We made the decision ahead of time that today is the Lord's day.
We started the day quite early because of the unusual cold night. Compared to home this is warm but never the less I nearly froze during the night. We do have heat in our camper but aren't quite used to regulating it. Today it was a bit warmer, nearly 45. Like I said, quite cold for this far south.
We attended the Refuge Assembly of God church in Gautier, which is about 20 minutes from here. Steve Kos of Convoy of Hope invited us the other day. It is a small church located in a strip mall area along the main highway. They bought what had been an old grocery and converted it into a church and daycare with their disaster warehouse supplies in the back. We met some really nice people who thanked us for being here and donating our time to help them rebuild.
From there we decided to take a drive to interstate 90 and see where the main bridge between Gautier and Biloxi fell into the ocean. It proved to be quite a tourist spot because you can actually walk out onto the highway and stand on the edge of where it fell in. It is not only breath-taking but unimaginable that something could destroy a highway built of the world's strongest rebar and concrete and make it look like a stack of fallen dominos! Everyone there finds that seeing it takes your breath away. And then you take a look across the 5mile stretch and see the huge casinos in Biloxi that have fallen into the ocean! Once again, no words to completely describe what you feel inside. We met 3 gentlemen who were here for a week, donating their time and talents in electricity. They were planning on making the drive on down the coastline to Pass Christian as we did a couple of days ago. As we were talking with them they expressed the same thoughts and sentiments as we----why have the news broadcasters forgotten about what is going on down here? Why do they lead us to believe that things are nearly rebuilt and all is rolling right along? Why are there not updates out to the public letting them know the reality of the devastation and just how long it will take to rebuild?
We then took a drive along the coastline here in Pascagoula and were pleasantly surprised to see how much of the cleanup had been happening down there. The huge graters, backhoes and dozers were even working today cleaning up the debris of down trees and had cleared most of the mansions that had been destroyed. The grounds had been filled in with new soil; the original soil completely washed away in some places as deep as 6- 8' deep. New grass had been planted and in some cases sod had been placed to try and stabilize the grounds. But the one constant factor is the lack of life. You just don't see people and pets doing the normal living that we are used to seeing. You do see a couple of people still trying to sift through the mess left in place of their home but that's about it. Today we did see a couple of dogs and a cat roaming around. Even they have the dazed and confused look about them!
Our afternoon ended with a trip to the ship yard on the ocean. The shipyard here is the 2nd largest in the USA and it sustained extensive damage also. We got fairly closed to the cruise ship that has been housing so many of those who lost their homes. The buzz here is that those people are being asked to leave that ship but where are they to go now?
We have also seen the lots full of FEMA trailers waiting to be released to people still on waiting lists for them. When you see what we see here and then see all those trailers (homes) sitting and not being used it surely is a crime! People living in tents, with the temps last night below freezing, and all those trailers just sitting there!? Makes no sense!
So our day was a day of not really doing any work but also getting a better feel of the city and it's people. This is their home and just because they live near the ocean and the hurricane hit here doesn't mean they should all up and relocate to someplace "safer". This is America and the last I heard that means we have the right to live where we choose. They have families here, they have roots here and this IS America and ALL are created equal and ALL are children of God. It is up to us to love them, respect them and share God's love with them.
As I have heard many times, "there, but for the grace of God, go I".
We have a busy day ahead of us tomorrow and are looking forward to every minute.
Thanks, as always, for praying for us and praying for the people here!
Thanks also for the comments, they mean so very much to us!
Blessings until tomorrow! Susan and Monty