Moravian Church in North America

In Essentials, Unity; In Nonessentials, Liberty; In All Things, Love.

Moravian Church in North America
North: Bethlehem, Pa.
South: Winston-Salem, N.C.

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Ocean Springs team works to rebuild lives

harrismissiontop1As 2011 drew to a close, Joanie and I were reflecting on the year and realizing how blessed we are to be here in Mississippi. God has continued to provide not only for us, but for the people on the Gulf Coast, especially those who are still in need nearly 6-1/2 years after “The Storm.”It’s probably a surprise to most people outside the Gulf Coast that there is still so much work to be done. Other calamities have made their mark since Katrina, and so there is a lot of focus in other areas of the country and the world. But like most disaster areas, the work goes on long after the media has left. It will truly be a generation before the traces of Hurricane Katrina are erased… if then.

To that end, the response from Moravian teams throughout the provinces has been nothing short of inspiring. In 2010, we hosted a total of seven teams here at the Mississippi Mission House.

harrismission1We bettered that total in 2011 within the first three months! Throughout this year, more teams continued to make their way down. We hosted 21 teams in 2011! It has been a blessing to us to see the contributions that people have made of their time and talents to help repair homes on the Gulf Coast.

So what have we been working on? Since March of 2010 we have completed 27 projects ranging from re-roofing houses to complete rebuilds where we gut a house down to the studs, and rebuild it from the inside out. We have been able to accomplish so much through three important partnerships: Camp Victor, a Lutheran volunteer camp in Ocean Springs; Adopt A Home Ministries from Seattle, Wash.; and Volunteers of America through Pastor Derrick Tapper of Calvary Baptist Church in Pascagoula, Miss.

Below is a glimpse into the people and projects that we recently worked on.

Ann Williams — Ann contacted us while we were working on another house in her neighborhood.

She had paid two different contractors to start work on her home, and they both ripped her off, which was unfortunately pretty common. We began work on her place back in January of this year. She received her occupancy permit just in time for Thanksgiving!

harrismission3Dorothy Simpson – Mrs. Simpson’s son stopped by another project site and asked to show us his mother’s house. It was flooded with a few feet of water from Katrina, but she has not been able to live in her house since the storm. She did have the roof repaired to keep the inside of the house from deteriorating. She suffers from Alzheimer’s. Her house needed to be gutted and rebuilt. We began work on her place in April 2011. The outside is complete, and we hung the drywall by the end of the year.

Aaron and Jessica Barksdale — Aaron and Jessica and their two small children inherited this home recently from Jessica’s mother who passed away. It was flooded during Katrina and it needs a lot of fixing up. Since they were not the owners at the time of the storm, they do not qualify for grants or assistance in rebuilding. Jessica needed a new kitchen, so we worked to help.

For more project information, and a complete library of project photos, you can visit the MS Projects Home page at

Weldon Harris manages the Moravian Mission House in Ocean Springs, Mississippi with his wife, Joanie. 
Photos show just a few of the projects worked on by volunteers in the Gulf Coast region.


From the April 2012 Moravian Magazine

Moravian Daily Texts


Monday, November 20 — Psalm 129
Daniel 6:19–7:22; 3 John

You must neither add anything to what I command you nor take away anything from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God. Deuteronomy 4:2

Jesus said to them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” Luke 8:21

Lord, it is so easy to interpret your holy word with our own biases and miss the point you were trying to make. Guide our hearts and minds to understand your calling for us and to act on that calling. Amen.

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