St. Andrew's Mission joins others in helping victims


Special to the Advocate
MCCOMB —  Elizabeth Mills had a delighted smile on her face. 

Her case managers from St. Andrews Mission and Southwest Mississippi Recovery Network — one of numerous local recovery organizations funded by Church World Service in the wake of the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes — had just arrived at her home with a building coordinator. They had just told her that within the next two weeks a volunteer group would be rebuilding her home.  

Not a moment too soon, either. Mills had remained in the house even though its interior had been destroyed nearly a year earlier — hazardous black mold, for instance, covered large portions of the walls.  

Mills had nowhere else to go. Now due to the recovery efforts of the CWS-funded recovery group, bits of hope are reappearing in stricken places like McComb and surrounding areas.  

To the Rev. Judy Powell Sibley, a United Methodist minister who heads the recovery organization, these examples of hope are also reminders of the biblical mandate to love thy neighbor as thyself.  

She adds: “While a hurricane the magnitude of Katrina is nearly unimaginable without seeing the destruction for yourself, it has proven to be so much more than that. The ruined areas such as ours, as well as the Mississippi Gulf Coast and New Orleans, have become places of grace where we have seen God’s commandments come to life.  

“We are forever grateful to Church World Service and so many other Christian relief organizations which have helped us — through money, materials and volunteers — and put our love for our neighbors into action.”  

One telltale sign of that work in action? A sign is posted on Mills’ front door. It says “Welcome Friends.” In just a few weeks, Mills will be able to have company over again — a sure sign of recovery.