On Saturday, February 10th, we started our 10th mission trip with Wrightsville Presbyterian Church, where Jim and I are members. We have a total of 14 volunteers going along, including Jim's wife Heidi and my daughter Alexis. This time we are heading to Beaumont, Texas to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey last year.

Hurricane Harvey was a Category 4 storm that hit Texas on August 25, 2017 and caused $125 billion in damages. It ravaged nearly 300 miles of the Texas coast and parts of Louisiana, flooding homes and displacing more than a million people. On August 29th, Harvey made landfall for a third time as it hit the coastal cities of Port Arthur and Beaumont. (Beaumont is roughly 85 miles east of Houston.)

Our first day of work we split into teams, each going to help in different areas. There was a group that was hanging sheet rock. Another was helping to sand, mud, and whatever else was needed after a group from Iowa hung the sheet rock. And a third group was readying a rental house that the UCC Church was going to use to volunteer groups like ours.

We have a HUGE barbecue grill, that we requested. We expected to see a small Weber-type grill, but as they say, "Everything's bigger in Texas' and such is our grill!!! Monday's dinner consisted of burgers and dogs by the men on our super-sized grill and a creative tomato and mozzarella salad and veggies made by the ladies.

From what we've observed thus far, the nicer looking, middle-class neighborhoods made up of small ranch style homes are pretty vacant. It's apparent that nobody is living in them. There were a few FEMA trailers, piles of trash put along the road and just empty of being worked on.

We got to help a couple yesterday from a similar neighborhood. They have one of the few two-story houses around. They are living in the upstairs of the house, but have to use a trailer parked in their yard to do the cooking. The group that helped there yesterday, known as the 'A Team', was helping to put insulation.

Last night we were invited to attend the Ash Wednesday service at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church. And three from our group were commissioned to sing with their choir! It was a great service.

To see more pictures from our trip, check out our website at: http://wpcpa.org/volunteering.html or our church Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WrightsvillePresbyterianChurch/.