This is what East New Orleans looks like, 10 months after hurricane Katrina. THIS is what you see EVERYWHERE you look! Not one building is left undamaged, not one! The water slammed cars into campers into boats into houses. In the one photo you will see a white spot on the roof, that is someones side by side refrigerator/freezer. If you will click on the blue house you will see the painting on it, it's for sale for $47,000.
The only thing cleaned up are the streets, and those were done by dozers only. Nothing has been touched with the houses or businesses. The trash is piled higher than the roofs of the houses. Windows are all blown out, doors pushed in and piles and piles of what used to be household belongings are either strewn into the streets or piled inside the homes covered with black mold. The smell of the mold while driving through is quite strong. In some homes you can see their clothing in piles. In others there is nothing left.
Every single business has been looted clean, nothing left anywhere. There was not one gas station open, one restaurant, one bank, one church, one grocery store, one pharmacy, one anything! There is no place to get water, food or any necessities. There were very few people in the streets, a few trying to clean up things but nothing to clean with. The only thing that will clean up anything is a bulldozer. The other people were just aimlessly walking around the streets.
Under the overpass you see the vehicles. The ones they have pulled from the rubble are lined up there. There is no place to go with them so they just piled them there. New, old - it made no difference. There are camper trailers along side of the road, 4 piled together, not one salvagable.
We didn't even take photos as we drove through the 9th ward. The military is still patroling and we went through quickly. After awhile the photos are even too much. There are cemetaries where the bodies were unearthed and are now missing.
It's no wonder relief efforts are not inside the city as yet, you can't send in relief if you have nowhere to house them, no church, no warehouse, no anyplace they can lay their heads. There isn't even power in most places. You cannot bring in volunteers if they have no way to get food or water or noplace to even use the restroom. Not to mention the safety factor. There have been over 18 murders there in the past couple of weeks!
And it's been 10 months! And people think it should be okay by now. I'd like to know the definition of "okay" if this is okay!
Before Convoy of Hope relocated us from Pascagoula to Gautier there was some thoughts of sending us closer to New Orleans. But they just aren't ready yet. They will be, someday, and when they are ready so will we be ready!
As I said last night, the only thing that kept going through my mind as we drove through was I wanted to get out and somehow start helping. My heart was breaking and at the same time God was speaking to me, telling me that we are following His calling on our lives and that there is so much to be done!
There was such a "death" feeling as we went through. I didn't see animals and only a few people. The plants are all gone, the big trees dead from being in too much water. No flowers, no landscaping in the subdivisions, no anything "live". I have never experienced that feeling before and didn't like it one bit! God brought us into this world to experience joy, His joy, and there is no joy anywhere around there! But God also brought us into this world to be His servants, to help His people, to help OUR people! The opportunities to serve will only grow and grow.
Most of this is out of the news by now. We hear a bit about it every now and then but the "newness" is gone. It's old news now and people only want to hear the new stuff!
I'll get on my "soapbox" once again and preach this message until I can't preach it anymore! We need YOU to help the coast rebuild their homes and more importantly, their lives! If you are not here, if you have not been here, you CANNOT fully grasp the depth of this destruction! But you can pray, you can do what you can do! EVERYONE can do SOMETHING! Nothing is too small. No one is unskilled. I beg of you to pray and search your hearts and find a way you can help. Find a way!!!!!!
Today is supposed to be a day of rest but I must be honest with you. Ever since we went and we saw what we saw I have not been able to rest! It stirs me to the depth of my soul and only wish I could use something more than a few photos and a few words to help you to understand! But that is all I have and I pray both will touch your hearts and you will know what you can do to help.
Thank you for caring, for caring enough to keep reading my heartfelt journal, for keeping us in your prayers. This job is not easy, but God did not promise easy! What He did promise is that He would be with us always and that is the prayer we need. Satan has been really tough on us today. Monty awoke to find a flat tire on the van. It had a 4" bolt, yes, a bolt, jammed in it along with 2 nails. It was really beyond repair but the men at Walmart took pity and did the best patch job they could. We need 4 new tires but that isn't in the budget so we look for God to provide in His always perfect timing. I awoke to find the closet where I keep my clothes to be literally infested with ants. They had made their way into my box of bathroom etcs and were imbedded in my toothbrush and covering the toothpaste tube. After alot of cleaning and spray they now are gone. These are the depths that Satan will go to when trying to stop us from doing God's will! he has no boundaries and we are constantly hit from all sides. We NEED your prayers and thank you for holding us up!
This is a holiday week and therefore we have no volunteers scheduled. This means there will be a halt to the work we have been doing in the homes. The homeowners understand this and look forward to when help returns.
Thank you again for all of your support. We love you and miss all of you!
"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me."
Susan and Monty