Bringing Brothers Together
From the beginning, it has been a goal of Palmer Home for Children to keep sibling groups together, and hopefully, eventually reunite them with their family. For the past four years, Palmer Home has also been a part of helping bring two adult brothers together for one week out of the summer.
Ray and Steve Carlson grew up in Picayune, MS. Through life’s journeys and adventures, Steve is now living in Gulfport, MS and Ray is living 416 miles away in Hazel Green, AL. Although they grew up in Mississippi, they never had the opportunity to work with Palmer Home and be a part of the ministry there. Six years ago, all of that changed.
When Ray Carlson and his wife Cindy lived in Millbrook, AL they were part of a church who sent teams to Palmer Home. Unfortunately, they were never able to join the trips, due to schedule conflicts. When the two came to North Hills Presbyterian in Hazel Green, AL in 2009 after some time overseas for ministry, they knew they wanted their new church to be involved in helping a local ministry. When they gave the congregation three options for ministries to invest in, Palmer Home was the clear choice. Since that decision, the church has been able to send 5 teams over the last 6 years.
Four years ago, Tom Greene, director of facilities and operation at Palmer Home for Children, called Ray to explain the details of the construction project his church’s team would be involved in during their week at Palmer Home. In turn, Ray called his brother, knowing that Steve’s background in construction would be a huge help to the team. Stephen agreed to come, and enjoyed the trip so much that he returned to his church, Northwood Church in Gulfport, MS, and told the director of missions that their church should send a team to Palmer Home every year as well! Since then, Northwood Church has participated in trips to Palmer Home each year, with every group being larger than the one before! Soon, Ray and Stephen decided to coordinate their churches’ trips to help make a larger impact, and to be able to minister along side one another.
Both Ray and Stephen agree that working at Palmer Home together each summer is a unique and encouraging opportunity, and a great chance to see how the Lord is at work in their lives and churches. Their week together is a time when they are able to physically see two churches unite under one mission from God to help those in need and bring glory to His name. It seems that Palmer Home’s goal of keeping siblings together might just be working in more ways than one!