Young People Transform Grounds of Methodist Children's Homes


By Vernon King, Vice President  of Development, Methodist Children's Home


In Matthew 14:13-21, the Gospel writer shares with us the miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand.  We are told that it is getting late and the disciples advise Jesus to disburse the

crowd so they can go to town to get something to eat.  Rather than taking his disciples' advice Jesus simply states, "they do

Before and after photo of zip line 
and play structure.

not need to go away.  You give them something to eat."  We all know what happens next, Jesus blesses the five fish and two barley loaves and after all are fed the disciples take up twelve baskets full of leftovers. They all ate and were satisfied.  After reading this we might ask ourselves, 'how is it possible that five fish and two loaves of bread could feed so many?'   For miracle stories such as these we simply must have faith and believe that God acts on our behalf and his grace proceeds and follows us. 


Before and after photo of pavillion.

During the week of June 12 - 15, 2013, the youth group for Coalville United Methodist Church in Biloxi under the leadership of Jan and Donald Gum came to the Methodist Children's Homes to renovate the pavilion, basketball and volleyball courts, the zip line and a play structure.  When Mrs. Gum and a handful of volunteers made their initial site visit to the Methodist Children's Homes this past April, they witnessed firsthand how desperately the area needed improving.  Mrs. Gum was not always sure if they could complete the project.  However, as the mission trip started to unfold, so did God's grace.  One of the group's biggest concerns was having enough money to provide for both the project's materials and the youth group's lodging while in Clinton. 


Through the generosity of DDB Construction, Clinton First UMC and generous discounts from the Home Depot, the

Youth that helped out at MCH
Coalville UMC Youth group  
volunteers at MCH.

project was not only completed but the youth group had building materials left over.  During a pre-trip meeting, church members started thinking about how they could acquire some of the materials needed to make the repairs.  David Talbot attended one of the meetings and heard a need for sand. Talbot knew he could count on his first cousin, Dwayne Ballard--owner of DDB Construction--for a truckload of sand.  After DDB Construction delivered the sand to MCH the following week, it was used to create an area for a beach volleyball court.  When Mrs. Gum needed a place for volunteers to sleep, shower and eat meals together, Clinton First UMC provided housing.  Another blessing came from MCH volunteer and friend, Ray Miller.  Miller allowed MCH to use his personal tractor to move and spread the sand.  MCH maintenance man, Nathan Brown operated the tractor to properly spread the sand for the volleyball court.  Finally, Home Depot came through and provided the group with generous discounts to help them spread their dollars. 


The once underutilized, dreary and dilapidated pavilion and playground are now bright, clean and inviting spaces for young people to relax and play.  MCH children can now proudly play basketball, volleyball and have picnics under a newly painted, covered pavilion!  Like the story of the fishes and loaves, the efforts of a few were multiplied and blessed beyond what anyone could imagine.  Special thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Gum and all of the volunteers who helped make this renovation possible!