In 2002, World Missions Possible made a grant to St. Johns United Methodist Church in Rio Grand City, Texas, for the building materials to be used in their local housing repair program. This program uses volunteer labor of the NOMADS volunteer group to repair homes for the aged and indigent. All recipeints of the repair work had been screened by the Texas Department of Human Services in Starr County, Texas, based on need.
NOMADS is a program of the United Methodist Church which offer people with recreational vehicles the opportunity to share their time and skills on need-based mission projects (see www.nomadsumc.org). Projects are three weeks in duration and are at various locations across the country. St. John^s usually hosts four NOMAD teams each winter for a total of twelve weeks of volunteer work.
Here’s a sampling of just a few of the stories behind the work completed by this hardworking group of faithful volunteers in Starr County, Texas:
A retried widow had difficulty getting into her bathtub. She needed a shower that would allow her wheelchair access into the stall. The NOMADS team removed the old bathtub and its plastic panel from the walls. They then fabricated a low rounded concrete area on the bathroom floor to create a shower stall, sealed the concrete block walls and floor, and installed a shower curtain rod and new showerhead. Additionally, the team replaced the existing 24” door with a 32” door, allowing for a wider wheelchair access into the room.
Volunteers had repaired and painted the home of an elderly couple in Rio Grande City.
An older man had difficulty walking up the steps to his trailer home, so the team built a porch and ramp with a handrail. Volunteers also installed a slide bolt lock on the inside front door.
One man’s porch needed a new roof and he needed it enclosed to keep out the winter wind. The roof needed additional support, so the team installed new rafters as well as a tin roof. The team left the screen in place and installed a combination of fixed and hinged plywood siding panels, so that he could open the porch in the summer and close it in the winter.
The NOMADS team was asked to repair the room of a young man who was confined to a wheelchair. There were two exterior doors in his room. One of the doors was not being used, so the team removed it and installed siding in the opening. After reinforcing wall studs and reframing the door, they replaced the second door. The team also replaced badly damaged sheetrock on two walls and replaced broken glass in several windows
One woman’s bathroom floor was badly rotted and a vanity sink protruded into the doorway. The door had been cut to allow it to open. The team replaced portions of both the floor and the sub-floor with new plywood. They installed new tile and replaced the door with one that opened out into the hall. Two screen windows were also replaced.
An 85-year-old widow, who lived in a small travel trailer, had an unfinished addition on her home. The bathroom in the trailer was very small and she had difficulty using the shower. The team installed a shower, including hot and cold water lines, and a proper drain into the new addition.
In another home, the base cabinets, floor under the cabinets, and the lower portion of the wall behind the cabinets, were rotten. The upper cabinets were also in poor condition. Floor joists and wall studs were reinforced and plywood nailed down. New base cabinets, a counter top and a backsplash were installed.
At the home of a single woman, the NOMADS team replaced two exterior doors and two screen doors. They also replaced one screen window and re-screened another. In the bathroom, legs were added to her sink for better support. The team also completed other needed minor plumbing repairs.