Saturday, May 20, 2006
They came, they swam, they burned!
Photos of Bethel College after their performance for the school yesterday. They took time to be in the hallway and greet all of the kids afterwards and took time to listen to one of the teachers thank them for "bringing some magic" to this city!
That crew took the morning and cleaned and cleaned around the building, including mopping floors and cleaning bathrooms. I walked in at one point and saw even their bus driver down on his hands and knees scrubbing the floors. And he thought he just came to drive the bus!!! :)
They all loaded up late morning and headed to Dauphin Island for a day of fun and sun. Goodness knows they deserve it. They will be heading home early in the morning and needed some fun and beach today. What they needed to remember is that this is the southern, way southern, point of the states and MUCH closer to the equator! Even though they used sun screen quite a few of them came back more than a little pink in color! Some of them are sitting with more clothes on than usual due to the fact that they are chilling from the burn. They had a blast though and as kids will be kids, they aren't too concerned! They were thrilled to be at the beach and to stop on the way home and have a great dinner. We will miss these kids when they leave. They have brought youth, which brings energy and life, both highly missed in these days of disaster recovery! We are forever grateful to them and pray for a safe trip home tomorrow and a blessed summer. Hopefully they will return again to spread more cheer and blessings!
We also have a weekend visitor from Houston here. She took the day and toured the coastline from here to near Pass Christian. She is originally from Alabama and drove the route all along Mississippi during a career in sales. She knows this area like the back of her hand and had not seen the devastation! She is shocked to the point of tears and as everyone else, there are no words ---- and she is seeing it nearly 9 months later! We had the opportunity to talk with her this evening and she is hoping to take her photos and stories back to Houston and start bringing teams of volunteers here to help. She said her heart has been telling her to come back here for quite some time and now she knows why. There is just so much to be done and she now must come to the realization, like the rest of us working here, it cannot get done today (or tomorrow). It can be tough to get to that place! It can be exhausting until you get to that place!
I received another phone call from Project Recovery this morning in regard to a house that has been left standing since the storm. The owner is a single lady who is now in the depths of depression and is receiving counseling. She has lost all hope and feels she will never be back in her home. It is one that I will be calling on and Monty and I will schedule a time to go and see the house and visit with her and hopefully reassure her that we will be getting someone over there as soon as we can. These are the "emergencies" that we get all the time. These are the ones we want to jump out there, go and do the work right now!!!! It just doesn't happen that way!! But it could happen that way if we keep the volunteers coming, no matter how hot it gets! We will try and let her know that although it will be a lengthy process, it will be progressing forward and not standing still. Most of the time this is enough to give them some hope and therefore a stand against the depression and then they get more positive and that enables us to do our work even more efficiently. Even though she is disabled, she will be on site while volunteers are working and when they are able to meet her and connect with her they are able to give her even more hope which starts the merry go round going --- in the right direction! As I have said before, and will continue to say as long as we are doing this relief work ---THAT is why we are here! The rebuilding of the houses themselves is the easy part, it's the rebuilding of lives that is tough and yet the most important. God tells us that if we do for the least of these we are doing for Him. There are so many "least of these" here so that means we have alot of work to be done for Him!
Tomorrow is Sunday, our day of praise and worship of our Lord. When you go to your church tomorrow (and please go), please take a few minutes to pray for the people here. Pray for those who are suffering from the depression, pray for those who are so exhausted from working all week at their jobs and then all weekend rebuilding their homes, for those children who will soon be out of school and cooped up in FEMA trailers all day, for those who lost their jobs and have no income, for those who are awaiting word about their loan or insurance settlement (if there is one) or some kind of grant they have applied for, for those who are facing severe illness along with coping with their living conditions, for those elderly who are finding that they cannot do the rebuilding by themselves and have a diffucult time asking for help and finally for all of us in the relief efforts. Pray that we have the wisdom to make the decisions required, the strength both physically and mentally and the resources to do what we need to do. You see, you do have a reason to go to church tomorrow. Unite everyone in your congregation to pray for all of these needs, and even more that I am certain I missed! We all need all of you to pray for us, continually! Without you all of us will lose!
If you would like to really invest, in the literal sense, in this relief effort you can send your tax deductible gifts to us through: Vineyard Community Church at PO Box 3277 in Bloomington, Indiana 47402. All we ask is that you make a notation of "Katrina" on your gift as all of it is sent here, the church keeps nothing!
We thank you for all you are doing and continuing to do!
Phil 4:13 " For I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".
Until tomorrow ..... thank God for all of your blessings .....Susan and Monty