Mission Trips

HUMC Volunteers to go on Mission Trip to Biloxi, Mississippi

We were given a great opportunity by our church and conference by providing a scholarship for both us to go on a “Volunteers in Mission” team to Biloxi, Mississippi in early March. The Methodist teams are helping folks that were devastated by Hurricane Katrina in August, 2005.

Not quite knowing what to expect, we met up with most of our group at LaGuardia Airport at 6am on Saturday. Our VIM Team #84, would have 11 people from Long Island, NY, one that would be joining us from Wisconsin and the two of us. We arrived at the church camp, which is primarily for children and found our rooms. Guys in one and Linda and Gina – the other woman in the group were in another. Bunk beds, small toilets, sinks and showers. At least there was a small building located outside the dorm area with extra showers and toilets for our group.
Sunday we went to St. Paul’s Methodist Church, who helped to sponsor our group’s use of vans and accommodations. The 100 plus in the congregation spoke to each of us and thanked us for continuing to help rebuild – almost four years later – in their town. We then had a drive around the area. Many homes are still either boarded up, half done and some just steps and a slab where a house once stood. The Katrina Monument had a display of personal items found after the storm as well as a marker on how high the water came through.

Monday, we reported to the Project Hope Office, where we met Brian, the coordinator for our area. Half of our group had been down the year before and were anxious to get started. Our first two days were spent together as we worked on replacing a garage roof. The people were so thankful that they treated us to Chicken Gumbo for lunch the next day.

On Wednesday we were split up into three groups – Peter went to help on a house that needed windows, a doors and asphalt shingles replaced. Some of the other guys went to work on a house that had the porch slab moved by the force of the water and Linda and Gina got to paint some other houses.

Peter found out first hand how most of the materials are donated – and that the warehouse is truly just that. A big place and you need to search for what you need. The window put in – were similar in style, but not in size. They had to use 2 x4 to get them to fit. The homeowner wanted to keep the family home (which had been there since 1895) as original as possible. So that ment trying to match the old shingles with the new ones. What a challenge!

Linda is afraid of heights, but by praying Philippians 4:13 (You can do all things through God) each time she stepped up the 10 to 20 foot ladders to paint, all went well. Donated paint and brushes made the job quite interesting.

Each day we rose at 6:00am, breakfast by 6:45am and off to the vans by 7:30am. We would work from 8am to 5pm each with only a short break for lunch. Then back for dinner, a shower, talk about the day’s work and off to bed. Those bunks weren’t very comfortable and the food was very “kid-style” (Chicken Nuggets and French Fries). Yet, after all these folks had been through – how could we complain for what we had for one week.

Pictures of our trip are on a poster board in the church hall and again – thank you for giving us this chance to be able to work with these folks and share our gifts and talents.

These photos were taken in January 2008 and are posted on the VIM Pathways blog by members of the team from Simsbury UMC. The writers noted that even now the devastation is widespread.

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