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home : news : news July 22, 2014

5/20/2014 11:55:00 AM
Florence mission team participates in Kentucky project
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Missioners from St. Paul United Methodist Church returned from the Red Bird Mission located near Beverly, Ken. on May 3. St, Paul was joined by a group of missioners from Harrison UMC in Pineville, N. C. This was the 13th year that teams from St. Paul UMC have gone to the Red Bird Mission to work on homes and work with disadvantaged families. Thirty seven people participated on this mission trip. The Red Bird Mission was founded in 1921 with the objective of helping break the cycle of poverty through assistance with medical care and education.

This area of southeastern Kentucky is recognized as the number one priority of four areas identified by the federal government. Government resources have been committed to developing strategies and plans to help alleviate poverty in this area. The Red Bird Mission serves an area within a radius of about 30 miles. The area is located about forty miles from the nearest town. Most of the 15,000 people in this area have no access to jobs, transportation, medical care, education, etc. and live substantially below the poverty line.

The Red Bird Mission is the primary support system for the area. It provides education through a faith based private school with grades one thru 12. The graduation rate exceeds public schools with a majority attending advanced education. There is a major emphasis on prenatal care, early childhood development and day care. A medical clinic and dental clinic provide care at a minimal cost. A craft store works with local crafters in marketing their crafts. All these services are aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty. A major area of the Red Bird Mission is the Work Camp. About 3,000 volunteers from all over the country come each year to rehab homes.

Most of the work is aimed at making the home warmer or cooler, dryer, and safer. This year the St. Paul group was divided into four teams named Abraham, Joshua, Nehemiah, and Zerubbabel – Old Testament characters. The teams worked on three homes and a dorm on campus that was being renovated. One home was located in a hollow called Mud Lick, about a mile up a one lane road. It is occupied by a couple around 20 years old with a nine month-old son. The home was built last year out of home-cut slat timbers from logs harvested in the area. It was insulated with cardboard.

The roof was made of scrap tin. There was no running water or bathroom. Electricity was supplied via a 200 ft. drop cord from an adjacent home. It was heated by a coal heater. A rusty two-burner Coleman stove was used for cooking, but there was no gas in the small propane tank. Without electricity, there was no refrigerator. The Joshua Team, led by Tim Sadler, constructed a new room on this home and rebuilt the roof system. A new door and screen door were installed. Arrangements were made to get a septic tank installed by a program offered by the State of Kentucky.

Once the septic tank is installed, electricity can be hooked up, followed by water which is available along the road. With funds donated for the Outreach Ministry, bedding, clothing and provisions were purchased for the family. A key part of the mission trip is the Outreach Ministry. Three families were identified by Red Bird’s Community Outreach that needed special assistance. Teams composed of three visited these families. Plans were developed and implemented to provide assistance that could not be provided by the Red Bird Mission. John Tighe, a missioner from Charlotte, said last year in his devotion, “Some of us have everything, but have nothing.

These people have nothing, but everything.” The people in this area live very simple lives, doing the best that they can with what they have. They are very religious, humble and grateful. While they are disadvantaged in many respects, they are also not burdened with worldly possessions. Participating in this mission trip from Florence were Worth Adams, Mike Brown, Martha Collier, Mayo Collier, Bill Edgeworth, Larry Godfrey, Chris Grier, John Hamer, Low Hanna, Rick Howell, Mark Lott, Pete Ludlow, Way Miller, Glenn Neil, Burk Parrott, Dawn Parrott, Tim Sadler, John Saleeby, Patsy Slice, Nancy Waring, Katie Waring, Larry Waring, Gene Walsh, Mike Welsh and Donald Worrell. Those from the Charlotte area included Sandy Coggins, Tommy Coggins, Mark Enos, Bob Gourlay, Karen Gourlay, Beth Harris, Kevin Harris, Wally Hutchinson, Denny Little, Hugh McMahon and John Tighe. To learn more about the Red Bird Mission, visit the web site: or contact Mayo Collier at


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