(Bradni Belcher) - Fall Break at Martin Methodist means many things to many different folks but to some students, staff and faculty it means an opportunity to serve God and God’s creation. For seven students, a faculty member and staff member it meant traveling to Pennington, Alabama to assist with rebuilding homes destroyed by the 2012 tornados. Using the UM connectional system the Disaster Relief coordinator for Alabama-West Florida Conference made the local arrangements for the nine folks from Martin. Their task for three and half days was to mud, sand, and caulk a house that was being constructed for a gentleman by the name of Tyrone.
When the team arrived at Tyrone’s home, we couldn’t believe our eyes. On the left side of the property was a three bedroom house under construction. On the right side of the property stood a trailer with massive dents where it had been picked up by a tornado, bent in several places, and placed back on the ground. This trailer was condemned from the damage; however, it is still Tyrone’s home until all construction is completed on the new house.
For the next three days, the team laid spackle on the dry wall, let it dry, sanded it down, and the repeated the process until everything was even. By the third day, the work became very monotonous and we became a little discouraged as we realized that spackling and sanding the dry wall, as well as caulking the siding, would be all that our team would accomplish. We all thought that we were going to be making a huge difference on this house, but we soon realized that the spackling process took longer than expected. Nonetheless, Tyrone greatly appreciated the work because his new home was one step closer to being finished.
Unfortunately, we learned that Tyrone’s home may not get finished as cold weather approaches. Some of the teams from Mississippi that had been traveling to Pennington to offer their time and talents have been redirected because of Hurricane Isaac to initiate relief efforts in their home towns. We took this information to heart and have returned to campus brainstorming fundraising ideas to help get Tyrone’s house finished.
All in all, this was a very heart breaking, heartwarming, and heart fulfilling fall break trip. I learned so much about all that God can do just through a simple task of laying on dry wall mud and then taking it off. However, I urge everyone to please continue and pray for Tyrone and all people who may be affected by natural disasters.