By Rama Salim

My biggest highlight in 2018 so far was when I went on a mission trip to Houston Texas with my former supervisor and many other adults and young adults of good faith to help the people who were affected by the hurricane. This is a group that was formed by a religious organization of Orchard Park, and of course I’d give the credit to Rev. Dick Young (minister of the Orchard Park Presbyterian Church) and his assistant for making this trip possible. Given the fact that we were going to rebuild houses that were ruined by the flood, I had no kind of skills but I still wanted to go. Even if it would be picking up trash for 7 days I wouldn’t mind because that would mean something to someone. God knew my intensions were to help others therefore, he gifted me with wonderful group leaders who taught me how to use tape measure, and put up dry wall. This group of men and women put hands onto 4 houses and at the end of the week in Houston there was a great turnover on those houses.

One thing I can remember always about this trip is that everyone worked together and helped each other. One thing I’ll never forget is when I got up on the roof (my first time ever) so, as we were removing shingles, I remembered my co-worker here at church said to me "Rama don’t forget to take pictures and send them to us when you get there." So then I stood up and gathered couple of folks and called Rev. Dick Young to take a picture of us so I could send it to my co-worker. During the picture taking process, something funny happened and we all started laughing and so I lost my balance and now am falling. Almost going to the ground but these great souls caught me and said to me “no you not, we got you brother.’’

What I am trying to say is that regardless poor, rich, religion, color, or ethnicity it’s fair to say we are all citizens of the universe therefore, everyone deserves better and a second chance of happiness in this life. If I had fallen to the ground I could’ve broken bones but it didn’t happen because the face of God was around. After one week we left Houston and returned home safe. I came home with some experience and it was an adventurous mission trip for me. Thanks to the whole crew, Elena Delgado (former supervisor) and of course Presbyterian Church of Orchard Park for making this happen.

Now that I am back to work I am fully prepared to working with our newly installed pastor Rev. Dr. Kenneth Hughes and to provide him with all the support he’ll need from me to continue having First Church as the house of God and the safest place possible.

[Click here to see video from the Houston mission trip.]