By Barbara Tripp
July 24, 2000

     the island's former golf course
Itís hard to sit down and write after one of those "mountain top" experiences. Everything one has to say seems so trivial.

Montserrat is a beautiful island in need of new life. Over half the island is uninhabitable due to the volcano and its continued activity. The remaining portion, formerly considered "goat country" and not the place to be -  undeveloped, no industry, no tourism, very few shops and services - is now the only place one can be. It is home to all of the 4,000 remaining inhabitants.

Homes need to be built; infrastructure is needed, shops and services need to begin, in short, life must begin again.

                                                                                         building the Cavalla Hills Refuge Center
Many families lost everything they owned, their land, their homes, and all their belongings. Some families spent more than two years living in the church sanctuary, moving in and out as services dictated. Still, they met us with smiles and open arms, and wonderful enthusiasm for what lies ahead. Sure there had been frustration, but it was being overcome by the knowledge that God was still with them! He had not left the island, and things were going to be even better than before.

  framing and putting in rebar
  on top of the second floor

There are some similarities between Montserrat and Eastern North Carolina, though instead of mud and ash, we were flooded by water. 

Many people in North Carolina also lost everything they owned - homes, belongings, some will even lose their land in buyouts. Our people in North Carolina had to stay, too, in temporary housing, shelters, trailers, and with friends and family. However, there are no buyouts or FEMA assistance in Montserrat.

There is a lot of frustration in North Carolina about the amount of time it is taking to recover. But all things considered, we in North Carolina are very lucky. You see, God hasnít left us either! He is right here working side by side with us. And things can be even better than before if we are patient and careful.

                                                                                                                          the new kitchen
The Holy Spirit has a way of working miracles in peopleís lives. We saw that in Montserrat, and I think we can see it in North Carolina too.

Every time a volunteer shows up at someoneís house, we see the spirit at work.

Every time we sit down and listen to a familyís story, the burden is lightened a little.


     our team on a mountain overlooking town

Please continue to pray for the people of North Carolina. Please continue to help them by volunteering your time and your talents. The promise we will make to you is that God will be here with you when you come!

Thanks to all of you who have come and to all of you who are yet to come. May the Lord bless you as you bless others.

Photos by Kevin West


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