September 22, 2023
GPC Communications Committee
Written by the whole team.
This is it. Our final day of work! We received an Emergency Alert Storm Surge Warning for the danger of life-threatening flooding in New Bern. Everyone has been asked to take emergency precautions. For us, that means it is time to pack up and head back to Gaithersburg early tomorrow morning.
Lucille – I am so very pleased to share that we completed all the work goals that we had set for ourselves and got some extras accomplished as well! What a blessed and fantastic experience we have shared with one another and with our homeowners. We may have depleted energy in our bodies, but our hearts are full to overflowing with gratitude and joy!
Here are some final thoughts from the rest of the Mission Trip #32 Crew:
Mary Beth – “Blessed are the flexible; for they shall not get bent out of shape.” This Beatitude is not found in the Gospels but is taped onto a cabinet in our dining room. It’s a good reminder that people sent on mission by God must be open to hiccups, challenges, and unexpected twists and turns. Actually, it’s a good beatitude for all of us in all walks of life.
Steve Ward – This trip has been something like a Forrest Gump event; just like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. Many of us have learned new skills or been challenged by unique circumstances. Plus, we met a homeowner who has inspired us to continue. His appreciation for our work is a treasure. His testimony of trust in God throughout a difficult life is not to be forgotten.
Fletcher – This is what I know. We come on these trips thinking that we are determining that we are doing something good. What we don’t know is that the Lord is calling the shots. Christ is not here on earth, but we are. And he puts us in these positions to help the individual who cannot help himself. The Lord puts us out there to glorify the homeowner and God.
Edco – It is a joy to recognize one’s presence in the place where the Lord wants one to be and with the people through whom the Lord can express divinity gracefully. The PDA mission trip has proven to be just such an experience. The Church seeks to do God’s will. PDA seeks to do God’s will. The local coordinating organization seeks to do God’s will. The intentions flow together and bless a soul in need of housing. And we all see how the Lord’s will does the graceful gifting that confirms the faith of all. Thanks, PDA, for your effort.
Stuart – These trips let me know how blessed I am. I marvel at the contrasts where some have lost almost everything except their faith vs. those passing through Starbucks in a hurry to get to something important. I’m glad that I have some skills that are useful. I get much more out of this than I give.
Bruce – Well you just don’t know how messed up some electrical outlets can get until you are exposed to some of these “manufactured homes” (aka trailers). We had fun trying to figure out how they were wired (or not wired, as the case may be) and performing repairs so that their outlets would work again.
David – The electrical technology of the manufactured home is different, and learning about that was fun. Learning how to repair it was an added wrinkle. We improved the condition of these homes and that was the goal.
Yvonne – As a first-time member of the team, I was truly honored to be asked to come along and be the primary cook for the week. When Fletcher first approached me with the idea of being the cook, I immediately said yes. Later, I questioned if I had bitten off more than I could chew. I told myself that I could handle the job. Just think of it like a family reunion or large Thanksgiving dinner. I just wanted to give the hardworking men and women good-tasting, wholesome food. I think I succeeded on all levels. I am so grateful to be able to give back to the church and my faith by doing more than going to church. Hopefully I will be able to participate on the next mission trip too.
Barry – My third excursion to New Bern is coming to a close with the knowledge that our time spent here on this trip proved most beneficial to those families we were able to assist. It is a very satisfying feeling to know that you are giving back to the society that has helped you attain your own personal success . . . what we call in Judaism a “mitzvah” (good deed). It is my hope that I will be available the next time this wonderful group is called upon to perform another mitzvah!
Jerry – Our homeowner Eleanor is a very charming and gracious lady living in a mobile home on a lake. This home has the most beautiful panoramic view of the water. She moved there in 1985 from Burlington, North Carolina, to care for her ill mother, who subsequently passed on from this life. Having inherited the property, she has remained and made it her neighborhood. The neighbors are her friends, and they have their own Facebook page where they can share thoughts, fears, physical ailments, and jokes. Angry and sick comments about others are not welcome. She is of the opinion that her wonderful community and its concern for others’ welfare has extended and added to her life and welfare. I would add “as God intended.”
Laura – From decay and cobwebs to cleaned bedrooms with fresh paint and new floors; from seeing the homeowner’s sleeping set-up in a hammock under a tarp in his yard, to him cheerfully stating he’d be in his own bed in his room tonight, it has been a tough but rewarding week. It has opened my eyes more to the ugly face of poverty, and the debilitating effects of PTSD. People’s lives can be quickly upended, causing a domino effect of damage, just as a tree can be torn from the ground and severely impact its surroundings. By listening to the homeowner tell of his traumas, as well as his strong faith and increasing determination to grow forward using his work in music to buoy him, we have been touched and inspired. This week we’ve felt and seen God’s spirit at work.
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