Posted June 21, 2022

On Sunday, June 26, a team of 27 workers from churches in Beaver-Butler and Pittsburgh Presbyteries will begin the nine hour drive to Madisonville, Kentucky. Once there, they will assist with rebuilding homes damaged by a tornado that hit the community on December 20 of last year.

The team will be hosted by First Presbyterian Church of Madisonville. The trip has been planned in coordination with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA), which helps local churches prepare to host work teams and identifies local rebuilding groups to partner with. The team will be working with Hopkins County Long-Term Recovery Group, who in turn is partnering with the Fuller Center, a Christian housing organization based in Americus, GA.

A group from a previous trip prepares to depart.

About a third of the team has participated in previous trips coordinated by Old Union Church. Some team members will arrive with strong skills. Others who will learn from and work under their supervision. Those participating range in age from 12 to 77 and represent 9 churches—Concord (Hooker), Crestview, East Butler, New Salem, North Sewickley, Old Union, and Trinity from our presbytery, and Baldwin UP and CrossRoads from Pittsburgh Presbytery.

The team will work Monday through Friday with a half day on Wednesday to allow for rest, recreation, and enjoyment of the local area. It is important that a devoted and committed community of workers is achieved that reflects life in Christ. They hope to discover and deepen their faith through hard work, interaction with their hosts, partners, and other team members, and their ministry to home owners.

Team members from a previous trip work on a home’s exterior.

The orientation process, which has been honed after previous trips, emphasizes not only the logistics of the trip, but how best to reflect the presence of Christ to those who will receive them. 

While striving for excellence and hard work on the rebuilding task, the goal is to continually remember that “it’s not about the house,” but about the people.

Daily debriefing and devotional time will allow participants to address and reflect upon new and unexpected experiences. Exposure to the local culture will result from interactions with hosts and home owners. Working as a team will help participants learn about and appreciate generational differences.

Some skills are learned on the job.

Roughly half of the $11,000 trip budget comes from money left over from previous trips. Most of the remaining funds come from donations from churches and individuals, and grants from the presbytery and synod.

This is the eleventh year Old Union has organized a PDA-related mission trip. Because of the pandemic, there was not a trip in 2020, and in 2021 a “mini-mission trip” took place locally to help refurbish the Lighthouse Foundation’s transitional housing in Butler.

The team asks for our prayers. Please pray for the safety of the workers; the effectiveness of the trip, both for the work they accomplish and for the lives touched in Christ’s name; for God to be glorified; and that the team will form a loving and supportive Christian community for the week.

Daily summaries of the team’s activities and photos will be posted to a trip blog.