Vaughn, Sunshine, Jax, Lily and Milo Managan took up residence in the small town of Deweyville, Texas, this summer serving as volunteer coordinators for Texas Baptist Men Disaster Recovery. Each member of the family played a valuable part in the work of helping families rebuild their homes following a devastating flood which damaged more than 700 homes.
Throughout the summer, Vaughn and Sunshine coordinated nine different church and association groups, mobilizing over 200 volunteers from 16 different churches or associations, working on nine homes. The Managan’s children, ages 7, 11 and 13, went along with them each day, delivering supplies to work groups, helping tape and float drywall, hauling limbs and debris from yards, playing with homeowners puppies and learning what it looks like to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
The Managan’s are not expert carpenters or home builders. In fact, they were learning many skills like floating and mudding right alongside volunteers they were training.
“We are not always called to something we are good at, but in those places, you need God more,” Sunshine said. “This fit our personalities – we like being with people and doing hard work.”
Their first foray into Disaster Recovery was in 2013, following the plant explosion in West. The couple felt called to go and help coordinate efforts, but having their family along with them was very important. Vaughn took a two-month leave of absence from his job as an engineer and they moved to Waco for the summer. Three years later, the Managans felt called to begin saving to spend their summer doing similar work. Following the Deweyville flood in March, just miles from Vaughn’s childhood home in West Louisiana, the Managans felt called to go. They contacted Marla Bearden, Disaster Recovery specialist, who put them in touch with Pastor John Fortenberry from Calvary Baptist Church in Deweyville and plans began to fall into place.
“We were doing the ministry of drywall,” Vaughn said of the summer work. “This is what people have needed. Day and night, as long as there were volunteers, we were putting up drywall.”
One of the greatest joys in serving was the ability to have their children with them and teaching them what it looked like to live out your faith through service to those in need. Thirteen-year-old Jax served as his dad’s right-hand man for the summer, riding shotgun in his truck on every project. Milo and Lily made innumerable trips to Home Depot and Lowe’s with their mom to pick up last minute supplies for the day’s projects.
“We needed it as a family and it came at a beautiful time for us to stay connected – sweating together, and talking more,” Vaughn said.
“It is good to hear kids talking about how God is providing,” Sunshine continued. “You don’t always see this in regular life even when God is providing. We are praying the kids don’t forget how God provides here, even the little stuff matters.”
Little things like needing an electrician for work on a house and finding a master electrician on the team who just arrived. Or the local sand factory donating a truck bed full of sand to help create a porch for homeowners Tommy and Evelyn. A porch that was made with pavers purchased by money raised through Vacation Bible School kids from North Orange Baptist Church. Without an operating budget or much funds for supplies, the Managans saw God provide for needs daily to accomplish each task set before them.
Not only did the Managan family help rebuild homes, they also built lasting relationships with the homeowners they served and their children gained several honorary Deweyville grandparents.
At the mention of going to visit Miss Lena, Milo and Lily’s faces radiated excitement. Pulling up her driveway, Lena would wave exuberantly and welcome the children, with the same affection and love. As she walked through her home, which was nearing completion in mid-July, Lena explained the work which was completed by each of the Managans. From the closet that Milo helped clean out, to the seam in the middle of the wall that Lily helped cover with mud and Sunshine sanded down, every ounce of work was met with an overflow of appreciation.
Detailing the many ways God provided for her following the storm, “most of all God sent Vaughn, Sunshine, Milo, Lily and Jax,” Lena shared.
The Managans encourage other families to consider taking time to serve with their children in mission work of some kind.
“Jesus gave us everything, how can we not give everything? People say we are ‘good people,’ but we aren’t. God doesn’t need us, but He chooses to let us be involved and it is such a privilege,” Sunshine continued. “It is worth whatever you have to give up. Even a weekend – make your time count. Don’t waste this time when your kids are under your house – stop talking about it and do something they can do with you.”