Thursday, March 16, 2006

The fence---and the casino

This is the casino on the Biloxi side of highway 90 that collapsed and is falling into the water. Take note of the truck submerged in the water, still there! If you can imagine, 2 other casinos this size were picked up out of the water and carried across the street, one landing on top of a business! I know, it's hard to imagine and still hard to imagine even when you see it with your own eyes!

The other is our friends from home, Keith and his son Jonathan, who will be leaving for their trip back home tomorrow. They have been such a blessing to many people while here this week. We will be sad to see them go as they are a piece of home for us. This photo is them on the highway 90 that collapsed.

Today was the day to get the fence back up around the school playground. As I said before, this was about 300-400 feet of fence. The team from Missouri started it a couple days ago and said they were not leaving until it was done. They finished it this evening and left right after. The school teachers and kids will be thrilled that once again they can go outside and get rid of some of their energy. It looks great. Monty and Keith joined efforts with the guys and who know how many nails are in the entire thing but it took most of the day! Thanks guys!!!!

I had the opportunity to get out and away for alot of the day. Once again, it was the trip to the laundry. This time I was nearly alone while there and got done in record time. It was then the usual errands to Walmart, the bank and refilling of prescriptions. I know my way around pretty well by now and it felt good to get things done, like being back in the world in a way! I also got the dogs to the vet to get their heartworm and flea meds. The sand fleas here are incredible and don't care if you are animal or not. Keeping your ankles sprayed with insect repellant is a daily thing. When your hairless dog gets a flea it's time to do something! :) The girl at the vet flipped out as she had never seen a hairless dog and now wants one!

We had a really special treat this evening for dinner. Keith, Jonathan and Scott had helped one of the teachers get some things in her house organized and to prepare for the tear out of her home. She and her husband have had a difficult time getting the things out of the house and these guys were the boost they needed. They took us all to Biloxi to one of the casinos all you can eat buffets! It was outstanding and she gave everyone a lesson in how to take the crab legs apart and get the most meat out of them. It was a Kodak moment for sure! It was the casino next to the one in the above photo. We all felt like we needed a wheelchair to get out of the place. Jonathan and I especially liked dipping the fresh strawberries in both white chocolate and dark chocolate that was flowing from fountains! It was so nice of them to take us and such an opportunity to get to know each other better.

The local newspaper has published a book about the storm with photos of this area. In the introduction I read some things that I feel need to be quoted so all can read them. It hits the heart of our mission. "Houses of learning and places of worship had their familiar buildings ripped away. Congregations everywhere prayed in parking lots in the shadow of their battered hallowed places. But churches and religious organizations stood in the breach where an overwhelmed government could not, with food and clothes and shoulders to cry on, arms to embrace. Years from now, when historians write the story of Katrina, the unconditional love and compassion of the church and its people cannot be dismissed. Months after Katrina the wounds are still fresh, the hurt still real. And for every individual the loss stung in different ways. This is history, to be sure. But it is also a story of heart and courage and of hope!"

I wanted you to read this. It is not over and will not be for a very long time. It still covers the front pages of the newpapers, still the main topic on the news and the thing everyone talks about. Everyone was touched in a different way and everyone needs to get rebuilt, not just in the construction way but in the spiritual and emotional ways even more.

If you would like to be a part of this rebuilding process by supporting us in our work, you can send your tax deductible gifts to: Vineyard Community Church, PO Box 3277, Bloomington, IN 47402 and please note "Katrina fund" on the check. 100% of your gift will be sent to us to help in every way possible and you will know you are a part of the solution!

May God bless and keep you and we thank you for reading and living this adventure right along with us!

Until tomorrow.....please keep us in your prayers! Love to all, Susan and Monty

PS. Please pray for my youngest brother as he had reconstructive surgery on his leg today. Please pray for a speedy recovery and for movement in his leg! Our entire family thanks you!

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