Wildfire Recovery Mission – Middletown, California, November 2018
The devastation of wildfires is awful. Everything is in ashes. Lives shattered. Lives lost. Whole communities gone. The so-called Valley Fire that roared through Middletown, California in the Fall of 2015 was no exception. 76,000 acres burned. 1500 homes and businesses destroyed. Thankfully, only four people died.
We were blessed to be one of the many volunteer teams to go help with the recovery. Our mission was to assist with rebuilding homes. We were hosted by a local organization, Hope City, to arrange the work. They also provided room and board at dorm they built. Hope City screens the clients for help and raises the money for materials and supplies. They partner with the local faith communities and other groups to make this happen.
Our team of nineteen included participants from Asbury UMC in Livermore, Lynnewood UMC in Pleasanton, San Ramon Valley UMC in Alamo and the St. Helena UMC. We worked on three homes doing painting, plumbing, electrical and foundation construction. While the work was interesting, it is getting to know our clients that is most rewarding. We listen to their stories. We get to know their challenges. We affirm their hope.
Among our clients was Mickie and his family. He is disabled by a stroke and a muscular disease. He, his adult daughter and her kids live in a ragtag combo of RV’s, mobile homes and sheds; essentially camping out, for the last three years, on the property where his home once stood. We also worked for two other deserving clients, somewhat reclusive, as many “end of the roaders” are.
After a full day’s work, a meaningful part of the mission experience is to relax and share time together.
We always have a short group time in the evening for a devotional moment and to reflect on what we are doing.
We had great meals, provided by Ruth, our faithful cook from Minnesota.
It is such a privilege to live our faith by serving others with love on these trips. There is something so rewarding about bringing hope to others. We are grateful for the time, the talent and the resources to do so.
Steve Elliott, Roger Everett, Steve Wilson, Coleman Johnson, Kerry Davis, Ruth Coffing, Roger Grimm, Steve Collup, Mary Ellen Huey, Doug Huey, Bob Hoffman, Dick Crawford, Larry Suter, Burt Rodgers, Cynthia DeLand, Burke Owens, Kevin Leininger, Dawn Leininger and Ron Logan.