Residents recall 'amazing' experiences during Ky. mission trip

Cary Ashby • Dec 23, 2017 at 12:00 PM

The Foundation Church mission trip to Warfield, Ky. was a first-time experience for Milan resident Pat Myers.

Since it was an overnight trip, she thought it would be the perfect opportunity.

“I prayed to the Lord that before he took me home that he would allow me to go on a mission trip,” the 71-year-old woman said.

During the trip, Myers befriended a 12-year-old girl, Bailey Harrington. The older woman said the Milan girl “came from a very rough situation” and Myers wanted her to see other people experience just as trying or tougher ones. 

It was when Myers, Harrington and a group of church members were interacting with a family in their Kentucky home when Myers saw the girl start to take initiative.

The family needed $400 for a treatment for their dog. Myers said the family wasn’t willing to pray with them or open up much until Harrington suggested they pray for the dog.

“That’s all it took,” Myers recalled. “It was her interaction that started it.

“From that time on, Bailey just seemed to shine. She wanted to be involved in everything,” she added.

Thirty parishioners, ranging in ages from 7 to 71, went on the mission trip near the border of Kentucky and West Virginia. The Foundation Church worked with the non-denominational organization Mountain Vision, which ministers in about 15 locations near Warfield, Ky.

“It’s one of the poorest areas in America,” said Pastor Jeff Watson, who wanted the parishioners to realize there is significant poverty not far from Ohio.

More than half of the participants hadn’t been on a mission trip. The Foundation Church has averaged two to three mission trips annually since 2013. Watson said the objective is to be an extension of God’s love locally as well as globally and many participants expect or hope to make a difference in the residents’ lives, but “it’s amazing that the reverse happens.”

During the trip, the church members distributed food and clothes, Christmas presents and offered free items for children to give to their parents through a Santa shop.

“I had the expectation of walking in and being the superhero,” said Willard resident Randy Hord, who witnessed heartwarming and heart-wrenching experiences as he met the Warfield-area residents.

“They are really, really neat people,” he added. “They have an openness you don’t normally see. There is a special warmth there.”

Experiencing extreme poverty and people who live with a lack of medical and dental care, “tears your heart apart,” said Hord, who was on his first mission trip.

“Your heart goes out to these people.”

Jessica Wise, of Norwalk, was on her first mission trip too. She said she took her 7-year-old daughter, Isabelle Jamison, so she could be grateful for what she has and also experience a different part of the world.

Also Wise wanted to experience something out of her comfort zone. That happened at the Warfield town hall when the mission team was delivering Christmas presents to children in Martin County, Ky.

She said she wanted to “bust out” of her shell, so she ended up talking to a random family. The wife and husband each had lost their parents recently.

“The only shoes she (the wife) was wearing were her flip-flips in 30-degree weather,” Wise said.

As the two women spoke, the wife shared her fears about what disappointments her children might be having.

“When I was praying with her, I felt her pain through my hands in my heart,” Wise said. “It was an amazing experience.”

An aunt of Wise’s husband, Kevin, lives about 45 minutes from Warfield. Wise learned the wife, who goes by Roro, is distantly related to Kevin.

“He (God) saved that family for me,” Wise said. “He put me right in their path.”

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