Mission Group Prepares To Leave South Mississippi

It started with one man's vision more than 25 years ago. Now, the North Carolina Baptist Men serve people all over the world.

Shortly after Hurricane Katrina, the group made a two year committment to the coast. Now as that time winds down, leaders are reflecting on their mission work in South Mississippi.   The goal was 700 homes in two years. More than 24,000 volunteers later, the North Carolina Baptist Men are getting close to making that dream a reality.

Eddie Williams is the site coordinator for the disaster relief organization. He says for almost two years, volunteers from across the world traveled to south Mississippi to rebuild and repair homes. But with a slow decline in the number of volunteers, Williams says it's time to pack up their tools and return home.

"We went for over a year and a half, and we were averaging 325 per day. Right now, we are at 150 per day," Williams said.

Next month, the group will begin phasing out of south Mississippi and will be complete by the start of the new year.

"It's been a blessing for us to be here, and there comes a time when it's time for people to start back doing things on their own," said Curtis Thrift, one of the volunteers with the organization.

It won't be the last time you hear from this group of volunteers.

"I don't think they are going to forget about you just because we are leaving. This set up is leaving. I do think that you have stole their hearts, and they will be coming back to help," says Martha Williams.

Williams handles the interviews with homeowners and the finances for the organization.

The group has about 62 unfinished jobs, but with hundreds of volunteers scheduled to come into town over the next two months, they hope to finish everything they've started.

The North Carolina Baptist Men says the projects that they didn't get to, will be transferred to the Gulf Coast Baptist Association.