April 25, 2019

Goeff Smith

Westminster Elder

A few weeks ago Laureen and I participated in one of the Second Wave Disaster Recovery trips to Wilmington, NC.  I was a bit apprehensive since this was the first time in my life I had gone on a trip like this.  Which, by the way, was my primary reason for going – it just seemed like something I should have done by now.  And by the time we returned home at the end of the week I strongly regretted not having done so at a much younger age.

Early on a Sunday morning, we packed ourselves into Susan Zamrowski’s SUV along with Anne and Tim Jaques for the nine hour drive down I-95.  This is where the fellowship portion of the trip began.  And it never really ended.  When we arrived at the First Presbyterian Church in Wilmington we were warmly greeted by a member of the church who escorted us to our accommodations for the next week.  While I didn’t earn any Marriott Bonvoy points for our stay, the bedrooms were large and comfortable, the kitchen was more than adequate, and the dining table was large enough to accommodate our entire group along with a few friends that we would meet along the way.  Shortly after we arrived we were joined by Larry and Nancy Krablin and then by the organizer of our journey, Bill Stewart, and his daughter Chase.  Now we were set for our week to begin.

Because I’m not particularly handy (and that’s an understatement), I was curious how the staff at the Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry (WARM) would try to make use of my time.  But before I could say “what’s a radial arm saw?” I found myself removing old flooring and installing new vinyl self-adhesive tiles like nobody’s business.  Who knew this was even possible?

Over the course of the next five days we made substantial improvements to two homes in the area.  While only a few of us knew much about carpentry, everyone had an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the work that we did.  And we all learned a thing or two along the way.

But the most rewarding part of the trip was the relationships we formed with our two homeowner hosts.  Yvette took a couple of days off from work to join our team and help with the work.  By Thursday she accepted our invitation to join us for dinner back at the church after which we ventured out to enjoy Wilmington’s historic retail district (feel free to ask about the karaoke when you see me in church).  And while the work on Laberta’s house was a bit more challenging, we learned to view some of the challenges of homeownership through a different lens than we were accustomed to.

So here’s my advice to anyone who has ever thought about going on a trip like this.  Do it.  Stop procrastinating.  Talk to a few of your friends and sign up as a group for one of the remaining trips this year.  You won’t regret it.

Interested in doing a Second Wave Disaster Recovery retreat? You can still register for one of our remaining trips. Click on the date to register: May 5-11, October 5-11October 13-19October 20-26.