Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Service Opportunity In Minot

Every so often we have an opportunity to be a part of something that REALLY makes you feel good. Last weekend Allan and I had a chance to go to Minot to prepare food for the men from our Stake who were there to help with the clean up from the recent flooding. It was such a privilege for us to offer a small service. I am so grateful to these men who gave their time and their energy to be there.

I'd like to explain how this all came to happen. A few weeks ago Allan got a call regarding help needed in Minot. He put a note out to all the Bishops/Branch Presidents telling them there was a great need for help. Some 4,000 homes had been affected by the recent flooding. The first weekend was our big Service Project where we had spent the week distributing door hangers requesting food for our local food bank, so the members in the city were not able to go. (About 25 men from our outlying ward and branches did go down and serve.

We decided that the next week we would head down to Minot. Many of the men who were there to help camped on the Church property. Finding a hotel was a little harder than I thought it would be, but I was very grateful when I finally found one in town.

We spent a lot of time that week talking on the phone and getting organized for the trip--Allan had been in Calgary on business that whole week. On Friday morning we headed out of town. A man in one of our outlying units was not able to go because he owns a bakery. He wanted to do something to help so he donated several loaves of bread. We stopped by his bakery on our way to the border. Unfortunately, when we got off the highway, we found out the highway we thought would take us to his bakery was closed so we had to backtrack. It put us a little behind schedule, but all was fine.

We had visions of getting to the border and having to empty the van, but we were there about 30 seconds. (Frankly I think the guy had to use the facilities because he basically looked at our passports and then shoved them back at Allan and closed his booth and ran into the building ; )

Our 5 1/2 hour trip took us about 7 hours. We checked into our hotel and then headed to the Church. We were amazed at how organized everything was. We had an opportunity to visit with Bro. L who is in charge of

Allan in the command center.

A few pictures of the Cultural Hall which had all the supplies.

On Saturday morning we got over to the Church about 5 a.m. to get things set up for breakfast. Allan got the three camp stoves set up and there was a moment of panic there when he didn't think they were going to light. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when they did ; )

Saturday's breakfast was: French toast, apples, juice and water.It was great to know these men would not be heading out hungry.

We watched the groups load up their stuff and get ready to head out for the day's work.

Of course, when I saw these young men, I had to take a picture.

We have such great men.

After we got everything cleaned up we headed back to the grocery store to get more things and then went to the hotel to prepare lunches. We had our list of addresses where the lunches were to be delivered. We made turkey sandwiches--figured we'd give each man 2 sandwiches. Now let me add that we have a family divided--some like Miracle Whip and some mayonnaise. Because of this problem, I figured I would make 1/2 of the sandwiches with Miracle Whip and half with mayonnaise. Each bag would have one of each. That way they would all be 50% happy ; ) One of the sweet sisters in our Ward wanted to do something to help so she sent muffins and cookies with her husband. So each lunch also included muffins and cookies as well as a Rice Krispie square, potato chips, an apple, water, and juice.

We then went out and delivered. As Allan and i delivered them we were in tears when we saw the devastation. You would see piles and piles of "stuff" in front of each house. How could you not be touched when you realized this was everything from their house including their treasures.

This is a picture that shows what the inside of the homes would look like. They basically gutted them. These men worked so hard. But I couldn't help but think about the homeowners. Imagine this is what you had to do night after night, day after day, week after week. You would go to work and then come home and have to do this.

When the men got back Saturday night we had prepared ham, fried tator tots, and green beans. I think they enjoyed all of it, but their faces really lit up when we gave them ice cream sandwiches. We had kept them nice and cold. At one point they started to thaw and I was able to run them into the kitchen and use the freezer there.

Sunday morning was such a treat. After we served pancakes and bananas for breakfast there was a Sacrament Meeting at 7:00. I have never had the opportunity to be in the MTC with just missionaries but that's where I felt I was once the opening hymn began. The booming male voices sent chills up and down my spine. It was incredible. It was a wonderful meeting.

After the meeting the men headed out again. We delivered a lunch to each of them and then we headed home. Had a beautiful drive.

I am so grateful to belong to a Church that cares about the people--all people. This service was given to anyone--not just members of the Church. I am so impressed with all of the volunteers, but sure love and appreciate the men from our Stake.

The work here will continue for quite awhile. I hope Allan and I have an opportunity to go back again in the next couple of weeks.


ShEiLa said...

Now that IS a very SPECIAL project to be involved in. Nothing better than being able to help someone in need.


carolyne b said...

What a beautiful experience you and Allen had. I only found out about the Minot trip the day before. I feel the same way you do,service is a big part of the Gospel and its so nice to see when something needs to happen people step in to assist.

Heffalump said...

How devastating it must be for those people who lost so much. How wonderful that there are those that are willing to give service to help them out.

Lana said...

wow, that would be awesome!

Natalie said...

What a wonderful project. Thanks for all of your help too. I'm sure it was greatly appreciated.

I can't imagine such devastation.

Garden of Egan said...

That is so wonderful.
What a great opportunity.
I love the pictures, it is a wonderful organization to belong to.

It is heartbreaking to see the devastation, but I am sure those peoples lives were brightened so much because you were there.

Cherie said...

The devastation is heartbreaking. But how wonderful that you could be a part of this effort to help.
It looks so organized - I am really impressed.
You and your husband are true examples of loving and serving!

Connie said...

You were both angels to these men. The picture of the yards with all the belongings shows the devastation those people are going through.
What a blessing to have help.

Love those yellow helping hands shirts.

Valerie said...

What a great experience!! And one that will live in your mind forever. Thank you for taking your time to help these people! I know they appreciate it!