Jun 27 2009

Mustard Seeds and Mountains Mission Trip

Published by at 11:13 am under mission trip

A few photos from Mt. Zion UMC’s recent mission trip to Northfork in McDowell County, West Virginia, with Mustard Seeds and Mountains. You can click the links below to see more photos:
Album #1 (my photos)
Album #2 (my photos)
Album #3 (Jill’s photos)(the link should work now even if you don’t have a Facebook account)

That’s “our” house up the street, the first brick one.  The first house is the Emmaus House where we met every evening.  Look at all the rock work that is holding back the mountains.  Supposedly much of the rock work was done by Italians who immigrated to the area to find work.  McDowell County at one time was one of the richest counties in the nation (during the coal boom) and now is one of the poorest counties….but has THE FRIENDLIEST PEOPLE YOU WILL EVER MEET ANYWHERE!!!!  I’ve never been any place like it, they just take in like you’ve always lived there!

Not a lot of choice….Stop or crash!
A coal train bringing coal out of the mines.  This train serviced several mines in the area.  We’d see one loooonnngg coal train go out each day.  Then the next day an empty one would go back.  Trains started running around noon and ran all night long.  We didn’t see any passenger trains, just freight ones–box cars, tanker cars, etc.  Only one coal train per day though.  AND, since we were at a crossing, the trains blew their whistles EVERY TIME they came by us….and yes, ALL NIGHT LONG.  We all counted every train the first few nights, but later in the week you’re tired enough to just sleep through them.
View to the left of our front porch…fog on the mountains in the morning.
That’s “our” house on the right.  On the left is the “Empowerment” house where they do after school stuff for the kids, tutoring and such.
I kept taking pictures of this all week, the light and red door just kept catching my eye…and of course, the date.
“The Clark National Bank”  during the booming coal times, the mountains in the area were covered with houses….so many that there was a “town” on each side of the street.  We were in what used to be Clarke, and Northfork was across the street (Route 52).
Below is the Northfork side (across from where we were staying).  We were told that during the boom times of coal mining that the mountain had very few trees and was covered with rows and rows of houses.  You can see on the right of the picture an abandoned house that is slowly being “swallowed up” by the mountains.  The invention of mechanized mining was what eventually led to poverty in the county.  With machinery to get the coal out, they no longer needed the huge labor force that they did when the coal was mined by hand.
I was just taking a picture of the train…then saw this kid come through my viewfinder…they’re so used to the trains that they’re no big deal to them.
Coal train..
This dude could dunk!  Some of our guys, and guys from the South Carolina group that was at Mustard Seeds and Mountains also, played pickup games with the locals.  Again, everyone was SO friendly!
Train tracks by our job site also.  Once we had the roofing off the house, we had to haul it across Rt 52 to the dump truck.  Rt 52 is VERY busy, LOTS and LOTS of dump trucks (which go faster than the cars!).  That’s Haley in the yellow shirt, she was our lookout, she watched for vehicles and let us know when it was safe to cross.  There is a big curve to the right of the picture and it was hard to see vehicles coming around the curve from our side of the road.
On Wednesday night we went to the “Little Opry” and heard Bluegrass.  They put on this show every Wednesday just for Mustard Seeds and Mountains.  Our group ended the night onstage singing “Amazing Grace”.
An out-of-business car dealership.  Note how the building is built around the river.  We were told the railroad moves the river to accommodate their tracks.  The river has these rock walls that contain it most of the way as it goes through town.
Northfork at night…imagine that mountain COVERED with houses!  Now, the houses that aren’t lived in are getting swallowed up by the mountains.
Our group, before we left on Friday.
We were told to be sure to stop at Pinnacle Rock on our way out.  BEAUTIFUL view of the mountains!!!
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