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

April 10 – 14, 2017

Charleston – Day 1,  April 10, 2017

The PDA faithful all arrived in time to dine al fresco at Ellis Fish Camp. The GPC group of 27 livened up the joint and enjoyed great seafood fare. We were up early for a big breakfast, courtesy of our famous cooks, and then out to the worksites under the direction of Fletcher Tukes. Both houses had experienced flooding, leaving some floors in the houses sagging and in dire need of repair. Fletcher and friends evaluated the damage, gathered equipment, and got to work pulling up multiple layers of flooring. Others busied themselves removing nails from the wood, weeding a garden, and enjoying the antics of an adorable puppy. We returned to the church dirty and tired but were soon refreshed in time for a delicious ham and scalloped potatoes dinner. Weather was warm and sunny, so some of us are sporting pink noses and cheeks. A great start for our week!

—Mary Wasik

Charleston – Day 2, April 11, 2017

Today’s written chat will focus on our Addison Road house in Harleyville, South Carolina. It is about an hour away from where we are staying at the Harbor View Presbyterian Church, but the warmth of the family members and their appreciation for our help makes the long commute worthwhile.

The primary homeowner is Zette (AKA Violette), who has had two strokes and has made a remarkable comeback. Her house needs a whole lot of TLC but the challenge that we have accepted there is to provide some much-needed new flooring for two living spaces.

Fletcher is our crew chief and his motto for us is “Make it Happen.” (Do you think Fletcher’s been watching the Project Runway show on cable TV?) We’ve been using crowbars and hammers to pull up years of old flooring. In one room today we uncovered and removed three layers of sheet vinyl flooring as well as tongue and groove wood flooring and black tarp paper, down to a slatted subfloor. When we got down to the subfloor in yesterday’s room, it was in such bad shape that it had to go as well. Today in that room a whole new wooden grid of support for a new subfloor was being constructed. We’ve got a great group, which includes teen volunteers Elizabeth and Carvel, right on up to our senior member, 88-year-old Franz (who was working right alongside the teens and showing them how to get the leverage needed to pry off the flooring).

On the first day, some of the younger male relatives watched us. Today they joined in the work and seemed to really get into it and take pride in what they were able to contribute. Adult family member Bobby pitched in right away and has worked hard both days. We found out today that he has previously suffered two strokes.

Mary Beth and Charlotte would not forgive me if I didn’t mention that this home comes with an adorable puppy named Ernie. He spent part of the first day hiding under the house, but by this afternoon was happy to sit on a variety of laps for petting, scratching, and bites of lunch.

This family has been waiting since October of 2015 to get help with their flood damage. Now that we are here, you can really see their hope revitalized that life is going to get a little better again.

This was our homeowner dinner night and seven members of our Addison Road house family drove the hour to the church to join us. They seemed so excited to share in the meal and chat with us. Words really can’t express how good that makes us feel. During this Holy Week of Lent, we are especially blessed to share the varying talents we have to make a difference where it is so needed and hopefully model the love and caring of Jesus Christ.

Tomorrow you’ll learn about our Stratton Drive house. So stay tuned for more GPC Mission Trip Adventures and Challenges!

—Lucille Baur

Charleston – Day 3,  April 12, 2017

Dave Bastine and his group are working on the Stratton Place house for our homeowner, Donna. Her home needs a new floor in the kitchen and dining room. While the men assessed the inside, the women kept themselves busy weeding the garden. Donna knows her garden and plants. Progress is happening with the hope that both rooms will be complete with new flooring and most of the wood dust will be removed from the surfaces in those rooms. The efforts are not without hiccups. The subfloor was weak in many spots, and unfortunately, our homeowner found the one spot that was not reinforced. She was not seriously hurt but received a few bruises and pains. Railroad crossing work set up a road block detouring traffic. The side streets are dead ends, so our supplies didn’t arrive and had to be purchased at another store. The team is carrying on. Team members are Dave Bastine, Bruce, Steve, Karen, Sam and Diane, Dave and Linda Fosdick.

After another gourmet dinner, chicken cordon bleu, many in the group set off for Bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church, but upon arrival learned that the church folk were meeting at a different location away from Charleston for a special Holy Week event. We parked at the church and walked down to the market area and the waterfront and enjoyed strolling along the shady streets, viewing the lovely old homes and churches and stopping at ice cream and candy shops.

We are very thankful for God’s gifts of health and strength this week.

—Linda and Dave Fosdick

Charleston – Day 4, April 13, 2017

This morning’s breakfast featured a delicious bacon, egg, bread, and cheese casserole. Sonbela Fomuso, originally from Cameroon, led us singing “Awesome God” at our brief morning-prayer circle.

Our homeowner, Donna, was happy to be able to walk in her kitchen again without falling through the floor! She had said that she needed a photo with all of our names, so we presented her with a mini faux stained-glass banner that we all had signed. I convinced Donna that we should bag all her weeds (she thought we had worked hard enough but agreed to let us). We dug up lots of dandelions, half of which have purple leaves here – a new species to us, Virginia creeper, and volunteer oaks, and watered her garden.

Donna’s dog, Little Man, spent a long time in Karen’s lap while Donna and Karen talked for hours. Donna said that after a major earthquake here, she told her insurance agent several years ago that she wanted flood and earthquake insurance. Her agent told her that her homeowner’s insurance included flood insurance so she didn’t need any, but after the October 2015 flood, the insurance agency just looked at her. Fortunately, FEMA gave her $2,000 to repair her floors, but she said she wanted to prevent future flooding, so she used the money to buy a $3,000 sump pump, which her son installed for her. On Tuesday, a social worker had gone with her to pick out and pay for laminate hardwood flooring.

Our team leader, Dave Bastine, was pleased with how speedy it was to get the supplies he needed, once he knew the correct minister’s name to charge everything to at Home Depot!

I vacuumed the two rooms five times and swept as the guys laid the second layer of sub-flooring in the kitchen and the top layer of laminate flooring in the dining room. Then we four ladies took a break and walked to the Family Dollar store, where Mary bought a pink silicone flashing LED chick for Donna.

Back at Donna’s, I got away with sweeping the oak blossoms off the front and back entryways by explaining to her that it would save me from having to vacuum inside more! She had already blown them off several times, but had given up because they kept falling off the trees. For our afternoon snack, we had a choice of Klondike ice cream bars or double chocolate Magnums, thanks to Bob Wasik!

We cleaned and reconnected Donna’s stove and also reconnected the washing machine before we left. The five guys and Karen finished laying half of the final hardwood flooring in the kitchen and part of the molding in the dining room and cleaning some of the walls before coming back for a late dinner of tasty stuffed pasta shells, turkey, cranberry sauce, roasted butternut squash and beets, peas, beet greens, tossed salad, and blueberry buckle (like a cobbler but with cake, ice cream, and whipped topping). Our leftovers went to the fire department across the street, which distributes food to needy families.

Seven PDA volunteers attended the Maundy Thursday service here at Harbor View Presbyterian Church, where they sat around the Last Supper table, heard the story of Jesus washing Peter’s feet, and sang Taizé hymns. We gave the church janitor $75, which he greatly appreciated. He works two night jobs and his wife is in the hospital with glaucoma.

We will return tomorrow, Friday, to wrap up the kitchen floor and dining room molding, dust and replace her furniture, and hopefully wash her dishes. We are taking her some food, too.

Flood Background:  October 1–5, 2015, Charleston had 15–25 inches of rain. If you haven’t seen a video of the flood, click www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzvwaBNewmw Drone: www.youtube.com/watch?v=8n3Jn9_q9Zc

Summary – Day 5, April 14, 2017

In spite of hidden rotten beams and hang-ups procuring supplies, the GPC team managed to finish the wood/laminate floors in both houses. Our expert tilers – Alexandra Parker, Elisa McClelland, and Elizabeth Fielding – laid a great-looking bathroom floor; our cooks – Ella Bastine, Carol Bunch, Maxine Brown, Cecilia Bailey, and Mary Beth Lawrence (some of the time) – created delicious and warm meals that they had to serve in shifts to workers who returned late from work sites; and many volunteers enjoyed puppy time with Ernie and Little Man, our resident canine friends.

In reflecting on the mission trip to Charleston, we realize just how much God blessed us this week – with volunteers so committed to support the homeowner and the others on our team to get the job done, with homeowners who were very thankful for our work and our friendship to them, and with good health, safety, and stamina to complete our task. God is big enough!

Special bonus: Carvel Graves danced for the homeowners and the GPC team on Tuesday night.  Watch him at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48upFIvACu4&feature=youtu.be.

—Mary and Bob Wasik