Cashiers United Methodist Church
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
+ Christ has no hands but yours +

Eastern NC Stories

 
MISSION TRIP TO TORNADO-RAVAGED FAYETTEVILLE NC
September 18-24, 2011
 
To view more pictures from the week click here.
 
The question might be asked, “Do these mission trips at some point begin to feel routine and less exciting or inspiring?” This team, as one, would answer with a resounding “Never!” To have met people like Mary and Cowboy, and hear their extraordinary stories of survival and loss, and be able to in some small way lighten their burdens, is a privilege that could never be taken for granted. As the empowered instruments of our Lord, who allows us to do much more than we could ever imagine, we are showered with indescribable blessings that make the sore muscles and dirty hands things to smile about, even treasure!
 
Mary lost her father and brother in the April tornado. In town shopping when the tornado hit, upon returning home Mary and her daughter discovered that the two trailers on her property were gone, totally destroyed and blown away. The bodies of her family members were found later in a nearby field. One can only imagine the despair that Mary and the rest of her family have suffered. Our task for Mary was to continue a home-building project that the Baptist Men, the designated interfaith Carolina disaster relief organization, had received some funding for. (Smithfield Hams, employer of Mary’s lost brother, had donated $20,000 for disaster recovery in the Fayetteville area.) Many in the community knew and loved Mary and were quick to let the team know they were thrilled she was getting help.
 
The slab had been poured and framing had been completed on Mary’s little two-bedroom home. We were the sheetrock crew! Though we did dig around and paint the foundation, the big job for the week was installing insulation and sheetrock, a daunting task, but one which we completed, paint-ready except for a small amount of final sanding. Our week’s work met with the enthusiastic approval of our coordinator, Gerald Williams.
 
Some of the team spent a few days at Cowboy’s place. Cowboy, his wife Rosalind, and nearby family members had made it to his storm shelter just seconds before his home and barn were swept away. What a treat it was just to be around this couple. They were so gracious and upbeat, witnessing to their unshakeable faith in God in spite of poor health and unfortunate circumstances. Cowboy, a disabled Vietnam veteran, had opted for a used trailer to replace his home, so the team put underskirting around it, and also tin-roofed and tin-sided his barn, which had been framed up by a team preceding us. Earlier teams had also built decks and a ramp for the trailer.
 
Before joining the labor force at Mary’s and Cowboy’s, two of our crew were assigned the task of converting two bathtubs to handicap accessible showers. The long ride to the job site was much more exhausting than the conversion job, but our merry men tried valiantly to whistle while they rode!
 
Our accommodations were clean and spacious - a newly constructed fellowship hall/gymnasium at Macedonia Baptist Church, lovingly mispronounced Macadamia a few times during our more giddy moments. We had complete run of the place, well-equipped kitchen included. After supper (most of those meals prepared by chef Joyce Chisolm and crew), we settled down to computers or games like Scrabble, Mexican Train Dominoes, or Farkle, then gathered for devotions led by Jim or Randy before collapsing on our cots. On Wednesday evening, we joined the local congregation in their mid-week meal and services. When we thanked a very sweet lady for the use of their facilities, she said, “Oh, these are not our facilities – they are God’s!”
 
Breakfast came very early. Most were up before dawn to prepare for the day and experience creative “Breakfasts by Carl and Kathie” (Blozan), after which we packed our lunches and were off in a cloud of dust!
 
It may sound strange to say we had fun, but we truly did. Laughter rang out throughout each day. What a joy it was to hear Randy’s laugh in the mix this year! So much was accomplished because God was in it, because our hearts were in it, because our home church’s heart was in it. (And because we were fueled by fantastic snacks furnished by folks back home!) The job list provided plenty of opportunities for everyone, regardless of construction skill level.  Costs were kept surprisingly low: trailer underskirting, meals, and gas for the CUMC bus. As a result, our missions committee is in a much better financial position to respond to further needs that will arise.
 
Two memorable events spiced up the week. First, early in the week we had noticed a pea patch adjacent to Mary’s property. When our meal-conscious cooks chatted up the man busy working the patch, they found out that this man was one of Mary’s brothers; and, he very generously shared more than enough peas for us to enjoy one night. The second event, thanks to Kathie Blozan, whose sleeping quarters were the costume and decorations storage closet, was after-dinner entertainment consisting of the women’s interpretation of South Pacific’s “Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair!” What was lacking in talent was more than made up for in enthusiasm.
 
Bottom line – your September 2011 mission team worked very hard, brought encouragement and hope to hurting people, were mindful of your donation dollars, and were so grateful for this opportunity to serve. The team: Carl and Kathie Blozan, Dave Buff, Ed and Joyce Chisolm, Dick Grote, Randy Harry, George Henry, Jim Hormann, Carl Hyde, Ed Jones, Charlie and Dawn Kelly, Bill and Pat Tyler.