Oak Lawn volunteers return to Mississippi Delta


Members of the Oaklawn mission team are, from left, front, Cindy Barnett, Dena Hodnett, Marvin Yeager, Debbie Watson, Tom Barnett, Errin Barnett; second row, Devin Encore, Kay Head, Pam Gentry, Dorothy Jenkins; third row, Travis Hodnett, Hunter Arrington, Cody Yeager, David Arrington, Tony Yeager, Debbie Moreland; back, Ben Pope, Allen Yeager, Joe Owens. 

During the week of July 13, a mission team from Oak Lawn Baptist Church returned to the Mississippi Delta.

The team lived in the Habitat for Humanity Volunteer Center in Sherard, Miss. and worked in the neighboring community of Farrell. The center is a renovated Methodist church that was built in the late 1920s as a place of worship for the Sherard family.

As the congregation grew smalle,r the building was no longer being used and the Sherard family offered it to the local Habitat affiliate.

Both communities are largely farming communities with vast expanses of land growing, cotton, corn, rice, soybeans and other crops. The communities are located along Highway 1 that runs parallel to the Mississippi river protected only by the massive levee system which does not hold back the mighty river during some floods. This is the seventh trip to the Delta for the Oak Lawn mission team. Some of the members have been traveling to the area for mission work for more than two decades.

Many team members have adopted the community as their own and use the trip as their annual vacation to rekindle old friendships. The Delta is almost an area that time left standing and remains one of the poorest areas in the United States.

Habitat has made an impact on poverty housing in the area, and the small volunteer staff with Mrs. Dorothy Jenkins as their president at Farrell/Sherard Habitat has built 25 homes in the two communities as well as sending a tithe to North Africa that they estimate has built another 25. The Oak Lawn team worked diligently rehabbing a house in Farrell and completely removed all trim, doors, sheetrock and insulation in the house They were able to install new insulation and sheetrock before the week’s end.

Pastor Robert Watkins and wife, Debbie, from neighboring Friendship Baptist Church in Friar’s Point, Miss. joined them in the evenings to help. The group had two Bible Challenges in the communities during the late evening – giving out New Testaments and inviting residents to a Bible School that was held on Wednesday evening.

The team also attended three church services at the Friar’s Point church while on the mission trip. Oak Lawn Pastor David Arrington preached the morning service on July 14.

As always the week ends with a potluck supper of native cuisine on Thursday and a closing devotional and circle of prayer at day’s end on Friday. Members look forward to returning next year.

Team members included David Arrington, Hunter Arrington, Kathy Arrington, Cindy Barnett, Errin Barnett, Tom Barnett, Pam Gentry, Kay Head, Jeana Hodnett, Travis Hodnett, Debbie Moreland, Joe Owens, Ben Pope, Debbie Watson, Allen Yeager, Cody Yeager, Marvin Yeager and Tony Yeager.

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