Our group of 8 volunteers safely travelled to Gulfport, Mississippi on Mon., Feb. 27. The following people are with me: T. R. Long, Lester Gaborik, Ron Coats, Beth Pye, Sherri Baeten, Milton Morgan and Stephen Howell. Dwayne Ladner is already here and will meet us tomorrow. We came to help New Evening Star Baptist Church in Gulfport as they finish repairing their sanctuary after it was gutted by rains in Hurricane Katrina. The church is located in the north part of Gulfport, several miles from the beach, but it still was flooded by the rains, and we noticed many, many homes in the neighborhood with tarps still on their roofs and debris piled out by the streets in front of homes. It is a very economically-depressed neighborhood. Highway 49 in Gulfport is a bustling business area, with modern chain stores like Home Depot, Barnes & Noble, etc., but when we turned off Highway 49 into the neighborhood near the church, it was startling, like we had entered a different world. The church members met us when we arrived, and fed us a delicious home-cooked meal of chicken, catfish, beans, sweet potatoes, cornbread, peach cobbler, etc. . A lot of the members were there working on the building. It is a small church building, but they have done a nice job trying to restore it. I will try to post pictures tomorrow.
Their insurance paid to have a contractor put up the sheetrock already, and our job is to paint it. However, when we arrived, they told us that the person who did their sheetrock did a poor job. T. R. Long observed it and agreed that the sheetrock needed touching up before we paint. So he and I made a trip to Lowe's and bought supplies and tomorrow we will be sanding sheetrock and caulking, etc. to fix the poor work that was done earlier. Then we should begin putting on primer and the first coat.
I'm staying at the home of Rev. Charles Harrison, the pastor, who is an old friend of mine whom I've known for 10 years.
More updates tomorrow, perhaps with pictures.