| At top, students enjoy a break while on their Fall Break mission trip. Shown, from left to right, are freshman Craig Campbell, sophomore Kaylin Yon, sophomore Shana Christian, Grace (McBrayer) Kaufman, staff adviser on the trip, sophomore Libby Ellis, and sophomore Nicco Ravenna. Sophomore Jacob Cross is not pictured. Above is one of the houses that they helped to restore.|
Every morning, before the break of dawn, a man rises. He wakes and
drives two-and-a-half hours to the small town of Piedmont, Mo., to
rebuild houses destroyed by flooding. A job that is not even his own to
do, but every morning he rises just the same. Now, time is running
A group of six Huntington University students traveled to
Piedmont from Oct. 11-15 to work with World Renew Disaster Response to
provide the region with disaster relief efforts after a 2008 flood
decimated the town.
The Fall Break trip to the town of fewer than 2,000 residents was led by Friesen Center volunteer coordinator, Jacob Cross, and Grace (McBrayer) Kaufman, director of volunteer service and outreach ministry.
morning, the team woke and met the worker at the construction site.
This man who drove such a long way to do this work — only introduced to
the team as Billy — helped the team become a force for good that
Piedmont would not soon forget.
“Billy wasn’t even supposed to
be working on the houses. He was only supposed to direct us, but he has
been working on the houses because of a lack of volunteers,” Cross said.
“Billy said that the houses needed to be done soon to meet a deadline,
and they wouldn’t have been finished in time if we didn’t come. He told
us that we were a godsend and arrived at the perfect time.”
days were spent leveling and evening out landscapes as well as
installing insulation, painting, digging holes for plumbing and cleaning
wreckage from the destroyed houses. A total of 140 hours were spent by
the team throughout the week. Each night, the team would close the day
with reflection and a time of devotionals.
“It really put in
perspective why we were there doing the work we were doing,” said
freshman Craig Campbell, a team member on the trip. “It really helped to
see how we were glorifying God doing something even in a small town.”
is located at the base of the Ozark Foothills in Missouri, and when the
nearby hills and mountains experience rain, the town does as well.
Flooding is a notorious foe to this region. Being so sparsely populated,
the area is hardly even considered for disaster relief efforts. But for
Billy and the HU students, that made this location even more special.
was the first Fall Break trip for the newly named Friesen Center for
Volunteer Services. Though small in participants and location size, the
journey left a big impact for those who now have houses to call home
after two years. After so much hard work, Billy’s project has been
finished, and the town of Piedmont will never be the same.
was proud to witness these students do some of the hardest and dirtiest
work I’ve seen our volunteers ever be asked to do on any trip,” Kaufman
said. “Advising these trips continues to be the best part of my job.”