Our missioners from left to right: James (Epiphany, Crestview) Jonathan, Connor, Mackenzie and Ashlyn (St.Simons)
No. We’re not talking about an Episcopal Weight Lifting Contest. We are referring to our recent mission to the Diocese of Texas sponsored program, Episcopal Strong, to help those in need as a result of the Hurricane Harvey damage. After a year, many people in the Houston area are still without a home due to the severe flooding and will face this situation for a considerable time to come. Our team was made up of two adults and five youth. We had hoped to have more; but didn’t get the particulars until late in the game. We found most youth by that time had already made other summer plans. But our group of seven strong went forth and did our very best.
On the drive over and back from Houston, we were hosted by Christ Church, Covington, LA and our old St. Simon’s friend Pierre (Pete) Saal in order to break up the long trip. We were introduced to some great New Orleans cuisine, including beignets. Thanks, Pete.
Our hosts in the Houston area were St. George Episcopal Church, Texas City, TX and the priest, Pastor Robyn and parishioners. They most graciously bedded down and fed 40 youth and 15 adults for a week. A shower van was loaned to us by the Church of Christ as well as parishioners who opened their homes for showers. Divided into six work teams, we set out on Monday (June 25) with two teams to each of three locations. Under very hot temperatures, the week was spent sheet rocking, taping and floating, texturing, roofing, painting, and even carrying out some plumbing and electric work. It was a great opportunity to learn a new skill. We had wonderful music and worship services every evening but also had time to play. One afternoon, mid-week, was spent at the Schlitterbahn Waterpark on Galveston Island. We also spent a late afternoon after work lending support to the Santa Fe community who met weekly to mourn the loss of eight students and two teachers in a school shooting on May 18. After work on Friday morning, we participated in the Blessings of the Backpacks, a food packing effort almost identical to our Feed the Need. Then it was on to a pizza dinner and a minor league ball game of the Houston Skeeters. We headed home on Saturday, June 30th.
While our diocese helped fund gasoline, the U-Haul rental, dinner out one night for our team and other travel expenses, each team member raised their own $350 for the Episcopal Strong Fee. Episcopal Strong is planned for as long as it is needed. The 2019 date is to be released by the end of this August and will be announced in the diocesan newsletter, Coastline; and St. Simon’s newsletter, Epistle. And most importantly, thank you all for your prayers and support.