Church groups help Rowan residents

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 10, 2011

By Susan Shinn
For The Salisbury Post
Saturday’s bitterly cold temperatures did not affect the enthusiasm of some 43 youth and 12 adult chaperones who gathered for an Impact[0xa0]Weekend.
The event was sponsored by First United Methodist Church China Grove, and included youth from First UMC, Salisbury, South River UMC,[0xa0] Woodleaf and McMannen UMC Durham. It was patterned after a district event that took place in the summer, in which youth made repairs for[0xa0] homeowners.
Over the weekend, six teams visited sites around Rowan County, doing[0xa0]everything from painting and weatherstripping to cleaning gutters, cleaning yards and the like.
One particularly ambitious team replaced the subflooring in the[0xa0] kitchen at the home of Jean Parrish. Water damage had ruined the[0xa0]floor joists, so the crew was working in the mud for most of the day.
“This weekend was full of so many God moments where the pieces of the[0xa0] puzzle came together in lots of ways,” Hope Oliphant, youth director at First UMC China Grove, who spearheaded the project, said Sunday[0xa0]afternoon. “So many people played a role in making this weekend[0xa0]happen, but I know that God guided all of it into fruition. I wish[0xa0] you could have heard the youth share their hearts in worship today.
“God’s love exploded all over our community this weekend.”
Patsy and Lester Caudill worked with a team to paint the hallway of a[0xa0]home on Queeners Road. The couple’s grandsons are members of the[0xa0]youth group at First UMC China Grove. Jared Seamon, Miranda Randall,[0xa0]Haleigh Silvers and Seth Blackwell alternated between painting in the narrow hallway and holding a lamp for one another by which they could see to work.
The group had spent the night at the church in China Grove, but[0xa0]seemed no worse for the wear.
“It was very hard to get to sleep,” Jared admitted.
The band Elisha from Lenoir played, and guest speaker was Josh[0xa0]Meadows of Charlotte, who urged the group to stand for Christ and[0xa0] serve in love, Oliphant said.
The purpose of the weekend, Seth explained, was “to help people out[0xa0]who don’t have as much as us and who aren’t as fortunate.”
“And can’t get it done themselves,” Miranda added.
“It helps us get closer because we’re all working together,” Haleigh[0xa0]said.
“The main point is that we’re doing it for a good cause and we’re doing it for God,” Miranda said.
Many of the youths had worked together last summer at the[0xa0]Salkehatchie Summer Project in Huntersville.
That included Sam Sykes of Durham.
“It’s good,” Sam said of project work. “It gets me[0xa0] out of the house and working with my hands, which I like.[0xa0] It’s good to see people from the summer and reconnect.”
Sam and Andrew Beck, who had done weatherstripping earlier in the day, soon joined the large group at work at the Parrish house.
Hope shuttled from site to site with volunteer Gayle Keiger. She[0xa0]slept in her office Friday night — or at least attempted to.
“I kept thinking about today,” she said. “It’s just been so exciting.”
There was certainly plenty of excitement to go around.
Visitors to the Parrish house could hear the sounds of hammering and[0xa0] sawing. In the back yard, shiny aluminum sawhorses were stacked with new joists.
“C’mon in. It’s a big step,” said Frank Greene, holding out a hand as he stood in the kitchen. The floor was completely gone.
“We had to take it all the way down,” Frank said, as high school boys[0xa0]scurried around him.
“This is a big job,” he admitted, but the crew hoped to have the[0xa0]subfloor replaced by the end of the day. He said the adults would[0xa0] stay late if necessary to get the job done.
Meanwhile, Sharon Hilliard of Durham was supervising the paint crew[0xa0]in the den, which included T.J. Bell, Michaela Teeter, Joseph Mitchem, Hannah Leonard of First UMC China Grove and Josh Smith of First UMC Salisbury.
“People have helped me and so I am returning the favor,” said Josh, who had paint on his face.
Hannah was also part of the Salkehatchie group.
“It’s kind of cool to be able to do it with people who are local,” said[0xa0]Hannah, who also had paint on her face and in her hair.
Meanwhile, Jean Parrish, the homeowner, waited in her bedroom, anxious to see the progress. She has been diagnosed with COPD and[0xa0]emphysema, and has not been able to use her kitchen in a while.
“It’s great,” Jean said of the volunteer work. “Maybe they’ll let me[0xa0]get in there and cook.”
Her son, Bill, who was there with several of his children, said his[0xa0]mother had always been a go-getter.
“My kids have been on mission trips,” he said. “That’s neat for us to see this mission work come home.”
Bill, who does repair work himself, estimated the thousands of dollars of work that was going into his mother’s kitchen.
“It’s not the money,” Jean said. “It’s a blessing.”
Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.