Partnering with CBF, some of our FBC members are in Trenton, NC Friday, November 30 – Friday, December 7. Trenton, NC, population 310, is a rural community outside of New Bern that experienced severe Florence flooding with more than 90 percent of homes, businesses and churches damaged. Trenton has received very little recovery assistance so far. Follow along with the team that is in Trenton with some updates!
Last Day (for now) by Margaret Crawford
Today, Luther left us the means for us all to cook our own breakfast. Marie helped him pack up his kitchen supplies and all pitched in to load them on his truck. He deserves a nice few days for some R&R! Daynette made the comment that FBCGSO has our act together like no other – the only resident chef she’s seen! Phil said he’d never been on a working trip and come home having gained weight! Fred, Kelly, Will and Phil worked inside today to remove pieces of sheetrock that were left, and scraped glue off studs. They also put the skirting back on the rear of the house. Margaret finished vacuuming floor with the shop vac and cleaning up the newly-made mess from the men’s work.
We had a wonderful visit from Ms. Nancy, the homeowner, who described her experience with the flooding. She also tried out her new front steps (very impressed at how solid they were!) and had a look at what we’d accomplished inside. She expressed her deepest gratitude more than once and invited us to return any time either before or after she moves back in along with her brother and sister. Daynette’s goal is the end of January! We’re all hopeful for another opportunity to come back to help again!
Day 5 by Margaret Crawford
Today we said goodbye to Amy, Robert, Pat and Doug but are delighted that Fred and Marie Binder came to join us! Our resident chef (Luther) cooked a delicious breakfast to start the day off right.
The “three musketeers” (Kelly, Phil and Will) built an awesome set of new, safe and stable front steps – Harold saw Ms. Nancy, the homeowner, drive by and said we should have seen the smile on her face! Inside, Harold, Pat and Fred worked to file off remains of sheetrock on studs and Margaret swept up our work making clouds of dust. This afternoon, we shop-vacuumed debris off floors – no listening to Christmas carols over that sound! Tomorrow we hope to finish working inside to clear studs and vacuum one last layer (hopefully) of floor debris.
Tonight our guest for dinner was Daynette Snead with CBF Disaster Relief and together, Luther and Marie made another wonderful meal for us all: homemade spaghetti, salad, and freshly-baked homemade sourdough bread (made today!) with cherry cobbler to complete our feast!!
Tuesday was another great day of progress. Phil Barbee and Will and Margaret Crawford joined us! We were able to finish the insulation under the house and all of the sheetrock, staples, and nails have been removed! We also were able to finally disconnect and remove the bathtub and second toilet… though we found Doug sitting down on the job.
It was another long day of work and Amy may have forced us to listen to some Christmas music, but the images of Luther’s fresh halibut dinner with homemade coleslaw and sautéed spinach danced in our heads as motivation and made the Christmas music more tolerable. Chef Luther did not disappoint and our new friend Phil from FBC New Bern joined us for dinner and brought dessert! Phil has been working with us and said it was so encouraging that we would still send volunteers even after others have stopped coming.
Amy was invited to be a part of a CBF-sponsored gathering of Jones County pastors at the Christian Faith Assembly in Trenton to discuss post-disaster grief counseling training for congregational leaders and to encourage each other in shared ministry. This community is blessed with spiritual leaders willing to engage together in healing their community and hopefully this will be the first of many meetings of the pastors coming together.
Pray for these pastors as they rebuild their own homes, churches, AND minister to all those who are struggling with resources and trying to do the same thing. The journey will be long but God continues to send reminders of hope and God’s presence with them. The rainbow that appeared over Trenton after the Christmas parade was a meaningful blessing for all of them and the parade itself was a welcome reminder of what life was like before the storm.
Monday was a productive day and we were happy to have a few new team members joining us. Kelly Brame, Doug Vancil and Amy Grizzle Kane added to our team on Monday.
Today’s jobs included removing more staples and debris to create a fresh palate for more drywall, along with removing a two showers and a toilet. It is tedious, slow, work but every little bit makes progress toward getting someone re-homed.
This afternoon some in our group geared up almost like astronauts to help install fiberglass insulation under the home. We all finished the day dirty and hungry. Showers helped the dirt and Luther Yaun prepared another delicious dinner for us: pork chops and baked potatoes complete with delicious dessert and coffee.
After finishing at the work site, we walked the Haiti neighborhood where we are working in Trenton. We saw a cemetery where the community and churches had prioritized clean-up almost immediately after the storm. Together they cleaned tombstones and replaced flowers. It was now once again a beautiful place of rest and respect. The neighborhood continues to be lined with remnants of homes stacked in piles along the roads.
We talked about how acute the damage is when you’re present—much more so than even seeing it on tv. We learned that many in this community are sleeping elsewhere at night since their homes are uninhabitable, but they will still come by some during the day to simply be at the home they can’t live in.
After dinner tonight, several of us walked around downtown New Bern where we are staying at the First Baptist Church. It is a beautiful, historical downtown area…and we may have even found a local sweets store, the Cow Cafe. But we were supposed to keep that a secret.
We went to bed with thankful hearts that we were able to help share some goodness and light with Trenton today.
Today started after a well rested night. The only casualty from yesterday was Robert’s shoes, which ended up in the trash can. No worries, he brought five pairs of shoes with him on the trip.
Today’s task was pulling nails and staples so drywall can be installed. Much like yesterday, the task appeared daunting but working together (and with the right tools) we finished several rooms.
The afternoon proved to be fun as we participated in the annual Trenton Christmas Parade. Robert walked with Daynette and held the CBF Relief banner, Tom drove in the parade behind the Mayor of Trenton as Cynthia passed out candy from their sunroof and I handed out candy canes.
We’re sad to have to say goodbye to Tom and Cynthia but happy that Harold Knight has joined us for the remainder of our time in Trenton.
I’ve attached a picture of the rainbow which appeared after the parade. It reminds us that there’s hope and God is always with us.
Day 1 started bright and early today as we met Daynette at the American Legion Post at 8am. However, Robert wins the award for the earliest riser as he left Greensboro at 3:45am.
The work day started out quite daunting as we began to consolidate construction debris in the Haiti area of Trenton. However, with each wheel barrow load, we proved that teamwork is most effective in getting the job done. We were proud of the work accomplished today and feel that it helped to make the area more livable.
The residents of this community that we met were most appreciative of our being there. We were amazed at their positive attitudes in light of the disruption that Hurricane Florence has had on their lives. Seeing the condition of the homes in the neighborhood gave us a fresh perspective on the devastating impacts from the hurricane.
We are looking forward to working inside of our house tomorrow. Thanks to Tom and Cynthia for hosting us tonight at their place at the beach and to Luther for preparing a delicious dinner for us.