Mission Trip to Harbor View Presbyterian Church
James Island, South Carolina

March 27 – April 2, 2016

Monday, March 28, 2016

We have arrived at Harbor View Presbyterian Church on James Island, SC, just outside of Charleston. There are 39 of us and we are enjoying one another in great fellowship. Ella Bastine and Carol Bunch are back from Michigan and along with Cecilia Bailey and Mary Beth Lawrence are our great cooks and are making us feel very loved and definitely well fed! We celebrated Kendall Zammit’s 16th birthday, which was yesterday, by having cake together tonight after dinner. The staff at Harbor View has been very welcoming and gracious; we are the first group to stay here and they have done everything they can to give us what we need.

Cockroaches! Hundreds of them!

Fletcher, Alex Parker, Fred Hebdon from the Eastern Shore, Kendall Zammit, Franz Wilson, and I (Carol Anderson) did battle today. If four gallons of straight bleach did its job, we won. We will know more when we return to the house tomorrow.

Our team is working at a house in the East Ashley area of Charleston. There is considerable damage, particularly to one room, from the combination of a leaky roof and the severe storms of last fall. We arrived at our site and went in to assess the needs and get an idea of what supplies we might need. When we began pulling off the paneling, we were greeted by many, many, many LARGE cockroaches running in every direction. It was quite a sight. Every time we removed another piece of paneling or insulation there were more, a seemingly endless supply. They make a very satisfying crunch when stepped on! Mold was another issue that we uncovered. Fred and I went off to Home Depot for masks. Then the mouse nests behind the walls were revealed. We stripped all the paneling, insulation, and part of the ceiling, and pitched it out the window so that Kendall and our homeowner could carry it around to the front of the house for trash pick-up. With no let-up in sight on the number of roaches, we decided that we needed stronger methods than just stepping on as many as we could, Whack-A-Mole style. Fletcher got a gallon sprayer and four gallons of bleach and went to town spraying every inch of the room. Hopefully he got both the mold and the roaches. The smell was so strong we could not even be in the room with our masks on, because the fumes made our eyes sting and run. We shut the door and both windows and hope that tomorrow there will mostly dead roaches and we can move forward measuring and installing insulation and drywall.  Wish us luck!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Today’s blog is brought to you by the other GPC—Grace Presbyterian Church from Lanham, MD. We have a team of 12 working on a double-wide FEMA trailer that was acquired following Hurricane Hugo in 1989. The current homeowners, Charles and Annette, inherited it from Charles’ father after many years of neglect. So far we have been able to build new steps to the only functioning external door. After the previous steps were removed, they were pushed over and collapsed under the weight of a single, well-placed foot.

Another challenge has been the unstable and rotting flooring. Today Pastor Lyman Smith and the homeowner both fell through the floor. Fortunately neither was hurt. Our goal is to put safe flooring in the kitchen, a bedroom, and a bathroom. So far the bedroom and kitchen subflooring have been completed. While removing the flooring and rotten boards in the bedroom, we saw that one exterior wall of the trailer needed to be replaced in order to be able to use it to secure the new floor.

The blessings that we have received include hearing Annette sing and sharing with us in prayer at the beginning and end of the day. We’ve also learned some new skills with power tools!! A table saw, circular saw, nail gun, and hammer drill!

From the girls: “This has been a very good experience. I didn’t imagine it would be like this. I was expecting that there were going to be homeless people, but instead we are helping put a home back together and putting smiles on the homeowners’ faces.”

Karen Smith

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Work at Harbor View Presbyterian Church:

There were three projects waiting for us when we arrived at Harborview Presbyterian Church. The first involved a room off of the sanctuary that had suffered water damage from seepage under the outside wall. Dave Flyte, Bob Wasik, and Bob Aldridge worked on the project. We took off the baseboard to find the source of the leak, and then cleaned the area and disinfected the wall and floor. Dave determined that the soil gradient directed the rainwater toward the wall. He corrected that problem and installed pavers to catch the runoff and direct it away from the building. Two days later, after the wall had dried, the Bobs installed new baseboard. The room should be far more pleasant to use now. Incidental to that problem, we cleaned up lots of debris from the yard.

The second job was to repair storm damage to the fence of the play yard used by the Preschool children. The upper rail was displaced, the gate wouldn’t close, and several fence posts were leaning. A play structure also needed repairs and to have new parts installed. Edco Bailey, Maxine Counihan, and Michele Schantz repaired the rail and gate, and Edco made supports for the leaning posts from pipe that we had cleared from the yard in the first project. Michele spray painted the rusted top rail. Charles and Margery Tanner, Elisa McClelland, Maxine, and Edco worked on the play structure. The next day the yard was full of laughing children.

Meanwhile, Eddie Schantz, GPC’s ceiling tile expert, replaced a huge number of water-damaged ceiling tiles at HVPC.

A fourth project came to our attention. One of the preschool teachers had water damage in her garage and needed the lower portion of the drywall taken out so that a contractor could make an estimate. Wasiks, Edco, Maxine, Elisa, Ed and Michele, and Bob Aldridge took part.

The last project to appear was brought to us by the Director of the Preschool. A Children’s Garden had been put in several years ago but had not been maintained. It still had the original plantings and badly overgrown. That project is still under way with the Schantzes, Bob Wasik, Maxine, and Bob Aldridge participating. Sam Glasgow has agreed to repair a children’s bench that has rotten slats.


Wednesday night Bible study:

One of the highlights of our trip to Charleston was the Wednesday night Bible study we attended at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Calhoun Street. In addition to our group, the guest youth choir from First Baptist Church of Shelby, NC, provided music for the evening. The service was led by Reverend Roteshia Jackson and focused on the roles that God and Jesus play in our lives. We also are personally connected to one another.

The service ended with a “love feast” ceremony in preparation for communion on Sunday. This ceremony has been held at Emanuel for over 60 years. Bread is shared but not eaten and water is served in communion cups and drunk before hugging the person in line behind you. As a parting gift, participants are offered loaves of bread to take to people in the community.

After the service, we were invited to tour the church, which was closed in 1835 and re-opened in 1865. Several of us met a church member who told us that she had been at Bible study last year on June 15 when nine members of the congregation were shot by a guest participant. She told us that she had known all nine members who died that night. She said that she was still healing but that talking about it even with strangers was helping her deal with such a sad event. Talking about it quietly and calmly was not upsetting to her and it helped her move from acceptance to forgiveness. She also assured us that “the church might seem quiet now, but you should be here on Sundays at 9:30”!  Someone told us that the church has a membership of about 800.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

It is the last day of March and the last day that our intrepid team will all be together. Tomorrow some will head out early in the morning, some will leave during the day, and about 17 will spend the night and then head home on Saturday.

So this was a special day and evening for us. I’ll begin with a snapshot of our work at a new location…the home of 45-year-old twin brothers, Frank and Felix. They were trying to pay their $411 electric bill by selling cast-offs (plastics, aluminum cans, scrap metal, old tires, etc.). Their mud pit front yard was packed with their trash-to-treasure bounty and much of it was in terrible condition and really belonged in a junkyard or landfill, but we respected their wishes and dutifully sorted and stacked items and put them where they asked us to. It was very dirty work, but Frank said that we were his angels for helping him out. The previous day we had worked in the lovely suburban home of one of our host church’s preschool teachers. Talk about a 180-degree difference!

Our evening put us all in great spirits. It was homeowner dinner night and we were fortunate that two of them could join us. The spaghetti dinner was wonderful and our guests were so very appreciative.

We ended the evening with our version of a “camp skit.” Three of our favorite stalwart mission trip members—Maxine and Jerry Brown and Mel Reid—were unable to join us on this trip, so we immortalized them in song. We mangled the lyrics from South Pacific’s “There Is Nothing Like A Dame” and it became “There Is No One Like Maxine, Jerry, and Mel.” Everyone got into the spirit and of course raised hands for the big “jazz hands” finish. I don’t think there will be any further bookings for the GPC Mission Trip Singers, but we hope our honorees will know that we really missed having them with us this trip.

We go into our last day with full hearts and maybe some sore muscles. But we have all been truly blessed by our experiences in the “Holy City” of Charleston, South Carolina.



PDA Bench Restoration

Our team worked on many projects during our week in South Carolina.  Sam and Diane Glasgow and Eddie and Michele Schantz renovated a children’s bench in the Memorial Garden at Harbor View Presbyterian Church.  The project took two and a half days and included four trips to Lowe’s and one turtle rescue and release. Check out these great before and after pictures!