Our mission trip comes to an end

It was a strange feeling to come to the end of our mission trip.

On the one hand, we were all VERY tired. The work was hard, sweaty, and long. On the other hand, we didn’t quite finish. While we moved all the “stuff” out of the kitchen and dining rooms, we didn’t get the walls and ceiling taken down, and one bedroom was left untouched (it had the least mold in the house). We finished three bedrooms, the bathroom, living room, family room and about half of the hall. It hurt that the house was not complete, but honestly, we got more done than we thought we would.

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Hospitality of those we served

One of the most outstanding parts of the mission work was the hospitality shown to us.

We felt welcome and appreciated throughout the week by the Victoria First United Methodist Church, where we spent each night, and also by the Baptist Church in Victoria where we first served. The two sons of the pastor of that Baptist church were longtime owners of a restaurant in Victoria called Mumphord’s Place.

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The Mission Team!

We were blessed with a great mission team who worked together as a well-oiled machine.

First, there were six from Murrieta (well, really five from Murrieta and one from Moreno Valley)  six from Mesa, Arizona, one from Parker, Arizona, and one from Glendale, California that made up our mission team. We split up into two teams: two from Murrieta working with five from Arizona, and four from Murrieta working with two from Arizona (plus one from Glendale). Here is  a photo of the whole team:

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Our Second Project

We were assigned a second project in the town of Tivoli where Hurricane Harvey had paused for several hours with a tremendous amount of rain and winds up to 140 mph.  Many homes had extensive roof damage which allowed the rain to enter, thus causing unhealthful mold and mildew to grow on the ceilings and walls.  Before we could remove the moldy areas, we needed to be able to clear out the rooms. Our assignment was reported to be a house that had items stored from floor to ceiling in every room.  The owners were an older couple named Mary and Domingo. Their son Hector and his wife Gloria lived across the street.  Another team had worked on the house the day before, and because of the overwhelming task, it was decided that two team members from the previous day would be staying to show our team what to do.

This was supposed to be a one-day assignment to complete. However, it took four from our team (along with those other two) working on the job for the remainder of the week ..we like challenges!  Here is a video of the way the house looked on the first day we arrived.  (Click HERE to see video):

Here is a photo of the outside of the house:

The question of what to do with all the “stuff” was answered in our ERT training…we needed to separate it into three categories: those that were damaged by water, and could create a safety problem for the family were thrown away…you can see some in the photo above. The black bags you see on the left side were filled with moldy insulation from the walls and ceiling along with other small moldy items such as old newspapers, books, etc.  Other items on the right are wet mattresses, large pieces of wallboard, moldy cabinets and the like.

A second category was those that should obviously be preserved…like china, photographs, clothing that had not gotten wet, family memorabilia, and hardwood furniture. They were generally put in boxes and marked as to contents or, in the case of furniture, simply moved into an already cleaned-up room.

The third category was by far the largest and included everything else.  There were seven sewing machines, an uncountable number of dolls, books (that had not gotten wet), many electric appliances (several still in their original sealed boxes), and literally tons of extras.  Those were left to the discretion of the owners and were generally moved into emptied rooms.

The team was broken into a couple of work groups…some moved “stuff” into a cleaned up room, while others removed the wallboards and ceiling.


This home was built in the early 1960’s, and Mary and Domingo lived there until the hurricane hit. They finally left the house and went to a neighboring town when a bedroom window blew out. Except for the roof which was severely damaged and which was tarped, the house looks fine from the outside. The video of the initial walk-through shows a severely damaged inside of the house with mold on virtually all of the walls and ceilings.

Two members of the “Murrieta” team were split off to do roof tarping because of their unique skills (it is rumored that they can do anything). Mark Matthews and Tim Lawler were sprinting around the gulf tarping roofs…here are a few pictures of their work…

Internet Problems

I am sorry to report that Mark and I worked for hours last night trying to get our internet connection working properly…and we could not for posting pictures on the blog…pictures…especially videos…tell the story that words can’t. So, I am afraid you are going to have to wait until we get home to catch up on all we did. The trip is amazing, the team is amazing, the folks whose homes we work on are amazed (and very grateful).

Our Second assignment

This blog post was the one we worked on last night…and I see I can publish it this morning…this picture made it, but it is the only one. The home my team is working on is quite similiar…yet the “stuff” is packed up to the ceiling. Be patient with us…I promise you will see what we did.


On Tuesday, we were assigned to work on two different projects…both of which are very “nessy”. This is a picture of the house Mark and Tim Lawler (Moreno Valley UMC) worked at. At each of these homes we have to sort and move the hundreds of items,  and then, tend to the mold by removing the wall boards and ceiling material and spraying on mold killer.  We sort the items into three categories…1) things we know need to be thrown out because they are wet and moldy; 2) things that we know need to be saved, and 3) Things that the owner must decide on what to keep. The last category is the largest for sure.

We will be working on these homes the rest of our trip and even at that, we won’t be able to finish…it will be up to the next team that comes to town.






We have arrived in Victoria, Texas!

Praise God, we all made it safely.  Three came by air, two by truck, and one is yet to arrive via air. Our first project was working at a Baptist Church which had roof leaks that created mold on the ceiling, walls, and carpet.  By the time we got there, the roof had been tarped, so our job was to remove the ceiling material, the wall boards, and the carpet and to spray mold killer on the walls.  We got all of that done.

We were blessed by being hosted by the First United Methodist Church of Victoria…a church with 1400 members and one of four United Methodist Churches in Victoria…a city of 111,000 (according to the 2000 census).  I might add it was one of MANY churches in Victoria…seemed like a church on every corner…and one in the middle of every block!  We were greeted by Pastor Tim Brewer who conducted a brief tour of the church, where we ate, showered, and slept.  Here are a couple of pictures of the church:


Here are some pictures for you to get an idea of our first project, at the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Victoria.

The above photo shows the church where the Murrieta team worked…we finished the work in one day. Wonderful feeling and the representatives of the church were really happy with us.

Here is Spencer who came with us from the Friday morning Bible Study. He is preparing to spray mold retardant on the walls and ceiling. He looks like an astronaut with all the protection! The photo below shows the team taking a break…it was a pleasant temperature…but the humidity was high, and wearing protective masks kept us safe but hotter.


They call us the destroyers because we tear out ceilings, interior wall boards, and carpets.   We feel bad by ruining the interior (in this case, a church)…but the good news is that this work allows us to kill the mold and keep people safe. The people we serve are SOOOOOO grateful. If they had to contract out the work, our destruction would cost something like $15,000-20,000….a good reason for us to feel good and for them to feel good too.

Here is Brother Ricky from the church who tells us how he felt about the work we did…