I am very proud of the group of young adults, students and adult leaders who took the risk of going to Duluth for a week to help with flood recovery. Exactly one year ago, Duluth was devastated by intense flooding. While the waters rose for only a day, the destruction left behind will take years to fix.
We saw the effects of the flooding in the homes and campground we worked at and in the roads that we traveled. The potholes and general disintegration of the road system was amazing to experience.
We worked for the week with a team of youth and adults from Detroit Lakes UMC and a two person group from Stillwater. We were served by awesome cooks Dennis and Mary Harcey from Stillwater UMC who fed us like the workers we were. Well seasoned, hearty and satisfying meals at breakfast and dinner were very much welcomed and appreciated.
Servant Hearts Ministry also provided a camp dean, AJ Ozane, and three counselors: Ross, Morgan and Dani. They were ‘in charge’ of work sites and equipment. Because they were fairly new at this task we learned by the end of the week to rely on the expertise of others and ask for help as needed.
In order to do the work, we split into three teams. Chatfield UMC people were spread out among the teams. Holy Molders, Jalapenos, and Girl Power +one.
Our jobs were varied. We were told that we were one of the first volunteer groups of the summer so the organization: Flood Homes with Hope, was still trying to figure out how to work with volunteers. We encountered the sort of frustration that is typical of trips in developing countries, i.e. lack of organization, communication and supplies.
In spite of this, we were able to get some amazing work done and meet some amazing people who needed our help.
We cleaned mold from the walls of the basements of 3-4 homes. We painted sealant on two of them. We did yard work for a member of the church we were staying at. (we were housed at Lester Park UMC, the church with the most stairs of any we have ever encountered) We rejected the work site at one home because the atmosphere was not acceptable and the work was different than we were told. We didn’t finish another site because the basement needed more work than we were able to give it.
At one of the homes the owner told us that her depression kept her from going down into her basement to see the damage. Our help meant that she could face the next steps in her recovery from the flood.
At the campground we saw the power of the flood. The St. Louis River ran right through the edge of the campground sweeping away a camper so that the only thing left was the wheels and a flat bed. We used what remained as a trailer to haul the small pieces of wood that collected on the rim of the island. We used a much larger trailer to haul away massive logs. We made good progress but there is much more to be done.
Another part of the group cleaned out an historic log shack that the owner is hoping to restore.
While at the campground we heard of the early slate industry that began there and a terrible accident involved dynamite in the late 1880’s.
I was very proud of my group. They entered into all of the week’s activities and work with enthusiasm and good will. They saw the needs of the area and responded to them. They were flexible in more ways than I thought possible. And they truly embodied the meaning of teamwork.
But most of all they saw what they were doing as a ministry of God’s work in the world.
They were able to see the need for healing in this broken world and were able to see the ways in which God could use them as healers.
The fruit of Silence is prayer. The fruit of Prayer is faith.
The fruit of Faith is love. The fruit of Love is service.
The fruit of Service is peace. ~~Mother Teresa
May it continue to be so in our lives.