Starting my week in the mountains of Laurel Ridge, I drove many hours to end it on the beaches of Wilmington, North Carolina. I met up with Pastor Doug Rights and his team from King Moravian Church. We spent the night in Covenant Moravian Church before driving to our work site in the morning. The mission site, a church at the corner of Whitestocking Road and Whitestocking Road, had been flooded in the hurricanes that overtook the Carolina coasts last fall.
The mission site was run by Emelie Meyers of DARTILM. She started out the day by explaining to us that even though devastation has hit this community, they are still joyful and thankful for everyone who has come to help rebuild their community. Many people in the Whitestocking community are related or have been neighbors for their whole life. Rebuilding the community, starting with the church, gives them a place to socialize and worship together again.
In addition to the King Moravians, there was a group there from Kokomo, IN and a group of Moravians from Sturgeon Bay, WI. The 22 Moravians from Sturgeon Bay traveled 20 hours by bus to show up at 8am to the job site.
After brief introductions and a prayer, Emelie split us into groups among the church and houses in the area. I found myself with Weldon Harris and Tom Yarbrough, finishing putting down the subflooring in the church and beginning to frame the sanctuary. Tom and Weldon are long-time BWM volunteers with the carpentry experience to rebuild a church that has been flooded twice over.
By about 4 in the afternoon, the heat and the work of the day sent us back to Covenant Moravian for showers, dinner, and vespers. I am thankful for the time I spent in conversation with Pastor Matt Knapp and his youth that evening as we shared camp stories and our experiences growing up in the Moravian church.
The next day, we were really able to get at the framing project in the sanctuary. The subfloor was complete, and we had learned from a few mistakes regarding stud height, so we were able to get the frames up around the sanctuary with very little stress. For lunch, a member of the community bought us all food to thank us for our work, and we were thankful for a break from lunch meat sandwiches.
Instead of heading back to the church to shower, I made the five-hour drive back up the mountain to Laurel Ridge to finish out the week at Mission Camp. I would like to thank the congregations of Covenant Moravian, King Moravian, and Sturgeon Bay Moravian for the hospitality that their representatives showed me during my time in Wilmington. I encourage anyone who feels called to reach out to the BWM to discuss how they can help the Whitestocking Community. I ask that you keep Emelie Meyers and Weldon Harris in your prayers as they continue coordinating efforts to rebuild the community.