The sound of circular saws and hammers could be heard at the end of North Central Avenue on Wednesday where Scott Duncan was leading a team of volunteers to repair and remodel the Rios’ family home.
Duncan, who owns a construction company, took a week off from work to join about 400 others from four Tyler churches to take part in Marvin United Methodist Church’s Mission Week 2019.
Members of Pollard and St. Paul’s United Methodist churches and Iglesia Vida Abundante teamed to repair and remodel three homes, paint restrooms, make blankets, sew dresses, sanitize used medication bottles and make encouragement cards.
Duncan suggested the Rios’ home be a project for Mission Week. He took on the role of crew chief to guide the other volunteers through expanding a bedroom closet, putting in flooring, hanging drywall and paneling, replacing siding and windows and painting the exterior.
“God has blessed me in ways I can’t even talk about,” Duncan said.
Duncan said he does Mission Week because Marvin United Methodist Church supported him through hard times in his life and now he works in a capacity that allows him to give the same support he received.
As Duncan guided the team with the heavy construction efforts, Anne Pattullo, 73, and Marilyn Newman, 65, both of Tyler, and two other women painted the exterior of the house.
Newman said she is a new member of Marvin United Methodist and this was her first time to do Mission Week.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s rewarding,” Newman said. “I will be doing it again.”
Pattullo said she has participated in Marvin United Methodist Church’s Mission Week almost all of the 31 years the church has held the event.
“I’ve done this every year, except that one time I got pneumonia and the half a week I had to sit out because I fell off a ladder,” Pattullo said as she dipped her paint brush into a pail of white paint and covered the faded green paint on one of the window frames on the front porch. “The blessings we get from doing this are greater than what we give.”
Duncan said he came over to the Rios’ house about three months ago when he got word the house was selected by the committee.
“There was a water pipe spraying water under the house,” Duncan said. “I pumped about 150 gallons of water from under the house. The humidity, termites and water rotted the floor.”
Duncan said places in the floor sunk about 6 inches due to rotting boards and other issues.
“There are seven people who live in the house,” Duncan said. “They only know we’re replacing the flooring and the siding. It’s going to be a surprise for them.”
Duncan said the elder Rios is in Mexico with a terminally ill family member and the other family members have found places to stay while the work is being done.
“We’re doing good on time,” Duncan said. “We should have everything done by the end of next week.”
Mission Director Melissa Brigman said church members made written suggestions on the potential projects and a committee determined which needs could be met during Mission Week.
“We have people ranging in age from 5 to people in their 90s,” Brigman said. “There are outside projects and inside projects like making blankets and princess dresses.”
The youth mission teams visited nursing home facilities and went to Alto on Wednesday to fill backpacks with school supplies for students affected by recent tornadoes.
Mary Beth Dawes had enough volunteers to set up an assembly line to sew more than 50 princess dresses. The reversible dresses are being made in six different sizes. They will be sent to a church in Tennessee for distribution to children in the Appalachian Region.
“One lady cut fabric all day,” Dawes said. “Another lady ironed and some of the children organized buttons that looked like they belonged together.”
Brigman said another group is working to sanitize medication bottles that will be given to medical mission teams who will reuse the bottles during their work.
Another group made blankets that will be distributed to youth who are in crisis at a local hospital.
The 31st year of Mission Week began June 14 and will end Saturday with a closing ceremony.