Constructing an Impact

Taylor Mason, Staff Writer

Picture this: It’s over 100 degrees outside, there’s 85% humidity, and you’re drowning in sweat. The ice in your water bottle is melted, yet you still feel satisfied as the somewhat chill water flows through your veins. On top of these extreme weather conditions, you are outside working all day long.

This past July, sophomore, Lily Manthey spent nine days in Pasadena, Texas, serving people who had been affected by Hurricane Harvey that made landfall in August 2017. Her older siblings had inspired her to start going on mission trips and serving others not only locally, but across the United States. Manthey has been on four mission trips prior to this. She’s been to Colorado, Ohio, Minnesota and Iowa.  

After the very long days of travel, multiple without showers, the camp got right to work that Monday morning.

“I worked with a five person crew including myself and the other members were from Omaha and other parts of Texas,“ Manthey said. “Compared to most crews who had 11 or even 12 members, I liked having a smaller one because it gave us the opportunity to get a lot closer because there were less people to get to know.”

The people affected by the hurricane either couldn’t afford or weren’t physically able to repair their homes themselves. This meaning without the help of this crew, they wouldn’t have gotten the help they needed. Homes were in need of repainting. Siding was desperate to be replaced. Manthey was more than excited to change the life of her resident who she formed a close relationship with.

They pulled up to their site around 8 a.m. each morning and got straight to work. Unloading the truck full of miscellaneous tools was Manthey’s least favorite part, yet had to be done every morning before they could begin working. Their projects ranged from painting an entire house red where Manthey had to climb on a very tall and uneven ladder to replacing multiple doors and windows throughout the in and outside of the house. Manthey liked painting best rather than the construction projects because she didn’t like using power tools

After a long day in the 100 degree Texas heat, they packed up their tools and supplies and headed to their shower home.

“This was a new experience for us this year because we have previously showered at a local gym like the Y or Planet Fitness,” Manthey said. “One year we used a high school locker room which was gross. When we showed up to our shower home, our host would have snacks and drinks prepared for us.This gave us something to look forward to while we worked during the day.“

The crew spent breakfast, lunch and dinner together, which gave them the opportunity to get to know each other better. Manthey liked forming that close bond with her crew members, yet wished she got to have more time with her friends from her youth group.

The week came to a close and the Waters Edge church had a long way home. As they packed up the vans, Manthey claimed that she was excited to head back to Omaha.

“If I could go back, I definitely would,“ Manthey said. “Knowing something I did made such a huge difference in someone else’s life is what gets me to sign up to go again every year.“