PASS CHRISTIAN (WLOX) -- It's another certain sign of progress in the Pass. Indiana volunteers from the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis hosted a new home dedication Friday.
"Grant to this home the grace of your presence. That you may be known to be the inhabitant of this dwelling and the defender of this household," said Right Rev. Catherine Waynick, the bishop who led the ceremony.
This homecoming is the culmination of a long distance relationship.
Episcopal Church members from nearly a thousand miles away, are enabling Natasha Porter and her kids to move out of FEMA trailer number five and into a new house.
"We needed to raise about $65,000 or $70,000. We had 46 churches to work with, so it was a great effort, a great team effort on behalf of all the churches of central and southern Indiana," said Kathy Copus, with the Episcopal diocese.
Along with the house, volunteers presented the family with symbolic gifts, including a can of food.
"In hope and prayer that you and your family will never be hungry and will always remember and serve those in need," said one volunteer.
A welcome mat was another.
"A symbol of hospitality so that you new home might stand as a welcoming presence of hope in this neighborhood and community," said another volunteer.
The most emotional gift came last.
"I present you the keys to the house," said Kathy Copus, as she hugged the new home owner.
Natasha Porter proudly led the team of volunteer builders inside her new house.
"Oh, how good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity. Above everything, love one another earnestly," said the minister.
The family will never forget the love from Indiana that made this place possible.
"I really can't describe how I feel. I'm just so thankful and grateful. We've come a long way, but we made it," said a smiling Natasha Porter.
"I like it. And I'm just thankful that we got it," added her 16-year-old daughter, Nadia.
Camp Coast Care is the local ministry that helped the Indiana volunteers with the project. That group has helped build 18 new homes on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. They've also repaired nearly 400 storm damaged homes.
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