On Monday morning, August 28th, a work team left on a 3-day mission trip to Noble, OK in response to an urgent plea from the Oklahoma United Methodist Disaster Response (OKUMDR) organization. Victims from the horrific 2015 flood were (and are) still waiting for volunteers to come help – over 2 years! West Heights felt called to respond and put together a team of 4 people from 3 churches (West Heights UMC, First UMC and Mt. Hope UMC) who could mobilize quickly and get down there to help out. We left early that morning in beautiful weather (sunny, mid 80’s and light winds) that stayed with us for the duration (thank you God!). We arrived safely at Noble UMC having munched on yummy cookies baked fresh by our Mt. Hope team member.
A few factoids about our stay in Noble, OK. Nobel is the “Rose rock capital of the world”. We did not go through their free museum – maybe next time J. There are not many places to eat in Noble and most are not open on Monday and Tuesday – the 2 nights we were there! Two widely known and popular restaurants are Kendall’s and Tiffany’s. We ate breakfast at Tiffany’s (get it?) Tuesday and Wednesday and they weren’t kidding when they said they were known for Portions and Attitude! The church that hosted us, Noble UMC, was a nice, small, welcoming church in the heart of Noble. However, they did not have showers so OKUMDR installed a shower trailer in the parking lot for us. That was a new experience, but it worked great – warm showers every night! We also noticed large blue ribbons tied to many telephone poles, fences, etc. in and near Noble. We learned that a local OK State Trooper had died in July during a high-speed chase.
After a quick lunch on Monday, we headed to the work site - a ranch-style home way out in the country. This house is home to a single parent (Lisa) with 2 children, one of which is still living at home – a 16-year old daughter. Unfortunately, Lisa admits to being a borderline hoarder. So, in addition to house damage, many of her many belongings were damaged and needed to be discarded; a very difficult and emotionally draining experience for her, particularly with not having much of a support system to lean on. In addition to all of this, Lisa was recently diagnosed with Hepatitis-C from a blood transfusion earlier in her life. She begins treatment in October and that was weighing heavy on her. All of this helped us to better understand and appreciate why we were called to come to Nobel OK.
Upon our arrival, Hal Wright and Kevin Walker, two dedicated and highly skilled project managers that work for OKUMDR, met us. We had the pleasure of working with them in 2016 and it was nice to see them again and work side-by-side. Our tasks involved installing 1,100 sf of laminate flooring, replacing damaged drywall and replacing 4 windows. It was hard work and long days but we got ‘er done! Lisa mentioned numerous times what a blessing this was for her and her family. It came at a time when she did not know what she was going to do, had lost hope and had become depressed. Between tears, she expressed how our arrival and help had given her a huge lift, replaced her depression with hope that there is a way forward! God is good and all of us were thankful we heard and responded to His call! We pray Lisa remains strong, continues down this hopeful path forward and that her health is fully restored.