Final Prattsville Blog by Elise Hanley
Posted on May 16, 2012 by Elise Hanley

Prattsville – Days 3 & 4 and a Final Reflection

I found it difficult at times to report back on all we were doing while also trying to get some work done in Prattsville! Often times, I’d find myself with a tool in one hand and my iPhone in another, trying to snap a photo or take some video. So now I will catch up and give a quick overview of our last 2 days, as well as an overall reflection of the trip and why I believe it was critical that we went.

Saturday, Day 3 was our second and final work day. It was drizzling and rainy in the morning so they postponed our seeding and mulching until the afternoon. Travis and Win returned to work on the porch roof. The rest of us helped move unneeded junk and other items out of the sanctuary of the Methodist Church, which is also being completely repaired and refinished. We moved out cumbersome items such as unneeded lumber scraps, plywood and mdf, as well as cabinets, 2 outdoor lamp posts, etc. We tied them down on the back of a flatbed trailer and covered it with a tarp. We then rode out of town to trash some of the items at the dump, while other items were brought to a warehouse full of supplies – donated sinks, shower stalls, cabinets, sponges, tools, cleaning supplies, even grills and barbecues, etc. All kinds of items that homeowners will be able to choose as their homes are rebuilt and restored. We helped to reorganize the warehouse, finishing just in time for lunch and a rest at 12:00. We returned to town to have lunch at the Methodist Church, which was made for us by church volunteers.

After lunch, the sun was coming out. Half of our team returned to applying top soil and grass seeding to lawns. I accompanied Paul, a Huntersfield employee and the owner of Scout the dog (see the photos – I loved this dog!) in his truck to a farm owned by Huntersfield. Here we filled the back of his truck with bales of hay to bring back to town to use as mulch. In the same barn as the bales of hay was a pregnant pig, due to give birth at any minute, many chickens and a horse. Scout had a field day running amongst the chickens – he’s a true country dog! When we finished I was covered in hay, and we drove back to town. Paul had a machine on his truck in which the hay was shredded. We rejoined Sarah, who helped spray the chopped hay onto the seeded topsoil through a long hose. By the end of the day, we were again pretty tired, and Sarah and I were covered in hay.

The good people of the Huntersfield Christian Training Center had Saturday night off, so we went into town to have pizza for dinner instead at the Prattsville Tavern. Afterwards we picked up supplies to make s’mores at the grocery store in town. Back at Huntersfield, Bruce and Laurie Hawley, our RCA Mission Coordinators made a bonfire, and we all sat around making s’mores and telling stories. And we got to see the ‘super moon!’

On Sunday, we got to sleep in. We went to the Reformed Church of Prattsville’s 11:00 service down on Main Street. Many of you may remember that co-pastors Greg and Becky were going to create an interim chapel in the back of their parsonage until the church itself can be reopened. We joined a congregation of about 25 people in this back room– this was only the second or third week that this new chapel was open, and it is beautiful – our donations went to very good use. Greg, Becky and their two daughters had just moved back into the parsonage a week prior. In the meantime, they had been staying up the hill with a church elder and his family. I can’t imagine being away from home for so long, especially while Becky was pregnant.

After church we were treated to a potluck lunch provided by various parishioners, and we also got a tour of the parsonage. Becky’s dad had been mostly responsible for repairing and refinishing it, and he had done a fantastic job. He and Becky’s mom were both there so we got to meet them. As parishioners swirled around the parsonage, many of us sat outside on the patio – it was a beautiful and sunny day.

By 2:00 it was time to go. We gathered in a circle with Bruce and Laurie, Greg and Becky and some of the church members. We thanked them and prayed for them and the town. Then we split up into our cars, and departed for New York City and New Jersey (this time avoiding the treacherous State Forest!)

In the end, our group was glad that we had accomplished seeding and mulching 3 different properties on Main Street in Prattsville, and we also helped prepare a porch roof to be redone. Not too bad for only 2 days. In addition to this, Sarah and a couple of volunteers from the other churches succeeded in putting a jigsaw puzzle together in the Huntersfield dining room – over 1000 pieces! We also got to breathe some fresh country air and learn some new skills. And our best success? I would say our new relationships: with each other, with other volunteers, with Bruce and Laurie Hawley and the staff at Huntersfield, with Greg and Becky Town, and others. And, I hope… ever new and deeper relationships with God.

The trip felt too short – so we will do this again. Stay tuned for details. And please continue to keep everyone in Prattsville in your prayers: they still have a long way to go.

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