AAA Students Return to Mississippi To Aid Hurricane Victims

January 01, 2007 | Jondelle McGhee

For the second consecutive year, Auburn Adventist Academy (AAA) students and sponsors traveled nearly 3,000 miles by bus to bring aid to hurricane victims.

Despite the 52-hour drive from Auburn, Wash., to Pearlington, Miss., the students were eager to respond to the needs of those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Returning to the same town where they had helped gut houses last year, a team of 16 students plus faculty members spent the week of Thanksgiving rebuilding homes. This year, instead of tearing down mold-blackened walls, shoveling rubble from houses, and extracting debris from contaminated water, students and staff put up insulation and drywall, painted interiors, and cleaned yards.

The Mississippi mission trip group was made up of both students who participated last year, as well as others who were inspired to join after hearing stories from their friends.

“This was my first time to Mississippi,” said Shelby Paulsen, sophomore student from Edgewood, Wash. “I went on the trip because I wanted to do more mission work, and I knew I could have Thanksgiving any time.”

In addition to rebuilding homes, students worked at the Pearl Mart, an elementary school gymnasium converted into a food bank. Students organized the clothes, toys and food that had been donated for anyone who needed them.

Traveling to bring aid to the hurricane survivors not only made an impact on the people they helped, but on the students themselves.

Vishesh Narula, senior student from Thailand, said, “Going on this trip reminded me that nothing in life is more valuable than relationships. Even when the people lost their own houses, they would still go and help their neighbors.”

When asked what was the best part of the experience, Narula said, “I really liked being able to witness God to others.”