Grace United Methodist Church Burnsville Worship
Grace United Methodist Church
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
To serve and unite those we touch with the Grace of God

Katrina Relief - Mississippi Mission Trip

I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

-Isaiah 6:8 (KJV)
Grace UMC had 13 folk help out with Katrina Relief, Nov. 4-12, 2006.  The team was based out of Gulfport, Mississippi.
Here is the mission team in front of the Gateway UMC sign.

Fri. Nov. 10, Final Day

We were not able to complete everything on the work order:  sheetrock 6 rooms, Lauan wall covering on the entry room, and floor coverings.  We did make phenomenal progress.  The first coat of mud and tape was completed on almost all of the rooms and ceilings.  We installed a new outdoor door on the kitchen.  We will leave a detailed list of what we think the family needs to recover:  finish the walls, paint, install interior doors, paint, inspect electrical and repair as needed, complete plumbing hookups, and more.  The family was very excited and very grateful.

Our group led devotions on Friday.  Dave Milne gave the message.  We closed with 'Go in Peace my Friend'  We installed a true outside door on the kitchen.  Previously there was a narrow trailer door.  Billy (aka Fuzz) found a military supply parachute while hunting and hung it from a tree.  We called it 'Parachute Art'.  We signed hard hats and left them for the family.  They gave us some wood artwork that LeaAnne, Willam/Billy/Fuzz's wife.  The kids were terribly excited about the prospects of their new bedrooms.

Thur. Nov. 9, Day 4

We worked a half day and then took a tour of Biloxi.  For a half day, we made tremendous progress.  One room was completely mudded.  The main room was mostly sheetrocked.  The kitchen sheetrocking was finished along with the mudding.

Gary Bochman showed us the home he worked on last year.  There was a building permit on the front doora and the lawn was neatly maintained.  We also visited Leggett Memorial UMC.  Leggett's sanctuary was completely destroyed by the hurricane.  The church rebuilt the education wing to include a chapel.

The taping crew did a fantastic job! The Art Center was completely destroyed with no evidence of rebuilding.  Many buildings were similar. The staff presented a certificate to each of the groups.

Wed. Nov. 8, Day 3

We are happy with the progress we made.  More importantly, William grilled lunch for us:  hamburgers, brats, and hot dogs.  We really enjoy talking to him.  We probably won't complete all the tasks we would like to but Gary will make a strong plea to have another team come out and finish everything and more.  Their FEMA trailer expires in two months.  Getting the family into the house would be a great benefit.  As we were packing up, the kids came home from school and entertained us.

Does sheetrocking the ceiling require 8 of us?  Who's in charge of sheetrocking the kitchen?  William grilled lunch for us.  We really enjoy talking to him.  Yes, we do scrunch all 13 of us in one table

Tue. Nov. 7, Day 2

We are making progress!  Two of the addition rooms are completely sheetrocked.  There are 3 walls remaining.  The large room in the old section of the house is almost completely prepped:  ceiling torn down, walls made almost flush, other interesting architectural details solved.  And Gary Turner almost solely got the kitchen prepped.  We worked a bit late because we had a late start because we did cleanup detail at the center.

Every day we unload the trailer.   Gary picked up sheetrock and the job of unloading is fun but physically exhausting.  Doris and Carol are stripping down the wall.  The ceiling has already been removed.   Gary is installing a header per John Wildman's instructions.  We ate lunch outside.  The day was beautiful and spirits sunny.

Mon. Nov. 6, First day

We knew that our assignment was to help sheetrock a home.  None of us were prepared for the what we would find.  William was injured in an accident with a backhoe perhaps 5 years ago.  Tornadoes spawned by Katrina dropped a couple of tree limbs through his roof.  He was fixing up the house with the help of friends but 3 surgeries this year made the task impossible to continue on his own.  William and his family live in a FEMA trailer beside his house.  Because the roof was repaired the house is dry.  The house has a main section that is 100 years old with tongue and groove everything (walls, floors, & ceiling).  The addition appears to have been repaired to typical construction standards.  But a year of slow renovations and attempts to use the space, such as storing relatives' furniture, installing a drier and using clothes storage space,  left a bunch of building debris and household items intermingled.  The first task was to move and organize all the material so that we could start doing work.  We were amazed, but by lunchtime, we were able to start using tools.  The boys arrived with the sheetrock and we got it in to the addition during a light shower.  We made a bit of progress before it was time to pack up and return for a mandated early supper due to scheduling conflicts with the facility.  And then a deluge dumped rain on us throughout the 45 minute drive to the center.  The shower was wonderful.  All in all we were pleased with our progress.

Cara is removing the staples after tearing down the Celotex ceiling.  You can see the tongue-and-groove everything.  The doorway used to be an external door but now goes down to the addition.  David wearing his makeshift rain poncho after racing equipment to the trailer during the first deluge.  John Wildman is offering advice for the next phase of the job to Gary while the Hollywood deer looks on.  Lunch was inside due to a light rain.  Supper is a nice time to recount the day.


Nov. 5 Arrived at Gulfport UMC

We arrived at the church at 7:15 with the all hands meeting at 8:00.  Because we were the last group, most of the guys are sleeping in the hall.  The coordinators are delightful.  Here are some words of inspiration and help from Brandon and Stephanie.

"This is not a project of building, this is a project of people."

"Blessed are the flexible for they won't get bent out of shape"

Brandon, the coodinator, is joking around with us before the initial meeting starts Here are most of the 85 or so volunteers.  It's a big crowd

Nov. 4 Traveling half way to Fenton, Missouri

We left Grace UMC at 7 AM with 11 of the 13.  (The last 2 left later in the day).  During driving breaks everyone responded to 2 questions:  "Why are you going on the trip?" and "Have you been on a mission trip before?" 

"Giving back.  God was looking out for me and I wanted to give back"
"If I'm going to call myself a Christian, I really need to do this sort of thing"
One reflected on reading The Purpose Driven Life and asked, "Why are you waiting?"
One responded that her parents participated in a Nomads group, an offshoot of UMCOR, with 3 week mission trips twice a year for several years.  "I wanted to continue in their footsteps"
"to help people with their struggles.  I lived there for a while."
"People need to know the story"
"I have never done something like this.  We were involved in raising our family."
"When I first heard, I thought that this is something I always wanted to do. . . .  Then I decided not to go. . . .  Wait.  I need to do this"
"I helped my daughter and the Youth Group plan trips but never went on one"

For more than half the group, this is the first mission trip for them.  Three helped with Katrina relieve in the past year, one traveled to Africa on two mission trips, and another has been to 3 mission trips to Appalachia.

The group was excited and moved by the response of the congregation during and after the sending off at last Sunday's worship.  Thank you!

Thank You

This mission trip was generously supported by the members of Grace UMC.  In addition, local companies supported us.  Thank you!

Minnesota Brass Drum & Bugle Corps - Trailer
Rent 411 - T-Shirts and $300
J & D Remodeling - Sheetrock hoist and 2 sheetrock screw guns
Master Civil & Construction Engineering - Hard Hats
3M - Masks
DR Horton - Cups
Kelloggs - Gloves and snacks

Grace United Methodist Church
15309 Maple Island Road, Burnsville, MN 55306
Phone: 952-435-5696

        Grace UMC is an Unidos en Cristo Affiliated Church