Ninety-five men from different states came to Pass Christian this week with one mission. They're building five houses from the ground up, and repairing three others for families in need.
"We've stepped in and tried to help the people that are older, that are poor, and the government has chosen not to help," said Russell Warmack, a builder from Spartanburg, SC.
The volunteers belong to Men on a Mission, a ministry that started 18 years ago. The men took a week off from work, paid their expenses, and even brought their own food, supplies and equipment.
"I feel like the Lord has directed us to come to help people," Warmack said. "As a matter of fact, we're using all my tools."
The sacrifices they are making are amazing. Take Larry Fairley, for instance. The postal clerk from Richmond, VA, suffered a devastating stroke last June. His wife and children urged him not to go on this trip.
"They didn't want me out in the heat. Don't work too hard," Larry Fairley said. "I said I'm working for the Lord. I'm going to work as hard as my body would let me work and that's what I've been doing, and I have enjoyed it every day."
The men are used to building churches, soup kitchens, and education buildings all over the country, and parts of the world. The project in Pass Christian is actually their first venture into homebuilding.
Despite the 12 hour work days, summer heat, and being away from home, the men say they're the ones who feel blessed for being able to give families a roof over their heads.
"You have the experience of getting to know the individual that's having trouble, and been having a hard time getting into their homes," Warmack said. "Whenever we leave, they're actually able to see something. It gives them a little hope. In my heart, I know that I've done what the Lord told me to do. So that's the satisfaction I get out of it."
"It's been a really good experience, and I thank the Lord for letting me be able to come," Fairley said.
Men on a Mission is planning another trip to South Mississippi this fall. Their building projects are being coordinated by the group Hope Outreach. If you would like to volunteer, call (615)-604-5111.