Relief Trip to Mississippi

By: Narina Crain
By: Narina Crain

The path of destruction left by hurricane Katrina can still be seen today. Many homes and businesses blown over by fierce winds still sit in shambles. But a team of 36 volunteers from the stateline will soon rebuild many structures for residents in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

"We want to show them even though it's been six or seven months, they're not forgotten," says Reverend Dick Wisdom, senior pastor of Christ United Methodist Church.

This isn't the first team from Christ UMC in Rockford to rebuild walls and hope in Mississippi. The first group went two weeks after hurricane Katrina hit last fall.

"We responded not just by removing trees from their yards or tarring roofs but meeting some other needs... some emotional, some spiritual and physical needs as well," says Laura Widstrom, a co-organizer of the trip.

It was a life changing experience for the volunteers, and Reverend Wisdom. He has a new take on life since suffering from a heart attack on the road home from Mississippi.

"I don't take life at all for granted. I've been given an opportunity to spend more time in this loving congregation," says Wisdom.
Reverend Wisdom won't go along on this trip. And like the last journey....the team doesn't know what to expect.

"We may or may not be working with residents, we may be working on empty buildings and we don't know who we'll be in contact with," says Widstrom.

One thing that remains the same is the spirit of the volunteers.

"It feels like the most natural thing to go. There isn't a question of course we would go," says Widstrom.

There is still a significant need for their help. But this time they won't need to bring as many supplies. Much of the community is back up and running.

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