Spring Break
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Johanna Thompson

March 27, 2006

It has been two days since the trip, and since being back, it has left me with a lot of time to reflect on my break. It has been great talking and sharing memories with fellow members that went on the trip. Most of us agreed, we could not believe how bad the area was still after 6 months.

Tonight I attended Devotions at the Methodist Center. Many of the students from the trip came together to listen to others speak about the incredible experiences they witnessed. It just shows how an act of kindness can have a positive impact on many other areas of your life. I overheard a girl at Devotions tell her friend that she felt more well rested after her trip to Gulfport than if she would have just stayed at home and slept all break. I agree with her 100%! This was an experience I will never forget and urge everyone to do!

March 23, 2006

These past four days have been full of hardwork, fun times, and meeting many new people. It felt great completing each house and seeing the impact we made on the owner's when we were finished. We all gave the residents we helped a light of hope to know that life will soon be back to normal, just by helping them with their house. I am glad to know that I was a part of that. It was hardwork and tiring, but that is what I came here to do. I was able to meet so many people from Morehead, that I would not have if it was not for this trip. I could not believe how nice everyone was. From the people on the trip, to the North Carolina Baptist Men who fed us, and the residents of Gulfport; all were very gracious and willing to help. The residents were so thankful to have us here and showed graditude in any way they could. It made working rewarding.

Overall, this was an experience I am glad I did not pass up. I was able to see the strengths that I have not been fully aware of and I even ended up with a decent tan! We all have our own special experiences and values taken from this trip that we can share. It is interesting to hear them all and see how it affected one another. I want to thank all that came together for this spring break. I am so glad that I was able to be a part of such a close, hardworking, big-hearted group of people.

March 22, 2006

There is not a better feeling than finishing a house for someone who is in need. We spent the entire day repainting an elderly women's house that was decemated by Hurricane Katrina. Her happiness, after our work was completed, made me realize how much of an impact our efforts are appreciated. This week has been an incredible experience for myself and many others on this trip. None of us would know the extent of the damage without seeing it first hand. It is sad to know that we are close to the end of our trip, but I am so happy that I have seen how sacrificing a small amount of time can provide hope and happiness to someone in need. This trip has been a unforgetable experience and I could not imagine a better time and place to volunteer my time for such a wonderful cause.

The majority of the people I have met on this trip have left an impact in my life. It is great to know there are people who want to help others and do whatever it takes to fulfill the emptiness that was left by Katrina. We have given our all to leave an impact and show how much we care about things outside our reach. It will be sad to leave Gulfport tomorrow, but I know there are many people and groups who are here to help out and take our place.

March 21, 2006

I must say that today was quite productive. My group had the opportunity to work on two houses before we had to stop for dinner. We finished painting the inside of our first house and then did every task possible to the second. I am pretty excited that I get to climb on a ladder tomorrow to begin painting the outside of the house we worked on at the end of the day today (I know, what more could a girl ask for?).

It was a work-filled day, but I would have to say the best part was when we sat around the woman who owned the second house and listened to her stories about the two past hurricanes, Camille and Katrina. It was so interesting to listen to her speak about all the experiences she has had that we will never get to witness. I have been very curious about how the hurricane has affected the area and the people. Listening to her speak opened my eyes and made me realize how bad things could be and that you should never give up. Seeing how the families did not back down from the challenge that was thrown at them and throw everything away shows a sense of pride people possess here. It is what drives all of us on this trip to work our hardest for them.

March 20, 2005

Today made me realize that going on this trip to Gulport, MS would be the most memorable spring break yet. I have always wanted to help others, but never have had the time to truly devote myself to a special cause. By Morehead coordinating this alternative spring break, I knew that is exactly what I wanted to do. Spring breaks are for going to the beach and escaping college stress, but just by helping all the victims makes this experience better than any beach could offer.

It was amazing seeing all the students who have joined me in this cause. There are no complaints and everyone is there for one main goal; to help out in whatever way they can. Today was quite the eye opener for me. We were sent to paint the interior of an elderly man's home who was affected by the hurricane. We all saw the massive destruction around the port that was caused by Hurricane Katrina. It freaked me out when I saw houses wiped out and family possessions spread throughout the area. When we arrived at the man's home, it was truly a blessing to see how overwhelmed with joy he was that we were there to help. With about 13 people, we were able to paint the walls and trim of his house. It was emotional talking to him and hearing that he had to live in a trailor in his front yard while his house was being rebuilt. If he did not have it finished in six months, his trailor would be taken from him. It felt great knowing that I helped him put the pieces in his life back together and not have to worry about his lack of time.

Since this is only the first day there are many more experiences to come. I can not wait to see what all we have done as a group and who we have helped by the end. This is a great group of people and it makes me realize there are people out there who truly care and do not mind missing a spring break to help those who are missing parts of their lives.