Repairing homes … and building relationships

June 06, 2019
About 55 men and women from the Kentucky Annual Conference joined Bishop Leonard Fairley on a mission trip to North Carolina from May 13-17 to help people impacted by Hurricane Florence last September.

The mission trip, which included members of the bishop’s Extended Cabinet, was organized through the Laurinburg-based agency Partners in Ministry, which helps battle poverty in the region. The bishop grew up in Laurinburg.

But he said the trip was more than just structural repairs. It was about developing relationships with the other people on the team and also with the residents.

“The people kept telling us, ‘Just your presence here is meaningful,’” Fairley said. He also said he personally was “very blessed with the devotions from our team.”

He also got to show people around Laurinburg and talk about his childhood.

The weather was good while they were there – it wasn’t too hot, he said.  Which was a good thing since their work was outside and included roofing.

Rev. Gary Baker of Prairie Village UMC in Louisville was the logistics coordinator for the trip.

Rev. Eric Bryant, director of New Church Development and a member of the Cabinet, said he really enjoyed meeting and working with lay people from churches around the Conference.

“Work teams for the various sites were created the evening before, and it was wonderful to experience how a group of people who may not have known each other before the trip worked so well together!” Bryant said.

Hurricane Florence caused catastrophic flooding throughout the Carolinas. At least 53 deaths were attributed to the Category 4 storm.

View our photo gallery from the North Carolina mission trip.