Allow me to quote something from one of Convoy of Hope's brochures.
"Convoy of Hope is consistentely one fo the first responding relief agencies on site, distributing life-sustaining aid to victims. The organization distributed more than 21 million pounds of food and supplies, but our work is not done. We are commintted to stay engaged with the people of the Gulf Coast through 2007, helping to restore hope as they put their lives back together."
The above is in reference to hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
Today they came here to Gautier and Pascagoula to make sure the volunteers continue coming, that the relief effort continues to move forward and these victims have the chance they deserve to rebuild their homes and their lives.
Late this morning the crew rolled in, cameras and microphones ready to go. We knew they were coming and had been asked to line up a few homeowners to give their stories of how the volunteers had impacted their lives. Each person I called jumped at the chance to be able to give back in some small way. But this wasn't a small way! They not only agreed to tell their stories, they agreed to be video taped and for this taping to be used in a nation wide campaign! They never batted an eye!
Our day started at the home of Delores and Tom. You are able to see them interacting in their brand new kitchen. The testimony that Delores gave was "right on" as the camera crew said! She spoke from her heart and that was exactly what was needed. Nothing less and no more was required! She told how she remembers each and every team, where they were from and what they did in her home. To this day she still talks on the phone and emails with most of them. God was "right on" when He said relationships is what this world is all about! Funny how He's always "right on".
From there we traveled back to see Gladys. It has been weeks since we had seen her and I admit, I missed her! Both her oldest son, Ira, and her youngest, Gerald, were there with her. She is moved in her house but still has things to be put away. That doesn't matter to her. She's in her home! She also spoke from her heart, admitting that her memory isn't what it used to be (she's 93 and entitled to that)! Once again the camera crew got exactly what they were looking for. Even they had a tough time holding back the tears as she told her story. It was hard to say goodbye but I assured her that before too long I plan on coming and visiting her, sitting with her on her front porch and feeling more at home than I have in a long time!
Our final stop was at Barbara's. You can see the entire crew out in front, photographing the outside of her home and doing a wrap up interview with Fory, who heads up the entire relief effort all along the coast with his wife and side kick, Cindi. Barbara was her true, spirit-filled self and the crew was nearly speechless by this point. I think seeing the rebuilt homes, talking with the homeowners and getting to know them, even if for only a very short time, really did touch their hearts and will make creating this new video even more special for them.
When all was said and done the crew had over 2 and 1/2 hours of tape. Their challenge is now to take all of that tape and condense it into 4 minutes! I sure am glad I am not them! But these guys knew what they needed and knew when they had it. They know what they are doing and this video will be outstanding. We now pray it will accomplish what it is meant to accomplish --- bring more volunteers here to help in the rebuilding!
Their hope and goal is to have it ready by the middle of next month. If your church, or any other church you know of, would be interested in receiving a copy to try and inspire a team of volunteers to come down, please contact Convoy of Hope through their website and they will be happy to see that you receive one as soon as possible.
That website is www.convoyofhope.org
Please pray for these people as they put this video together. This relief effort is a long way from over. Convoy is committed to staying and so are Monty and I but none of us can do it without YOU!!!!
God bless Convoy of Hope and God bless all of you.
Until tomorrow ... Susan and Monty