Photo by Jim Maker,
First UMC of Bossier City, LA
Used with permission.
Teams from states surrounding the State of Alabama have been traveling to Tuscaloosa to assist the Southwest District Disaster Recovery Team’s work in the neighborhood of Forest Lake. For one resident, these teams have made a world of difference beyond what they ever imagined.
The teams worked on the home of Ms. Betty Lake, who in the span of two years lost her brother, her husband and fell victim to the tornado. Since her husband’s death, she has been unable to afford the insurance on her home, which sustained major damage from the April 27 tornado. Ms. Lake could not afford the repairs.
The Florida and Louisiana teams worked during the week to replace a ceiling in Ms. Lake’s spare room and to replace, prime and paint eaves on her house. A previous work team, the “Methobaps,” decked and shingled the roof the week before. By completing this work, the teams have restored Ms. Lake’s home to an even better than pre-storm state.
Ms. Lake continually thanked the teams for their help, even drafting a letter to express her heartfelt thoughts. Ms. Lake remarked in her letter that due to the events of the past two years, she never could have repaired her home without the help of these self-sacrificing teams and their hard work each day on the site. These teams were helping to make her whole again.
Team Florida, led by Al Tomek, consisted of 13 members from five Florida Annual Conference churches. Tomek originally slated the team from Ocala First UMC. Lacking volunteers, he reached out to Florida UMVIM and received additional support from throughout the Florida Annual Conference. Members of the team have previously traveled to Tuscaloosa, Pascagoula, Ms. and Lake City, Fla.
Bossier City First UMC, led by Jim Maker, brought five team members including two pastors. The team was due to depart for Alabama in May. However, due to case management delays and a request by the Louisiana Annual Conference Bishop, they postponed their trip to September 2011. Team members have previously served with Katrina Relief, youth missions, in Grenada and Reynosa, Mexico.
The “Methobaps” Team brought 30 people under the leadership of Eric Long. Long, from Evans, Ga. gathered members of his team from six states: Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, West Virginia, Ohio and Illinois. His teammates previously served in similar disaster sites, and still work fervently with Katrina Relief. The team brought their specialty skills of roofing to Tuscaloosa and roofed several houses, one of which was Ms. Lake’s home.
“I am continually amazed at how God brings His people together to bring forth hope to a hurting world. We were privileged to have three work teams over the past couple of weeks to work on Ms. Lake's home. As each team worked, while made up of numerous people from all walks of life and from several different states, the body of Christ worked as one. As the Body of Christ moved, not only was a damaged home repaired, but a broken heart was mended as well,” said Rev. Rock Stone, Southwest Disaster Recovery District Coordinator.