357 rock delivered to give us a driveway and had them graded out as good as possible thanks to our neighber and his John Deere.
At the end of May I’ll be at the barn for an entire week. I will be renting a trackhoe and working on the railroad tie retaining wall and a few other projects. I’ll get some new pictures up ASAP.
A lot has happened at the barn in the last month. We have a tin roof and log cabin wood siding on the barn now. It is complete as a structure and we have already camped in the barn. That first camp was a challenge as it dropped below freezing and there was no way to keep the whole barn warm thru the night. Therefore we pitched our tent in the barn the next night and the propane heater was able to keep it nice and cozy.
There are still lots of plans left for the barn. We have decided to forgo the stucco on the bottom half for now and just paint it. We can always stucco it later or even use stone siding some day. We want to add a bathroom so we have some amenities when camping. This of course means we need power, water and a septic tank. I’m still trying to decide how to handle the power and water. We don’t want to bring grid power to the barn at least not until we are living there and we don’t want to dig an expensive well just for the barn. So, I think I will use a combination of solar panels with batteries and a generator for power. Then we can add a 50 gallon water tank and 12 volt pumps to feed the fixtures. I can fill the 50 gallon tank by pumping spring water from the creek whenver we need. This leaves the septic tank which is needed, I’m not willing to forgo this amenitiy.
I’m hoping to take another week off during Thanksgiving and spend it driving a trackho. There is still a lot of grading and work to do around the barn that requires some heavy equipment. Still lots of updates and work to come as we work on the power source, plumbing, build a bathroom and etc.
We are so happy to finally have a roof. We now feel like we have a useful structure even tough we need to complete the log cabin siding, stucco and one more barn/garage door. At least now we could actually camp in the barn in the cold/rain, keep our stuff stored and dry.
We may do the stucco ourselves which would take a long time, but it isn't time critical. Finding someone who wants to do it for hire has proven difficult anyway.
I've put a few more pictures in the album showing the roof so check them out.
Well, it actually looks like a builidng now and not just a hole in the ground. Come next Tuesday we will even have a tin roof. Then the major project left is putting the log cabin siding on the upper level and stucco on the lower level.
We also got to celebrate Kimberly’s birthday. I rented a cabin nearby, actually our neighbors own it. You can check it out here. The whole family came over for a celebration which really surprised Kimberly. Rays Restaurant in Floyd cooked the meal and it was great.
Several people have asked what we will do with this barn since we don’t live in VA. Well, at some point we will live there and it will be a horse barn. Until then, it will be used to store our camping supplies and etc. Maybe even a tractor for bushhogging soon.
See the pictures below.
This was a big weekend for the barn. We went to camp on the property, visit with family, and yes… To check barn status. We now have fresh concrete block walls. The footers went in and the block crew finished a few days later. We have a renewed level of excitement now that we can actually see some serious progress. Also, the driveway to the barn is finally in good enough shape that any 2 wheel drive vehicle can make it all the way to the barn.
Next week: Floor joists, the upstairs floor and walls and quickly to follow will be the roof trusses. It should go fast from here on out. We will return in three weeks to see what we hope will be a complete shell of a barn.
We still need to hire someone to mow/bush hog the property. The property will quickly get out of control if we don’t keep up with this aspect. I can’t wait to have a tractor and my own bush hog as well as the time to do it myself, but for now we have to find someone to hire. Can’t wait to show more pictures of progress in three weeks. See the ones from this week here.
We are home safe and sound. We spent the last day in Greece at the ancient city of Corinth. We were able to stand in the exact same place where Paul stood when being judged. See Acts 18:12. We browsed the ancient ruins and viewed the museum most of the day while listening to our our tour guide Costas. Costas is one of 850 registered tour guides in Athens and one of the only 3 that are Christians. He spend the day pointing out these significant items and where they were mentioned in the bible.
We also hiked to the top of the acrocorinth which is the Corinthian equivalent to the acropolis in Athens. The view from there was amazing and the pictures reflect that. The entire photo collection can be viewed here.
We came back with our eyes opened to how easy we have it in this country and how much we take for granted about our Christian lives. The people we met had to give up everythign they knew and had to become Christians and they never looked back. As hard as it was and even while still getting over the jet lag, we feel refreshed and renewed and have a deeper understanding of the history of the bible. Along the way were even able to break a few barriers while helping and serving a few refugees. Thanks to all those who supported and prayed for us during this trip.
Yesterday we went to visit two mission groups in Athens. The Lost Coin ministry is a very small group that ministers to prostitutes and victims of human trafficing in Athens. Ema the main person working this ministry has done this for over 9 years faithfully. She has received international recognition for her work with these victims. Her group goes out every other night and visits the brothels and prostitutes in the white light district of Athens. They take some food and other necessities to them people there and then pray for them while walking the streets.
The second place we visited was called the Oasis center. This group feeds, clothes and teaches English and Greece to the many refugees in the city. We helped them to serve dinner and teach English. Then we watched a film their native (Farsi) language about a group of Afgans that came across the border. Through many trials and sufferings they made it to Greece and eventually connected with some Christians that brought them to Christ. Many of the Afgan people cried through out this film, especially at areas where they were trying to get out of their country while swiming thru rivers, padding small rafts thru the ocean and etc. It was very emotional for us all. Kimberly met a family with a very sick boy. After feeling his forehead which was on fire and then seeing his throat full of blisters she asked me to go to a pharmacy and get medicine. The mother of this boy would not even talk to us at first, but soon she allowed Kimberly to help her in the English class and give her son some of the medicine. We gave them the medicine and spent a good deal of time trying to explain how much to give him and how often to amke sure they understood. When they left the woman hugged Kimberly. I think many barriers were broken down that day.
Wednesday was a long hard day for us. The men built a fence from trees cut from Mt. Olympus. The women did various painting projects. The unrelenting heat take its toll. A couple of the ladies were getting a little sick and light headed from not drinking enough water.
For those who thought we weren’t going to be working hard I will be bringing home proof in the form of a busted up face. A fence post fell into my face and busted my chin, lip, under nose area. It looks pretty ugly, but I will consider it another battle scar when it heals.
To cool off after our work we went to the beach aroun 5pm for a couple of hours. It was a beautiful place with deep blue water and high mountains and cliff surrounding the beach area. It is one of the main local areas to go and enjoy the beach.
That night we went to Timothy’s house to eat. He is a man who works with AMG to further missions work. Some of the stories we heard that night are amazing. He worked with the Albanian government to help open up the land to Christians after the change in government. This was only due to him picking up a hitchiker on the way into the country that turned out to be a newly elected member of parliament. Not only was he one of the first outsiders in Albania, he met all of the leaders and was instrumental in setting up Christian churches, hospitals and schools there.
We missed writing on Monday night. It was so late and we were exhausted when we arrived back at the bunk house. It was our 2nd and final day of getting over jet lag and sight seeing. We went into the main part of Athens to see the Acropolis where the Parthenon is located. Words are hard to come by to express the feeling you get when you realize you are in a town in which something 200 years old is a mere baby. There are ruins just strewn everywhere that are more than 2,000 years old. Costos was our guide and he is wonderful. Out of 850 licensed guides in the city, he is one of only 3 who are evangelical Christian and therefore gives tours based on thier biblical significance. We stood on Mars Hill where Paul gave his speech that we know from Acts ch 17. I read this passage to the group as we stood there. It was a feeling I cannot describe. We walked up the very same steps that the Apostle Paul walked up to get to Mars Hill. The steps are carved out of the marble hill and are worn completly smooth and are as slick as ice. Some of this pictures are under the Photos area with the ones from yesterday.
Lest you think we are only sight seeing and not working hard, you should know that today we worked in an international refugee kitchen to help prepare meals for, witness too and generally just show love and compassion to those that have never seen it before. Over 400 people come thru this kitchen and a day like today. We were told that if we were not there today that they would not have feed the people because they would not have had enough people to cook and run the kitchen.
There were people from over 6 countries, very few spoke english. Those that spoke english taked of coming to Greece to flee certain death in the home countries of Afganistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and etc. They risked their lives packed into small rafts to get to Greece and now had nothing but their lives and the shirts on their backs. This ministry has shown Christ to many people and led many of the people that we met to accept Him. Some know they can never go home no or they will face certain death from their own family members for turning their back on Islam.
We brought back an appreciation for how very lucky we are to live in America and that we should never take our rights for granted.
Tomorrow we will work back at the Cosmovision Center. The men are helping to build a fence from old posts while the women paint and freeze tomatoes. Late in the afternoon we are told we get to go to the beach to cool off for a couple of hours.
Most of you know we have are now in Greece on a mission trip with ten other members of our church (West Park Baptist). We have pretty much put all fram work on hold the last few weeks and will resume when we return. I brought a small laptop on this trip in the off chance I would have internet connectivity and as the Lord would have it, I do. We have been looking forward to this trip for quite a while but I have to say I was a little worried about going 10 days without cell phone, email or internet access. I think that is about 7 days longer than I’ve ever gone before!
We made it hear after a very long flight. So mar we have only seen the Vision Center itself. It was only 5 minutes from the airport. It’s been an afternoon of meeting members of the crew here (George, Photis and Mary) eating, and resting so far. Tonight we will see the temple of Poseidon and what we are told and have read to be one of the greatest sunsets in all the world. It is in Sunio just a short drive from here. Hopefully I’ll be able to write about it tomorrow and post some pictures.
What we know so far is that Photis, George and Mary are very loving, caring people who live their lives for Christ which is very rare in this area of the world. Apparently nearly every Greek (11 million total) proclaims to be Orthodox Christian. However less than one percent of them actually believe in Christ. I know, we can hardly get our head around that one too. Apparently being Chrisitian is a cultural thing and not a spiritual thing here as most everyone is athiest or agnostic. They baptize, go to church, get married in a church, etc only becuase it is of thier culture and social back ground. There is a lot of work to do in this country that stands at the crossroads to Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. You can see a short video on what they are doing here on Youtube. It’s a few years old and the place has changed a lot, but the mission is still the same.