(EDITOR'S NOTE: Home-Grown Missions profiles missionaries, both full- and part-time, who grew up in area churches. As part of an on-going series, letters home from those serving on the mission field occasionally also will be published.)
MUNCY - The desire to help someone - anyone - in need, just came naturally for one Muncy man.
Frank Foust has traveled around the country with his wife, Millie, and around the world without her on mission trips with that goal in mind.
Frank and Millie Foust, shown at top, look through the various pictures and newspaper articles they have collected over the years that detail their various trips to serve others.
From all of his trips, he cannot pick out a favorite or one that has been the most rewarding because on each trip he has been doing what he loves to do: helping others.
Millie grew up with the influence of her aunt who did mission trips in China.
"I always looked up to her," she said.
NAME: Frank and Millie Foust
AGES: 82, 81
HOME CHURCH: White Hall Baptist, Washingtonville
HOMETOWN: Muncy, Hughesville
HIGH SCHOOL: Muncy Junior/Senior High School, both class of 1948
SENDING ORGANIZATION: They send themselves through various organizations
MISSION FIELD: Helping others however possible
START DATE: 1992
The Fousts traveled to Florida in 1992 and 1993 for six months, following Hurricane Andrew with the Milton Baptist Church. They bought a used motor home to live in for six months as they worked with Habitat for Humanity, helping to rebuild destroyed homes.
They wore yellow shirts, which people soon came to realize meant that help was coming, which made them happy, Frank said.
Millie supervised the cleaning by the women who had to give "sweat equity," which meant homeowners helped build their own homes and neighbors' homes.
There was one woman who constantly would hide when she was supposed to be cleaning.
"Why are you hiding?" Millie asked the woman. 'Cause you make us work.' 'But look at what you have when you do!' "
Cleaning up after a hurricane was nothing new for Frank, who had been involved with cleaning mud in Johnstown following the destruction of Hurricane Agnes in 1972.
In one of the buildings, he had to start cleaning mud on the 13th floor because the firefighters carried it up all the way.
Later, in 1993, Frank was in Mexico helping build a church.
They were on a mountain with no running water and no electricity, yet there was a road for daily soft drinks to come in on. The drinks were kept cool in a cement block building.
"They had to get water with a donkey," Frank said. "It was very dry. Nothing grows there but cactus."
Men would come home at the end of the week after working on a sugar cane plantation.
Frank entertained the children by sitting in a circle with them to have craft time.
During the craft time, he made a necklace out of carved birds, a specialty of his. Later, when the church had been completed, he hung a bird there. He doubts it still is there.
Frank still holds onto a collection of drawings the children made for him, including one child who drew a picture of the church.
In 1994 and 1995, the husband and wife were back on the road to help in Muskogee, Okla.
They volunteered for six months. Frank did maintenance work and Millie worked in the thrift shop at Bacone College.
After working in Muskogee, and before their next trip to Mississippi, Frank went to Nicaragua with a Baptist church in Wellsboro to start a church building. He does not remember when.
In 2005, the Fousts went back south, following the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.
"That was a mess," Frank said. "You can't imagine."
There were sections of homes that were completely wiped out. One of his projects was to clean a backyard. In the backyard was a 20- by 20-foot floor that they could not get up. They had to use a saw to remove it.
Frank had been set to return to the Dominican Republic, but Millie needed a new heart valve and he refused to leave her. Instead, he used the money he raised to travel to allow a minister to go in his place.
Frank now has trouble keeping up with the work necessary for ministry trips because of his knees and
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legs, but he continues to help others by raising money.
A rubble house in Haiti costs $3,800. The structure is made of crushed up rocks and cement pieces so they are earthquake resistant.
Frank raised half of the money needed for a house and donated it.
He raises money by selling his carved birds for $10. The money raised from each bird then is given to support different missions. The only money he asks is to cover the cost for postage.
International mission trips can cost anywhere between $1,000 to $2,000, Frank said. Most of the trips he and his wife went on were paid for by themselves, sometimes with occasional help.
Despite the cost, Frank said, "It's all worth it."
He also gives away birds to cancer centers to comfort the victims.
"When you've seen 80 years, you hope you've done something," he said. "When your health goes down, you have to change to something else. It's rewarding."