Pastor Peter Smith of Hope Valley Community Church in Red Hill, Pennsylvania, has now returned from leading a multi-church relief team to the hurricane region. Here is his wrapup report:
Thanks so much for your prayers—they made a huge difference. We could feel the prayers covering us and protecting us every day.
It is hard to believe that it has almost been a week since we have returned from Gulfport, MS. Please be in prayer that God will stir the hearts of many others from Hope Valley and other churches to also step out and allow God to use them.
The Willow Valley Grace Brethren Church is sending a mission team of 13 people to Gulfport, MS (to Crosspoint Church) under the leadership of Youth Pastor Shannon Hollinger. They left this morning.
Team Ministry Update:
1. We were able to help 25-35 families in a big way and another 10-20 in smaller ways. We did lots of chainsaw work and clearing debris. We also did roof work. We cleaned some homes. We ripped out sheetrock in homes. We did a lot of work with a bobcat tractor.
2. We had people on the team from the Dillsburg, GBC; Myerstown GBC; Richmond, VA GBC and Hope Valley Community Church. Also, we had people from the Community Bible Fellowship Church in Red Hill, PA. We thank them for providing two 15 passenger vans for us to use as well.
3. We gave out all the food tubs that we brought with us. We prayed with a number of the families and ministered to them.
4. We gave out mold cleaning equipment and respirators to families.
5. We left equipment and supplies at the Crosspoint Church for future teams to use.
6. God kept us safe; which was a small miracle.
7. God helped us raise over $12,500. Praise the Lord! It is possible that some money may be used to send a second team from this area. Thank you to all the churches and individuals that made donations. The hope that we brought to these people is difficult to put into words.
8. $1,000 will go toward the Crosspoint Church to cover ongoing church expenses related to hosting teams; such as the electric bill! The remainder will likely go toward the Crosspoint Church; Disaster Relief Fund. This money will be used by the Crosspoint Church to purchase needed building materials to help needy families.
9. Our total expenses are still not finalized but will probably be between $5,000 and $6,500. This is lower than I had estimated, which is great. Many people donated items that we would have otherwise had to purchase, including some of the gasoline. Also, the New Beginnings Grace Brethren Church of Myerstown paid for all the gas for the RV. Praise the Lord for low gas prices while we were down there.
10. We had some vehicle problems on the way home. The Jim Landis Heating company donated a van for us to use. The van problem was diagnosed by a local garage since we returned as having a bad fuel filter. It is now running great again. Praise the Lord it was not the transmission!
11. The Hope Grace Brethren Church of Dillsburg, PA, is also sending two new teams down to Crosspoint Church. The two-week period runs from October 29 to November 13. People can go for just one of the two weeks or for both weeks. Let me know if you know of anyone who might be interested in going.
12. Hope Valley Community Church is setting up 6 to 7 pages of information on our church website to help other churches prepare teams to go to Gulfport. We will also be posting lots of digital photos from our trip on the website. Some pages of the website are done already. www.hopevalleychurch.org