Wednesday, August 23, 2006

"Catch up" day

Having a chiropractor in the group of volunteers is one of those added blessings we enjoyed when the team from New Jersey was here a couple of weeks ago. Hey Steve, we sure could use another adjustment about now!! :)

Today was one of those days not filled with a bunch of excitement or big news. But it was one of those days where paperwork can be gone through, where clerical things can get done and where just plain "stuff" gets taken care of. It might not seem like there would be much clerical to do in a relief effort like this. Wrong!!! It just seems to pile up, get pushed aside and waits for days like this.

Maybe I should explain the "process" that happens here. When people call us for help the first thing we do is talk with them and complete paperwork telling us about them and their situation. This isn't done in a couple of minutes and can be quite lengthy. Everyone has "their story" and it needs to be told to give us a better understanding of where they are in their rebuilding. An example: today I received a phone call from a gentleman who needed help on his house and on his girlfriend's mother's house. Taking two houses at once is a challenge. Both he and her mother are senior citizens and disabled. She had a contractor who came in and did some really shoddy work and then walked off the job, never to be seen again! And of course, she had already paid him a substantial sum of money! These kind of contractors should hope I never get the chance to see them face to face!!!!

His house is located nearer the water and he lost everything. He has been trying to get a few things done and all those few things has consisted of is gettting it torn out. He not only needs the physical help, he needs help with getting materials also. By this stage in the game he is approaching desperation and feeling lost in the shuffle of life in general.

Each time we receive a call (and there can be 10-12 a day sometimes) our hearts go out to them. If only we could tell them that we would have a team right over there and would work until we have them done and back in their homes. If only.... It just doesn't work that way! What we do tell them is that they are now "on the list" and that is step one. When it looks like we might be able to get some volunteers over to help we will call them back and schedule a time where Monty and I will go and see their house. We never send volunteers someplace that we have not checked out ourselves first. The caller seems to understand but yet I can always sense the feeling of just being on another "list" and that list just floating out there in never never land.

Trying to decide who gets help and when is tougher than I could ever have imagined! The book we currently have probably has over 200 people on "the list"....waiting. The selection process is something that must first be taken to prayer, hard prayer. God is the only one who can tell us who is next in line. It can be heart wrenching and confusing and down right tough! But God always sends us where we need to be and we trust fully in that leading. God's timing is always right, never too early and never too late.

Next week we will be making those calls, scheduling those visits and trying to decide who gets to the top of the list. Since we have finished Barbara's, it's time to bring another one in the list. I would ask you to pray that God sends us the "right" one.

I haven't even touched on just how more difficult it is when we do go and see the homes and talk, in person, with those who have lost so much. We usually go to 2-3 a day. Emotionally that is all I, myself, can do. It rips at my heart to see the devastation, to hear their stories and to see the looks of despair on their faces. THIS is where the ministry comes in! THIS is the other side of the relief effort. No matter how hopeless their situation seems on the outside, we MUST give them hope, we must let them see Jesus through us! THIS is once again where we need your prayers, for wisdom and strength! THIS is what God has called us to do and THIS is our mission!

This is the beginning process. We thank you for all your prayers, for coming along with us on this mission.

With the one year anniversary only days away there will be more news coverage on the TV. We pray the "real" situations will be shown, that the "real" hearts and lives will be shown to the world once again. Everyone must realize that there is sooooo much more to do, sooooo many more people whose lives are resting on the hope that their name will be pulled from "the list" and they will once again be able to go "home".

May God bless all of you in your homes!

Until tomorrow .... Susan and Monty

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