CORNER BROOK — From start to finish, Juanita Jacobs can say she had a hand in a project that will benefit children in need for years to come.
Jacobs was one of three city residents who recently participated in a Salvation Army mission trip to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to build an orphange.
Jacobs spent February working on the project in Layou, while Barry Legge and Dave Higdon helped for the last two weeks.
The trip was organized by Bob and Shirley McArthur, and involved a total of 44 people over the course of the month.
The McArthurs have been leading mission trips to the Caribbean for 25 years. Mission team members pay their own expenses, but the project undertaken on each trip is funded by the Ontario couple.
“Their heart is others,” said Jacobs of the McArthurs. “That’s how they live. They’re Christian people and they’re very giving. It’s not about the dollars that he’s putting out. It’s about making sure this home is well built for the children who need it.”
Jacobs has taken part in a variety of mission trips before, but this was her first build trip.
“I never volunteered myself because I didn’t think I had anything to give,” said Jacobs. She admits to narrowly thinking of build trips as projects for men and that organizers would be looking for people with a background in construction.
But when Legge told her about the opportunity she was interested.
“I was intrigued by the fact that is was an orphanage,” said Jacobs. “A lot of mission trips for me is about meeting people, building relationships and my thought was that I would like to be part of it being built from beginning to end.”
Jacobs is a nurse, and while working on the build, offered first-aid services on site. She also carried bricks, learned to cut rebar and painted.
The mission was actually the third attempt at building the orphanage and Jacobs believes it succeeded because of God.
“We’re Christian people and that project wasn’t in the hands of us. God had that. God’s in control of it all and it worked out.”
And she said it was “amazing and overwhelming” to see the finished project.
Meanwhile, Legge has been going on mission trips with the McArthurs every year since 9-11. His interest came out of a desire to help others, and in the need that was out there.
“And it felt like an obligation that this is what I should do,” Legge said.
Legge is a carpenter by trade and took vacation from his job with Bell Aliant to participate. He said there were some pretty long days as the team often worked until late evening in extreme heat to get the job done.
“You do pretty well whatever is necessary,” he said of the work the team members do.
And at the end of the build the feeling was no different than from any other mission he’s been on.
“Oh as always it’s just an extreme sense of joy and satisfaction,” he said. “More especially this year that we completed something that a couple of other attempts didn’t succeed (in doing).
“But we did it.”
Legge said when the team left, the building was 98 per cent complete and that the money, instructions and arrangements to finish it were all in place.
Higdon has also worked on a build mission in the past. Last year helped rebuild a nursing home and worked on an orphanage and other Salvation Army buildings in Suriname.
Higdon said he wasn’t planning on doing a mission this year. That was until Bob McArthur contacted him and told him they’d like to have him on the team.
“I said ‘Bob I can’t say no to you.’”
Higdon works for Fortis Properties and is a certified electrician.
He primarily worked on wiring the building, but also painted and did whatever else was required.
“It’s nothing like it,” he said of seeing the completed project.
“You have such a good feeling doing what you’re doing to help these people out and knowing this piece of real estate you’re leaving to the country, it’s unbelieveable.”