Thursday, September 18, 2008

Special Forces cleaning mission!

Not for the faint of heart!

When you want something done right, call in the troops. Today I assembled a "Special Forces" team to take up arms (otherwise known as Ajax, bleach and Pine-Sol) and conquer an out-of-control apartment.

One of my favorite refugee students is a very young widow. Her husband died in Tanzania, leaving her with 3 children. Here in Atlanta, she works the night shift at a chicken factory, takes English classes, and looks after her kids. She's a regular at our church. Over time, her apartment got the better of her. I sensed her defeated spirit, and I wanted to help. Why not start with a clean slate . . . er, apartment?

I knew I could count on some faithful Kingdom laborers. Tim Cummins helped assess the situation, talk to the apartment manager, and make plans. He also provided the financial help to purchase supplies.This beautiful lady came prepared to work! Shirley volunteered several hours of hard labor.
Bill Hickey, our fellow missionary with Whirlwind Missions, offered his expertise. I really appreciated their good humor, interesting conversation, and words of wisdom as we worked.
Get ready for the "ewww" factor. This was what we encountered on arrival. A major bug problem ...

A food sanitation problem ...
Yes, that's a fish head. Notice his tail nearby?
A clutter problem ...A general lack of cleanliness problem ...
Got problems? Put the team to work!

We decided we would tackle the kitchen today. Bill took the stove apart and cleaned it. He worked on the vent hood, too. We found a teeming city under the stove, and Bill made it disappear. Cockroaches lined the refrigerator door gasket and had met their demise inside the freezer. The fridge was filthy. Shirley took care of all that nastiness in short order. I scrubbed the microwave, upper cabinets, and wall.
Everything needed a good scouring ... and got one!
When we finished, the kitchen smelled good. The appliances, cabinets, walls, and floor were clean. You heard me right -- smelled good and looked clean!
We talked about wishing we had done more on the rest of the house, but I want my student to put some "sweat equity" into her home. I plan to work alongside her in the months to come -- teaching English along with the important life skills that will keep her children healthy and make her home a welcoming place.
Thanks, Tim, for supporting us. Thanks, Shirley and Bill, for many hours of hard, yucky work. Next time I need to call on the Special Forces, I know exactly where to turn!

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