|Mission team helps Native Americans on Gulf Coast|
Ray Oxindine (left) and Eddie Gibson build new cabinets for homeowner Donna Naquin (in background). A UMNS photo by Darlene Jacobs.
By United Methodist News Service
Jan. 25, 2007
Native American communities in Louisiana and Mississippi still reeling from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita received a third visit by a United Methodist Native American disaster relief team.
"It's a God thing that they are willing to come to our community," said the Rev. Kirby Verret, pastor of Clanton Chapel United Methodist Church in Dulac, La.
A 10-member team from the Southeast Jurisdiction celebrated the New Year with their native brothers and sisters from Dec. 29-Jan. 4, said Darlene Jacobs, executive director of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Agency for Native American Ministries at Lake Junaluska, N.C. A team traveled to the Gulf Coast after the hurricanes hit in November 2005 and returned in April 2006.
Mission team members with the Southeastern Jurisdictional Agency for Native American Ministries take time off from repair work to pose for a group shot. A UMNS photo by Darlene Jacobs.
“Many Native Americans live in poverty, and it has been my experience that we need to be intentional in ministering to our native brothers and sisters because many times they get overlooked when a crisis of this magnitude occurs,” Jacobs said.
In addition to recovery work on homes, the team led a spiritual revival for the community at Clanton Chapel.
"We need help in every way, but we don't need to forget our focus and Creator, and that is God!" said Verret. "He continues to bless us in so many ways and opening doors for our community. Our people are excited that they (the team) came back again, not only to work but to hold a spiritual revival in our community. This has not happened before and we were thrilled!"
Team members hung drywall, built cabinets and installed insulation for Donna and Junior Naquin.
"Without their ministering to the community and to our family, we would not be able to move into our home," Donna said. "… If they had not come, it would be another year before we could move!"
"Excitement and astonishment can best describe this trip," said Wade Hunt, mission team leader and a member of Prospect United Methodist Church in the North Carolina Annual (regional) Conference. "We didn't have all the resources or materials for the work that needed to be done. We literally saw the Bible story where Jesus fed the 5,000 with two fishes and five loaves of bread play out before our very eyes!"
George Locklear helps Donna Naquin repair her hurricane-damaged home in Dulac, La. A UMNS photo by
The team also worked on homes of the Mississippi Choctaw families living in the Gulf region and ministered to Indian families who re-located to Alabama from Louisiana.
Jacobs said Native American churches in the Southeast have contributed money, resources, prayers and labors of love.
"We went to the community to help, but there is the added blessing of meeting wonderful people, mission teams and forming lifelong relationships," she said. "This is what it is all about - the spiritual, social, physical and emotional care for people's lives and hearts."
The Southeastern Jurisdictional Agency for Native American Ministries is the advocate for 23 Native American congregations and three other ministries in the region. For additional information, contact Darlene Jacobs at (888) 825-6316 or email@example.com.
News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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