Mission Trip to Mississippi’s Gulf Coast

On a hot, July Saturday evening, 8 people met at Gulfport, MS.  Some arrived via plane, while others traveled to the Gulf Coast in the LTWM van.  They congregated in Mississippi for one purpose-to touch significantly people in churches that are still recovering from the 2006 Hurricane Katrina.  When the final of the 8 departed the Gulfport Airport early Monday morning, August 4, LTWM sensed it had been an instrument that the King used to remind some of His children that they are loved.

Those who made up the MISSION TEAM included:  Heather and Jenny Kibbey; Becky Eichorn; Mandy, Jami and Kendal Litzke; Joel Herr; and Bob Flint.  What they discovered is that opening a can of paint can result in the opening of hearts.  To read about some of the details of what occurred in Gulfport, Pascagoula, and Hattiesburg, read the other articles below. 

Significant ministry is ALWAYS A PARTNERSHIP.  To all of you who invested in this mission effort by praying and donating money, the 8 LTWM MISSION TEAM members say THANK YOU!

GULFPORT, MS
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Our new friends, Pastor Walt and Donna Thompson, saw to it that all 4 days with them were filled with laughter, tears of joy and shared sorrow.  Though the hours together were limited, those times of experiencing Christ’s love quickly melt hearts into one.

For us Northerners, the morning and afternoon work projects were hot and steamy!  The Gulfport Nazarene Church was anticipating the opening of the new facility on August 16-17, so the LTWM team assisted with some of the final details.  Weeding flowerbeds, setting posts for signs, cleaning, and moving furniture can be quite rewarding. 

The daytime labors were not limited to facilities.  There was also the investment in people.  Publicity materials about Gulfport Nazarene’s re-opening were distributed in 5 housing developments within 2 miles of the church’s facility.  800-900 homes were offered invitations to make the church their home.

Each evening was a time of re-fueling, physically and spiritually.  ALIVE’s music ministry and Bob’s teaching of the Word pointed us to the reality that God holds all of us in His hands.  Before LTWM parted early Wednesday afternoon, the team and the Thompsons gathered for a time of prayer-precious minutes containing expressions of praise for the Kingdom-building opportunities and asking the Father to use the efforts to accomplish His work His way.

 

Pascagoula, MS
Pastor Myron Hairston, a one-of-a-kind guy, touched the LTWM team deeply.  Spending two days with him, the 8 of us understood why God had placed this joy-filled servant at this Church of the Nazarene.  The Pascagoula congregation knew from a first-hand experience what wind-driven seawaters can do to property.  
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The Wednesday evening gathering was filled with the presence of the Spirit.  Worshiping in song and listening to the preached Word led to the people of God reflecting on what He has done, celebrating for who He currently is, and anticipating how He will demonstrate His power in the future.  

Thursday had a humbling surprise for the mission team.  Simple, every day responsibilities can be a blessing to some.  In Christ’s Kingdom, painting trim, cleaning, and yard work are much more than “something to do.”  They are an avenue for making an eternal investment.

 

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Pastor Kermit Hudson and the believers of 1st Church of the Nazarene warmly opened their doors to the LTWM team on Sunday morning.  A full week of work and worship in Mississippi came to a completion as the North and the South gathered in the name of Jesus.

Young and old experienced unity of Spirit as the “new songs”, led by the youth were voiced.  The togetherness of the Cross was demonstrated as the “old hymns” were then lifted in praise.  The testimony of one following the Christ-centered gathering – “we felt such a refreshing Spirit today!”

It’s true- Christ breaks down all barriers that could divide (Ephesians 2:14-16). 
North and South – NO!
Young and Old – NO!
Denomination and Independent – NO!
Peace and Joy in Christ - YES!