Decatur First UMC offers intergenerational mission trip


Ralf Henkel & Thomas Jimenez Nickerson measure and cut trimmingBy Kathy King-Nobles
Decatur First UMC

DECATUR -- For the second year in a row, members of Decatur First UMC joined together in an intergenerational effort to serve the people of Oakville, Iowa. Oakville was one of the many communities damaged by the floods of 2008, leaving an already struggling community in worse shape.
In June, 36 members and friends of Decatur First spent a week in Oakville working on five different homes. The homes were in varying stages of re-building. One team was assigned to the “demo crew”, demolishing the floor and rebuilding it. Other crews worked in homes that were close to being ready for the homeowner to move into. 
This mission trip was similar to most mission trips except for the fact that it was an intergenerational mission trip. From the youngest members (9- year-olds) to our retirement-age members, the team worked together to repair homes and share love and hope with the Oakville residents.
The mission team consisted of two children, 11 youth, and 23 adults. Part of the mission included daily story times in the park for the children of our group and for the Oakville children. The children also planted flowers in decorated flower pots for Oakville residents and created skits. While the youth spent most of their time on the job sites, they participated in a book discussion group on two afternoons.
Haven King-Nobles, Teresa Jimenez Nickerson, and Scott Miller work to remove the flooring from a home slated for demolition.  The team hosted a game night in the community park on Tuesday evening and an ice cream social for the community on Thursday evening. The mission team closed each evening with devotions with the youngest to the oldest all playing a part, whether as part of the music team or as leaders of the devotions.
The trip wasn’t about work only. The team took a mid-week break on Wednesday afternoon with most of the group going to a water park in Burlington, IA. Two birthdays were also celebrated that evening. Each team member guessed the total collective weight of the mission team, which was then verified via a trip to the local grain elevator scale. Prizes were awarded for the closest guesses.  
Rev. Kathy King-Nobles, co-leader of the trip, said, “Serving together with children, youth, and adults made for such a meaningful experience. The children loved the story time. They loved to ride their bikes to the works sites and shout out encouragement to the teams. While we were able to help the community of Oakville, we also built significant relationships amongst the adults and young people in our group. The adults served as role models and mentors. The young people enjoyed serving and hanging out together and even though they may not admit it, enjoyed working with the adults and getting to know them.   We are looking forward to another intergenerational trip.”