R3SM welcomes out-of-state volunteers "blessed" to pitch in on P - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

R3SM welcomes out-of-state volunteers "blessed" to pitch in on Petal tornado recovery

(Source: WDAM Staff) (Source: WDAM Staff)
(Source: WDAM Staff) (Source: WDAM Staff)
(Source: WDAM Staff) (Source: WDAM Staff)
(Source: WDAM Staff) (Source: WDAM Staff)

Recover, Build, Restore Southeast Mississippi (R3SM) started the month of October off with a bang. That’s banging nails and laying framework. It’s for the rebuild of homes across Petal as the road to recovery from January’s tornado continues.

This week, there were organizations in the Pine Belt from around the country. In your good news,  WDAM caught up with volunteers from one project who say they are blessed by restoring what the community has lost.

“What are we doing here? We’re doing God’s work,” said Glen MacPherson, a volunteer with E-town Mission from Elizabethtown, Kentucky. 

God’s work is why volunteers from Carterville Baptist Church and E-town Mission team woke up early all this week to lay the foundation for new beginnings.

“Every time we go, we’re blessed," MacPherson said. "We bring blessings to people, but we are blessed ourselves.”

There was laughter and joy while the teams shoveled, painted and sweated together on Byrd Street in Petal all week.   

"Well, you get to know people from all different parts on this country and build relationships with people you otherwise you would never know," said John Woods, a volunteer with Carterville Baptist Church. 

An R3SM representative said its been a busy month as these repairs continue. Mission teams from all over the country set out to get a kick start on building homes destroyed by a disaster that feels far in our rear-view.  The loss is still fresh for those left without homes. 

“I met Mr. Brown yesterday and I can see that he’s hurting and needs help, and we’re going to help him as much as we can,” MacPherson said. 

"I think that goes back to what’s happening in Florida, what’s happening in Texas, where people care about one another and are willing to donate time and effort to help get back in business," Woods said. 

McPherson said though the E-town Mission Team volunteers from city to city for short periods of time, they leave every time with a sense of fulfillment.   

He spoke about a woman who had lost faith after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and took everything she owned.  

“When we left that place, we had renewed her faith in God," MacPherson said. "She came to a dinner what we call last supper on a Friday night, and she said, I just want you to know you’ve renewed my faith in God."

It’s all hands on deck as R3SM and volunteer groups try to get families back in their homes just in time for Thanksgiving. The owners are already thankful for the time and effort put in by strangers on a mission. 

“She comes by every once in a while, and thanks us and thanks us,” Woods said. 

It’s a long process, but people of faith from all over are putting in the work nail by nail. 

"God just provides us with the people that we need," MacPherson said. "If we need someone special, he brings them to us. He’s a provider."

Along with all of the Pine Belt churches volunteering this week, Petal had visitors this week from Elizabethtown, Kentucky; St. Cloud Presbyterian Church out of Minnesota; and the Mennonite Disaster Service.   

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