Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Our Mission in Parkersburg

unbelievable photos can be found here.
Our mission in Parkersburg was to help families that were affected from the Memorial Day F5 tornado that hit and wiped out nearly half of the town and killed 8 people. We were amazed at the progress that has been made in only 5 months. Several homes have been built (although many are still being finished) and the town is starting to recover.

Our trip started very early friday morning with a 2 hour drive to Parkersburg IA. We had a great group: 19 people from our church! We were split up into 3 groups, each working on different homes. My group (see 2nd picture above) consisted of two great ladies and myself. We spent approximately 6 hours painting the entire basement of a parsonage for the local Baptist church. We finished it and we were quite proud ;) And were nicknamed the Painter Sisters!
My husband and a few others worked on siding a home for a young family. They worked through Saturday and used all of the siding they had, so they were also very productive.
The 3rd group worked in the local cop's home. A lot of different things needed to be done: underlayment and trim needed to be installed, and a lot of cleaning was needed. They finished the underlayment and most of the trim. The ladies worked on cleaning the trim and paint touch up which surprisingly took up most of the days. The owner wasn't sure if they would be able to move in by Thanksgiving, but when Saturday was over, he was confident that it might happen. All they need now is to install their floor & kitchen cabinets. What made the trip worth it: that we were able to make a difference in these families.
Coming home was really nice, but I couldn't help to think about those in Parkersburg that don't have a place to come "home" to. We had more fun than a planned family vacation and are ready to go back in the spring. Several in our group had mentioned it to me on Sunday at church, so I think we'll just plan on it.

A few things I want to record from the trip:

  • It was an F5 tornado with winds gusting 250 mph. Some trees were still standing, but limbs were stripped and bent eastward.
  • There were no street signs, they were all blown down.
  • The football scoreboard was blown 100 miles away in Decorah. Papers and other things are being found in Wisconsin.