MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

June 23, 2013

Texas teens visit area for mission work

Church youths spend week fixing up homes

By Liz McMahan
Phoenix Correspondent

— PORTER — Retired minister/deputy sheriff Jack Knight converted the old Peach Capital Café into a residence in 2003 and has lived there since.

His life has changed a lot since he moved in. He’s overcome cancer but now has coronary artery disease and peripheral artery disease. He’s had several stents implanted and last year went in for heart surgery but “flatlined twice on the table.” Now, Social Security disability is his only income. It’s enough to get by on, but there’s no money left over for maintenance on the old building.

The years have taken their toll on his home’s siding, roof and paint.

That changed last week with the arrival of a group of teens from First United Methodist Church in DeLeon, Texas, breathing new life into Knight’s home and sharing their faith with him. They are among 81 members of the church who spent the week working on homes in Coweta, Broken Arrow, Wagoner, Haskell and Mounds. They paid several hundred dollars each for the privilege.

The group stayed at Coweta’s First United Methodist Church until their departure for home Saturday morning.

Brittany Aucoin, one of the girls working on Knight’s house, said it was a blessing to get to do the missionary work.

Bailey Baldock, another member of the group, said: “People say they want to thank us for coming to help. I think we ought to thank them for the opportunity.”

The team working on Knight’s house included Sharon Garcia, who took time away from her family’s brick company. She said the kids were learning a lot. This is the first time many of them had used lopping shears or a saw.

They went home not only having shared praise and worship, but also with new skills that could help them later in life.

The work at Knight’s home included a bright new coat of paint and roof repairs. But Greg Cisneroz, a group leader who is an insurance adjuster in regular life, said they wouldn’t be able to make all the roof repairs the building needs.

It will be a matter of patching and doing as much as they can, he said.

“But he really needs a whole new roof,” Cisneroz said. The most inexpensive fix would be a metal roof, which would require about $5,000 more. To replace the composition roof as it is would take twice that.

Cisneroz said he hoped that another group will step up and take care of that need.