Sunday, July 31
This year the Recovery Team is continuing its work with Mission at the Eastward (MATE), leading a team of nearly 20 individuals to help families and individuals throughout Maine. MATE is an organization formed to bring together volunteers to help families and individuals continue to live safely and comfortably in their homes.
The day started out bright, sunny, and hot. Our guest preacher, The Reverend Dr. Allen Timm was leading worship services. During the service, he commissioned and blessed the Recovery Team and reminisced about when he led a Youth Mission trip to MATE some time ago.
We met at the church at 1 pm for a 1:30 carpool departure. Four cars were packed, loaded with passengers, and ready to hit the road. One group put together Road Trip Bingo for the three-hour trek to Farmington, Maine! Instructions were given - meet at the Cumberland Farms at Exit 63 off of I-95 for a stretch, road trip snacks, and refueling. Off we went! We all made it to the rendezvous spot within 10 minutes of each other. What a fantastic start to the week. Our Recovery Team leaders left earlier in the day to get a head start, checking the accommodations and visiting the project sites to assess the needs of each location.
We arrived at the University of Maine, Farmington (UMF), where we would spend the next five days in fellowship and as we prepared together for each day ahead. We are staying on the second floor of the Mallett Hall Dorm. Moving in felt like the first day of college - complete with coolers and our own bedding! Some of our team members are heading off to college in a few weeks, with a few returning students and a few going for the first time.
Upon arrival, we checked in, unpacked briefly, and met in the main room to set up for dinner. We learned about the project sites during and after dinner and how to ensure a healthy and safe week ahead. Dan Flint (MATE Operations Manager) joined us for dinner and introduced us to the organization, its history, and ways to humbly and respectfully work with each of the homeowners/families during the week. Everyone has a story, a history, something that transpired along their journey. It is not easy asking others for help, and it is not easy letting a stranger, let alone a group of strangers, into your home. It can be easier for some or very difficult for others. We have reflected on this and find that we do not easily ask for help, even when it is strongly apparent that it's needed.
We learned that there are three job sites. One site is a continuation of work - a new shingle roof - replacing multiple layers of previous roofing in places. The second site is a rebuild of part of a home that will create a new living room, bedroom, and closet. The third site is an update of an older bathroom (that underwent multiple water leaks), replacing the entrance door, and fixing window screens. There is more to the story for each site. As the days unfold and as we learn their stories, we will share what we can and what the homeowners are comfortable sharing.
Your Recovery Team