Saturday, July 7, 2018

...And They're Back!

As I type, our Mission Team is hanging around a baggage carousel at the Pittsburgh airport, waiting for their luggage to catch up with them. When they're all back in The Tusc, perhaps we can coax some reflections from them. If so, you can see them here.

For now, though, here are some of the last pictures from the Ohio-to-Texas Mission Trip, with a side jaunt to Louisianna to claim a lovely stretch of beach beside the Gulf of Mexico on a well-earned Friday Sabbath. Oh, and there are hats. Along the way, shopping at a Western wear store happened. Fun!

Heading back to Port Arthur, the Team stopped for supper. In honor of her birthday, Molly celebrated with a performance of "The Chicken Dance." What happens in Texas stays in Texas...unless someone is blogging about it.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Continued Mission: Celebration!

Even as the work week was winding down (and even though the air conditioner was broken!), our Ohio-to-Texas Mission Team was still smiling on Thursday.

It wasn't the right season to stop and smell the roses, but they did stop and notice the lizard.

There were thank you gifts to be prepared. For Mike Liles, the on-site coordinator, the Moravian crew members all signed a commemorative t-shirt.

And then there were birthday party preparations to be made.

 Thursday concluded with the celebration of not just one birthday, but two--Sam and Molly.

Life is a gift to be celebrated! 

And what better way to celebrate life than in missional service in Jesus' name. 

Wrapping Up the Work

On Thursday, the Ohio-to-Texas Mission Team finished up their tasks with a little more sanding and a little more painting.

Both venues--Shari's house and the Peaceful Rest Baptist Church--have come a long way thanks to the elbow grease and sweat equity offered by our crew. Another group will soon arrive to pick up where our team left off. In fact...

For awhile on Thursday, our folks were joined by another like-hearted mission team from another place.

And Pastor Frazier's brother, Kenneth, came by to help with the church's lawn care, too.

There's still plenty of work to be done in Port Arthur, and compassionate cooperation is the way it will be accomplished.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

A Little Levity

A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.

~Proverbs 17:22

People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.
~Dale Carnegie

Rain or shine, working or relaxing, our Ohio-to-Texas Mission Team has a knack for enjoying whatever is going on. Here they are in some of their lighter moments...

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

You Have to Be Flexible

Things don't always go as planned, but that doesn't mean they don't work out the way they're intended. Our Ohio-to-Texas Mission Team had expected to have a Day of Play, a well-earned break in the middle of the work week, and a holiday, to boot. But then the rains came, and before they knew it, the roads were closed due to flooding. Work and play both came to a halt, and the team ended up chilling until the waters could recede. When that happened late in the morning, the team opted to put in a half-day's work and switch their day off to Friday. Stay tuned for amusing pictures of the team relaxing, but for now, here are some photos from Wednesday's abbreviated work day. 

A Day in the Life of the Texas Mission Team

There are lots of kinds of "mission trips" with lots of kinds of outcomes and adventures. But if you're wondering what it might be like to serve in the category of "disaster response," the current Ohio-to-Texas team is having a meaningful yet pretty typical experience. 

The team is making use of Good Shepherd Moravian Church as its home base. They sleep on cots set up in Sunday School rooms and make use of the church's kitchen and fellowship hall. You might wonder, though, about shower facilities? A mobile "disaster relief" shower unit is parked beside the church building.

 After sharing breakfast and getting ready for the day, the team gathers up tools and supplies, many of which are kept on-site in another trailer provided through the Moravian Church's Board of World Mission. The Moravian Disaster Response (MDR) tool trailer first saw action in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and has since been deployed temporarily to many locations around the country. For the time being, the MDR tool trailer is parked in Port Arthur for use by various mission teams making their way toward the Texas Gulf Coast.

The Board of World Mission, an inter-provincial agency of the Moravian Church, has been cooperating with the Unity of the Brethren Churches (our denominational cousins, so to speak) as well as other ecumenical partners to organize the volunteers who are eager to provide assistance. Pictured here (in the center) is Mike Liles, our mission team's on-site coordinator. To his left is his wife and fellow volunteer, Pat Liles. And to his right is the pastor of Peaceful Rest Baptist Church (one of the work sites for our group), The Rev. Leonard Frazier. All have been working, sweating, singing and laughing alongside our Ohio group.

There is still much work to be done to restore the storm-damaged community. Pastor Darrell says our team has bumped into other mission teams from other denominations in other states. They've also bumped into Port Arthur residents around town when they've been at Walmart or Lowe's or the ice cream shop. Wherever they go, people express gratitude for their help.

The team spends each day at its assigned locations, sometimes working as a single group, sometimes dividing and conquering. In the evenings they return to Good Shepherd to freshen up and chow down. Before turning in for the night, they spend time in worship.Though he was not able to join the group on the journey, Jaden Stearns is very much part of the team. He prepared and sent along devotional material for every day of the trip.

In fact, an important aspect of the mission work is that there are always folks "back home" supporting the crew with good thoughts and purposeful prayers!