WILMINGTON — This summer, the Westover Church High School Ministry traveled to Wilmington with 200 students and volunteers for our annual mission trip called Project Serve.
All we knew before the week began was that we were going to be helping people who were affected when Hurricane Florence hit last September. I had no idea how much the people in Wilmington were still struggling.
On Sunday, June 23, we left our church with 18 15-passenger vans full of excited students ready to see what was in store for us this week. Each student was placed in a work group of around 10 students and two adult volunteers. We would be going to different work sites throughout the week helping people with various needs such as yard work and painting.
One unique factor to our trip was that the students were not allowed to bring any technology. We were completely unplugged, allowing us to fully connect with the people around us.
On the first day in Wilmington my group learned that we were going to be helping a man put up drywall in his house. His house had been completely flooded by the hurricane. We learned that this man had almost committed suicide because of some devastating things that had happened, including his house being demolished.
Right before he was going to take his life, his phone rang and he answered to find that a hurricane relief program in Wilmington wanted to help him in any way they could. We got to be a part of this man’s life by putting up drywall in his house, cleaning his yard, and having personal conversations with him.
We also got the opportunity to meet a sweet lady who had been through a lot because of the hurricane. She was living by herself and her house was completely destroyed when the hurricane hit. She still had a lot of work that needed to be done.
She had been praying to God because she knew she wasn’t going to be able to do it on her own. Five minutes later my work group was knocking on her door asking her how we could help her. For the next two days, we painted her house and completely cleared her yard of the mess that the hurricane left behind.
It was a very cool experience to directly see how we were an answer to this woman’s prayers. She continued to tell us how much of an impact we had made on her life throughout the days we were there, but I think everyone who worked there would agree that she had a bigger impact on ours.
This trip was a great opportunity to see and truly understand how this hurricane affected so many lives and how God can use even the worst of situations to bring people closer to him. I know that this was an experience I will never forget and I am excited to go to Project Serve next summer.