Gaithersburg Presbyterian is on a mission this week. Over 30 of our members (and brave friends of members) have driven to New Bern, NC, to rebuild homes destroyed by flooding. The Neuse River overflowed its banks when a hurricane stalled in this area, flooding hundreds of local homes. This is GPC’s fourth mission trip to New Bern.
Our GPC team of faithful servants has been rebuilding homes damaged by natural disasters for 17 years. Many of the members going this year went on the original GPC mission trip. They return faithfully year after year, due to the rewards of seeing the team’s hard work transform homes and the inspiring moments of talking and praying with thankful homeowners. The friendships formed by working together on challenging mission projects are deep. Over half our team has gone on more than five trips. Once again, Fletcher Tukes is organizing and coaching our construction teams. He has decades of contracting experience and is one of several mission team members who has faithfully attended this trip for 17 years. I rode down with Fletcher today and am impressed that he’s driven to all of these places and received only three speeding tickets. It’s a miracle!
Elisa McClelland (a veteran of over 10 mission trips) has stepped up this year to coordinate all the other activities for our team (medical release forms, finances, communications, meal team, scheduling, etc.). With 30 team members, there is a lot to coordinate!
Today the team made the long drive down from Gaithersburg (or Michigan – Ella Bastine & Carol Bunch). Tomorrow we start repairing homes. In the lull before the work begins, Abby Lindstrom and first-time trip attendee Elizabeth Alsopp worked on a puzzle. Abby, a veteran of many mission trips, gives a shout-out to our wonderful cooks, Ella and Carol, from Michigan. Elizabeth is excited to experience this mission trip during her gap year before she pursues her PA (Physician’s Assistant) degree.
Many of you have taken mission trips where the work is extremely rewarding but the accommodations are extremely spartan. Our GPC team has memories from other mission trips of sleeping bags on concrete floors and cold showers. That is NOT the New Bern mission experience! Since so many homes in this area were flooded, our host church, Neuse Forest Presbyterian, has created comfortable accommodations for the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) teams. Tonight we will sleep on Tempur-Pedic mattresses. After work tomorrow, we will shower in private showers with hot water. If you have never done a mission trip to a disaster area, New Bern is a good place to start.
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