Hurricane Matthew Continues to Impact Lives

By Rev. Ash Welch*

The 10th Beatitude: “Blessed are the FLEXIBLE, for they shall BEND and NOT be Broken!” That was our motto during the Mid-Ohio District disaster relief trip to assist with the continuing recovery from Hurricane Matthew.

We had to be flexible with our departure: two flat tires and a dead battery before we left caused a slight shift in plans as we left with a team of six people for Tarboro, North Carolina. The area sustained a lot of damage last October from the former Category 5 hurricane.

Once we got on the road, the trip was excellent, perhaps the best this team leader has ever had, and I’ve been on about 20 mission trips.  Our work was toward the end of the “mudding out” second stage of healing for the area flooded by the Tar River after the storm surge and rains of Hurricane Matthew.

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We worked for a week on two manufactured homes and a church basement. The work involved removing flooring and insulation that was still water-logged months later, and pounding clean the stucco walls in a hall beneath the church. It was hard work for our small team, but each worked according to their ability and strength under the supervision of the UMCOR staff with the North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church.

On our trip we were blessed with amazement and amusement.  On our first day we saw a 1,000-pound pig named PIG-PIG, and mid-week we went to see the Whirligig Park in Wilson, North Carolina.  During our stay, St. John UMC housed us and fed us lunch and our district superintendent, the Rev. Karen Oehl, fed us gourmet suppers.

God blessed us, as we blessed others by being the hands and feet, and the heart and mind of Christ. And, we practiced flexibility!

*Rev. Ash Welch is chairperson of the Mid-Ohio District Mission Committee, and pastor of Galion St. Paul United Methodist Church.