First Christian Church Richlands, North Carolina
Gary Edens, Jacky Edens, Mike Sunday, Duwayne Divens, Tom Barbee, Bennie Clark, Ken Brown, Sue Miller, Brenda Huffman, Krista Cabrera, and Sharon Effinger
2009 Mission Trip to Galveston, Texas
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The 2009 mission team gathered at First Christian Church Richlands along with the Angel Food volunteers at 10:00 A.M. and circled up for prayer before departing to the airport. This year’s team consists of six men and five women. We safely arrived at RDU airport and dropped off luggage and team members. Gary and Ken met Phil Jones at St. Paul’s Christian Church in Raleigh who allowed us to park our vehicles at their church for the week. Phil shuttled the guys back to the airport where everyone was eager to depart.
The first leg of the trip landed us in Charlotte and then we were off again to Houston Texas. This was Bennie’s first experience flying. He was given the window seat to check out the scenery. We had a safe flight and arrived in Houston around 8:00 P.M. Central time. After several calls, Gary finally located his brother-in-law, Jimmy, who arranged transportation for us all.
Gary introduced us to what he called “real barbeque”, Texas style. We ate at a place called Pappas Bar-B-Q. There we met Dwight and Bernie Elrod along with Joel, an intern. They help manage the mission station. All three live in Indiana.
The accommodations at the mission station are really great. We are going to be the only team here this week. It is really late and everyone has turned in for the night. Breakfast is scheduled for 8:00 A.M. and Sunday School at 9:30. We will also worship with First Christian Church, Texas City, the host church at the 11:00 worship service.
Today started with a quick trip to the City Cafe for breakfast and then back to the mission station for Sunday School and Church. We were welcomed into the adult Sunday School class as well as the worship service. Father's Day pins were presented to all the fathers in our group and we enjoyed a powerful message by Dr. John Stewart, minister of First Christian Church, Texas City. Dr. Stewart was born in Raleigh, North Carolina and lived in Fuquay-Varina and Durham.
After church, Dr. Stewart joined us for lunch at a Tex-Mex restaurant. Our waiter took sixteen orders without writing anything down and got them all right. Brenda was joined by her cousin, Judy and her daughter, Annie that live in Houston that she has not seen in twenty one years. The food was great!
We had a lazy afternoon as we waited for our evening meal. It seems like all we have done is eat since we got here. We were treated to pizza tonight and we met Carl Zerweck, head of Disciple Volunteers of Homeland Ministries and the rest of the crew stationed here in Texas. We had a worship service and then were given a briefing on our work assignments. It looks like we will be hanging sheetrock at Central Christian Church in Galveston and replacing siding and insulation at a house of one of the church members.
Things will be in high gear tomorrow as we start the work we came to do. Our team is getting excited as the time is near for us to go to work. Keep us in your prayers as the temperature has been around one hundred today.
The day we have all been waiting for finally arrived; our first day on the job. We traveled to Central Christian Church in Galveston Texas. We arrived at 7:30 for breakfast. All of our meals are served in the Fellowship Hall by our host. After a hearty meal the entire team enjoyed a devotion given by Jacky. Then we all proceeded to walk a few blocks to the construction site of Sharon and Matt whose house is having new siding and windows. This house had about two feet of water inside during hurricane Ike. As the pictures show, it took all of us to set up the three stages of scaffolding. The ground crew cheered on the daring climbers. After assembly was complete, our team was divided into two groups. Ken, Gary, Mike, Duwayne, Krista, Brenda, Tom, Bennie, Rindi the intern, and Steve the supervisor stayed at this site. This crew spent the day in extreme heat removing the old siding and installing new siding. It was a good day other than Gary getting a busted nose when Ken hit him in the face with a old piece of siding. At least this is Gary's side of the story. Ken denies any wrong doing. Eye witnesses on the scene concur with Ken's side of the story.
Three of our women were selected by Carl, the mission director, to work at Central Christian Church. They were Sharon, Jacky, and Sue. These ladies enjoyed working inside the air conditioned church finishing sheetrock and applying a textured paint.
After work was finished, the team drove the community recreation center for hot showers. All freshened up, we returned to the church for a wonderful dinner and worship service. The crew returned to First Christian Church in Texas City and turned in early. Since the heat index will be high tomorrow, GARY decided that WE all will start work an hour early and hopefully finish before the heat gets overwhelming.
The mission team crew woke up at the early hour of 5 a.m. and were in the van and on the road by 6. Breakfast was at 6:30 and at they were at their job sites by 7 a.m.
Those team members at the home of Matt and Sharon worked in the heat removing the remainder of the siding and installed new insulation. They did the framework for two new windows. Brenda and Krista caulked windows and doorways, they then proceeded to paint the trim work. Bennie was our Good Samaritan today and helped a neighbor by cutting a piece of plywood for him. Gary's brother-in-law, Jimmy was one of our working visitors for the day. Unlike Gary, Jimmy is plenty tall enough to hand needed items to those working on the scaffold. He was a blessing in deed.
The other team at Central Christian Church continued to drywall and paint. In the afternoon Duwayne and Krista joined up with Jackie, Sharon and Sue. They prepared a wall for hanging cabinets. Krista enjoyed working with her power tool, the miter saw.
Jesus really revealed himself to us today. After a wonderful fried turkey dinner with all the "Thanksgiving" trimmings we were spiritually uplifted by the four interns who lead us in a worship service. We learned a new thanksgiving song. The worship team called on Jessie Mentor, a native of Galveston and a member of Central Christian Church to give her testimony. She told us even in the midst of destruction and disaster great things have happened that wouldn't have if not for Hurricane Ike. Jessie's home was a total loss and she now lives in a RV parked on the concrete slab where her home formerly stood. She still feels blessed by all the Lord has provided for her.
If this wasn't enough to humble us, we then rode in the van and proceeded to Second Christian Church for a tour. This building received four feet of water during Hurricane Ike. We entered a church that has been completely gutted out. After all the blessings we had just experienced we now entered a deserted church. This church is sitting empty because they do not have the funds to rebuild. This is a future project of Disciples Home Mission (DHM). Second Christian Church members are currently worshiping in the fellowship hall of Central Christian Church singing mighty praises to God for their blessings. At the end of the day our team thanked the Lord for our many blessings and we look forward to continuing our mission of helping others.
Our day started at 6:00 A.M. again this morning. After a great breakfast Mike Sunday lead us in a devotion and everyone quickly disbursed to their job sites.
Ken, Mike, Tom, Gary, Brenda and supervisor Steve faced another day of at least 100 degree heat. Due to the heat the men rotated on the scaffolding work detail. Brenda was the only woman left on the team, as Rindi was relocated to the Central Christian Church job site. Brenda converted over to a man today and even went up on the scaffolding. Brenda painted all the trim work and helped the guys when needed. The guys set the bathroom and kitchen windows. They installed insulation, sheathing, house wrap and framed for the living room window. The crew must have been doing something right today because Steve, the supervisor was not on the job site for an extended period of time.
Across the street from their construction site are two pit-bull dogs chained in the yard. There is no shade or water provided by owners. This situation has been reported numerous times to the Police, but nothing has been done. As the team worked today, we felt sorry for these two dogs in over 100 degree heat. The white pit-bull was wrapped tightly around his stake. He could not move more than 2 ft. in any direction. The team members wanted to help, but the dogs were too vicious. As the team was ready to leave they found two buckets and filled them with water. Ken snuck around the brown dog and placed one water bucket by the white dog, who immediately started drinking. Feeling that the white dog was now distracted, Ken attempted to return to the job site. To his surprise the brown dog was able to stretch his chain further than Ken anticipated. Ken was startled when the brown dog lunged in attack mode. Ken was stranded. Mike and Tom tried to cause a distraction with no luck. Bernie got in the van and drove down an alley which blocked the dog. Ken was then able to return to the construction site. With one thirsty dog satisfied Mike attempted to give water to the brown dog. After watching Ken's experience, Mike decided to deliver water to the brown dog using a different method. He used a "16 foot" long rake to deliver his bucket of water. It worked. Get this, the brown dog started backing away from Mike as if he was scared of him. Instead of drinking the water, the brown dog bit the bucket and walked off with it, without spilling the water. Mike took no chances. He immediately returned to the job site.
Jacky, Sharon, Sue, Krista and Duwayne, along with Dwight, Bernie and two interns spent the entire day hanging sheetrock at Central Christian Church under the direct supervision of Carl. They mastered their skills well and polished off a heaping pile of sheetrock. They await another delivery tomorrow.
After all showers were complete and the team smelled better, we all piled into the church van and took a sight seeing tour of Galveston. We saw sights of hurricane Ike damage. Tom chauffeured us around Historic Galveston where we saw some amazing architecture.
We received another God moment blessing today. When we visited Second Christian Church the night before, we felt compelled to pray so we circled up and prayed specifically for the needed funds to start the rebuilding process. At breakfast this morning Carl informed us that God had already started answering our prayers. Following the church visit last night, Carl started receiving several phone calls offering donations to help this cause. With the money that has been committed thus far, materials will be ordered to start phase one of reconstruction.
After our wonderful dinner provided by our interns we were graced by a special visitor. Pastor Williams from Second Christian Church arrived. He stopped by to express his appreciation for all that is being done for Second Christian Church. The congregation is blessed to be able to worship in the fellowship hall at Central Christian Church but according to Williams, they are "ready to go home".
We traveled back to Texas City and unloaded lumber into the fellowship hall to begin another project which we anticipate starting on Friday.
Our morning began once again at 6:00 A.M. today. Galveston hit record heat temperatures yesterday and today. Bennie prayed for cool breezes and we were blessed with cool air when we needed it most.
Jacky, Duwayne, Sharon, Sue, Rindi, Bernie and Dwight found out they were going on a road trip to the city landfill and Home Depot. They all needed hard hats and safety vests to dispose of debris at the landfill. This was a great break from hanging sheetrock, in spite of the smell. After returning from the shopping spree at Home Depot to pickup massive amounts of wallboard, the church crew was split up once again. Krista stayed with Duwayne and continued hanging sheetrock. Sue, Jacky, Rindi, Bernie, Dwight and Will drove to FCC Texas City to start construction of a storage room in the Fellowship Hall. Sue used a nail gun for the first time. This team framed a 10 ft. high wall in no time at all.
The outside crew started their morning in a grand way. Remember those dogs from yesterday? As the crew of Gary, Tom, Mike, Brenda, Ken, Bennie and Steve walked down to the construction site they were not met by "Lassie nor Timmy", nor Spot nor Rover. The thirsty white dog from yesterday was on the loose. The first to arrive at the site were unaware of the unchained dog. Bennie yelled at the barking dog while Ken was amazed that the dog didn't remember him. Then the Marine in Mike entered the scene with a mighty big tree limb. Through all the commotion, the owner finally appeared and rechained his dog. Now the team could get back on task. They installed the last window and continued with siding. The men on this team once again were so glad to have Brenda on their team. She really became one of the guys today, operating a nail gun for the first time.
The worship service tonight was led by FCC Richlands. Many of our members took part in the service. Gary selected Second Christian Church as our sanctuary for a very special communion service. We were pleased to have Jessie and the entire Disciple Mission Team join us. The Holy Spirit was truly among us. We prayed with heavy hearts for our fellow Christians who don't have a home to worship in.
We returned to FCC Texas City after souvenir shopping and had a group meeting. The team expressed how happy it is to share memorable moments with two new team members, Sharon and Tom. Sharon has blessed each and everyone of us with a massage or two. She has volunteered for kitchen duty almost every night, and a great helper for the sheetrock team. Tom's inspirational prayers, words of wisdom and his over all work skills are such an asset to us all. His height and long legs have proved to be invaluable.
Krista too has been a God send. She remarked tonight that this mission trip has been so great. She sees God in all our actions because we are patient with each other even when things went wrong, or when plans were changed. She also played a little joke on Gary tonight by taping his bed and suitcase with heavy duty duct tape.
The Lord has truly blessed us with his Holy Spirit this week.
Today was FCC Richland’s turn to change the daily schedule itinerary. We were on a mission to finish early because we were invited to a picnic and pool party. Gary’s brother-in-law, Jimmy and sister, Ruth opened their home to all of us for dinner, swimming and relaxation. The team had a pow-wow on Thursday night and decided to work straight through from 7:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. To accomplish this we had to rise very early to strip our beds and have our luggage packed before we left our sleeping quarters. Sharon graciously volunteered to stay back on Friday morning to clean our living quarters. She was to meet Jimmy in the morning, who volunteered to come get all our massive amounts of luggage, which had increased since our shopping spree last night.
After our last breakfast at Central Christian Church, the house team walked to their site ever so carefully, looking for any dogs on the loose. The team was eager to finish the task at hand. The continued heat wave did not deter them from finishing the Lord’s work. The three monkeys, Ken, Mike and Tom tackled the third story (attic) siding. Gary was the relay man on the scaffold. First in the race were Bennie and Steve, cutting the panels. Brenda took second place to hand off pieces to Gary. All our prayers were answered today. They finished the tasks set before them in record time and were at the lunch table shortly after 1:00.
A few of our mission team were redirected to the FCC fellowship hall in Texas City. The continuation of the new storage area was now being built by Dwight, Joel and Will. This was good news to us because Sharon was not alone while scrubbing the deck.
Meanwhile, Jacky, Bernie, Sue, Rindi and Krista were promoted to the “mud team”. Our fearless leader Carl, gave us explicit instructions for finishing sheetrock. Beth, one of the interns, was added to the team roster, to help us mud. What a pleasure that was. She was allowed to be out of kitchen duty! Duwayne was pulled away to hang more sheetrock. Boy is he efficient! Again prayers were answered. This team ran a good race and accomplished what they set out to do. Central Christian Church in Galveston now has three more rooms, and a painted hallway.
After a quick lunch and showers, the entire team boarded the van and headed to Houston, Texas.
We enjoyed a wonderful relaxing evening with Jimmy and Ruth. They were so hospitable and opened their entire house to us. The backyard pool was the bomb! We all dived in the pool as soon as we got there and happily floated for hours. Dinner of course was fabulous. We are all coming home with added pounds no doubt for all we ate!
We also met Gary’s other sister, Susie, who came for a surprise visit. Other family that joined us for dinner were Ruth’s daughter, Debbie and her husband Mark. Ruth’s grandchildren, Hope, Hayden and Bryant joined in the festivities and reunion.
We are very tired and so anxious to get home to our church family. This will conclude our web updates for this trip. Thanks to our photographers and web crew for working hard and staying up late at each night to make this blog possible.
We Came - We Saw- We Conquered!
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First Christian Church Richlands
124 Trott Road
Richlands, NC 28574
Phone: (910) 324-4690