December was the second month in a row for us at Way of the Cross in Harlingen, Texas as a SOWERS project. After the official end of the project we stayed on to help with preparations for the Big Feed and help a little during that event. Then it was time to prepare for going to Nicaragua in early January and then our trip to Houston at the end of January when we return to Harlingen.
Fifth Wheel Roof
Our fifth wheel trailer has a roof made from a continuous sheet of EPDM rubber. That type of roof has a guarantee of twelve years service and, at the ten year mark, was showing its age.
Replacing a rubber roof is a pretty big job. We have done full and partial rubber roof replacements on RV's as part of SOWER projects and did not want to go through the experience of removing the old rubber roof and everything on it, applying a new roof and reattaching everything. Some research on the web came up with a liquid roof solution and we went with that. Overall it worked out well. There were a few spots that I over rolled, but mostly I am happy with the results.
We washed the roof and tied up wires and masked things which took a couple of days. We applied the product on the main roof one day. Byron came by and helped with that and made the job go a lot better.
A few days later Juanita and I did the slideouts. The slideouts came better than the main roof. With less rolling out of the compound there were fewer entrained bubbles and the slides ended up a lot shinier and smoother. Sort of like the stack wall builders who learn their skills building their house and end up building the most perfect woodsheds and workshops in the years afterwards.
December SOWER Project
In November Juanita and I were the only SOWERs booked on the Way of the Cross monthly project. For most of that time we joined by SOWER On Assignment couple, Andy and Lavonne Anderson. In December another SOWER couple, Doug and Bonnie Schroeder, joined us all and a fair bit of stuff got done.
In addition to the infrastructure stuff done by Andy at the warehouse and staff motel, Doug and I did some remodelling in one of the staff apartments and then assembled bunk beds and did HVAC and lighting repairs for the dorms to be ready for Big Feed team mambers. We also did some ceiling repairs after Byron repaired some of the roof leaks in the traiing center.
The ladies did cleaning and made new drapes for the chapel and washrooms and cleaned the windows and curtains in the dorms. Some of the material for the chapel curtains did not arrive until New Year's Eve so Bonnie sewed and Juanita hung those sheers on January 2nd. Doug and I went to Harbor Freight so that we would be out of the way. Everybody has to do their part!
There was no Handel's Messiah concert at UT in Brownsville this year, but we all managed to get to Hidalgo for an evening of admiring the light displays there and enjoy the Potesta singers concert.
Not So Good Vibrations
Dodge Duallies have an inherent vibration from the two piece driveshaft. You can adjust the carrier bearing height for unloaded or loaded conditions, but not both. While chasing a vibration that came from tires and wheels I elected to change to a custom aluminum driveshaft.
Time will tell if the road salt of the Canadian Prairies makes an aluminum driveshaft a maintenance issue, but in the meantime it does run a bit smoother.
The Big Feed
Each year, Way of the Cross holds an event between Christmas and New Year's in Matamoros, Tamulipas, Mexico. There is outreach all day with the finale being feeding several thousand people a chicken dinner. It used to attract close to two hundred North Americans volunteers to hold the event, but with the troubles in Mexico that number has fallen off sharply. This has been an opportunity for Mexican believers to step up to the plate and do much of the organizing and work involved with holding the event.
Mexican church congregations man the carnival-style outreach booths and do the preaching and music from the stages. There were about 80 volunteers from various US states that came to help them. Juanita and I helped prepare for their arrival and once they were here Juanita helped cook for them and I ran a few errands for the cooks and carried a bit of garbage to the dumpster.