OS church members head to Hattiesburg to help clean-up efforts

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - With parts of Hattiesburg ripped apart by a Sunday evening tornado, members of the First Presbyterian Church in Ocean Springs knew they had to act quickly to help.

Social media helped put out the word. Scott Castleman is the pastor.

"Yesterday morning, I put on Facebook that I was going to head up here today, and by the time lunch happened, 30 some odd people said they were going to join me and bring supplies and all kinds of stuff," Castleman explained.

The church is not alone. Mark Wells is a church elder.

"We have several other churches that are going to meet up us up there and so as a group we're going to try and clean up and do what we can and take assessment and see what's needed to be done for the future," Wells said.

What lies ahead is a mystery right now, according to Mona Loper with St. Paul United Methodist Church.

"I'm not sure what I expect to see. Knowing that I'm feeling like it's going to be pretty bad. And it's going to be something like we went through after Katrina," Loper said.

If there was one recurring theme on this mission of mercy to Hattiesburg, it's these church members and others from the coast who remember what happened to us seven and a half years ago in a storm called Katrina.

Church member Sonya White hasn't forgotten.

"I'm going because I'm in the medical field and it's important that we help others," White explained. "And when it came down to Katrina, the other churches are what really brought us through."

Pastor Castleman added, "Almost everyone that responded was the recipient of the same kind of mercy ministry in the wake of Katrina. It wasn't hard to get folks motivated to help out."

Before leaving the coast, a prayer was said. With that done, help is now on the way.

Church members say they will take as many trips as the need to in their efforts to help the city recover.

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