The Mission to Mississippi consists of the work of several churches in this area.
We work together to raise money, and then we travel to Greenville, Miss. where we work to repair homes for people who do not have the knowledge or the resources to do those needed repairs on their own.
The homeowners are expected to help as they can with the repairs. Most of them are elderly and not able to do anything to help, but they have family who live with them who do help with the work.
We work together, not only to provide for the needs of the family, but, in the process, we build relationships together, growing both of our faith in Christ and building a lasting bond.
This is a project that started many years ago when a Methodist Pastor from Oaks, N.D. was sent to Greenville, Miss. to help poor black people get registered to vote in the early 1960s. He saw a huge need for simple repairs to be done to homes. He went back to his congregation and convinced some people to join him on a mission trip.
They drove to Greenville and stayed at a Methodist church and then spent $200 total on simple repairs and showed the people how to repair a screen door, tighten cupboard doors – simple things that make a huge difference in the function of a home.
Over the years the needs have grown, the projects have grown and the list continues to get bigger and longer. The names of people come to us as we work on current projects in the neighborhoods.
Then before we go each year there are many prayers said, and much debate is held over whose home can be repaired and who is most in need of the work. It is a very difficult decision, and we really rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us to the home where God wants us to work.
This process is led by the team from Revel’s United Methodist, and we really try to look at the projects as possibilities, especially when we would probably tear the home down and start over here.
We have to remember that these are people’s homes, and they have sentimental attachments to the homes. Families pass them down to children and grandchildren.
The group is still working with Revel’s United Methodist Church, and they continue to house our groups in their church facility. They have acquired the property around the church and have begun a new project where they hope to house more groups to come from different areas to help more and more families.
There are 53 homes on the list waiting for work to be done on their homes. The prayers and the dreams are to have groups going at many different times of the year, so that we don’t just leave families hanging.
Accounts are open at the Jeffers State Bank and at the First Security Bank of Lamberton and Storden. Those accounts can take deposits for the Mission to Mississippi fund for those who feel moved by the work of this group.
The next trip will be in 2019, if you would like more information about the mission, or if you would be interested in going on a trip check with area pastors Juanita Parker, Mike Stangeland, Chuck Swanson or Dave Danner or lead carpenter Paul Huls of Jeffers.
– Juanita Harberts serves as the pastor for the Redwood Central Lutheran parish with congregations in Milroy, Wabasso, Lucan and Sundown Township.