These photos were taken last night.
We attended a memorial service held in Pascagoula at the high school football stadium. The minister officiating referred to it as "holy ground". It was just the beginning of the numerous memorial services marking the 1 year of Katrina, tomorrow!
The newspaper today has 4 complete sections commemorating the service of volunteers. I would like to quote some of the comments as they are my thoughts and feelings also.
"The volunteers that have come to help have made the terrible no just bearable, but joyous."
"The impact has been phenomenal. So many people are repeat visitors. We had so many people answer God's call."
"Their zeal -- there's no difference. They are wide eyed. The change that happens to them is bigger than what they do." This was describing how many volunteers feel God's primary work is in people and God's secondary work is performed through people.
"No trumpets sounded, no parades rolled and often no official welcome or direction was given. But each of these champions will remain larger than life heroes, forever in the hearts and minds of South Mississippians.
They rescued those who could be saved and recovered those who couldn't. They provided shelter and brought food, cleaning supplies and oh, so many clothes. They came alone and in groups. They gave money and time, both sacrificed from their families and jobs. They gave love and compassion, shoulders to cry on and invaluable skills, anything to help ease the pain of our broken homes and hearts.
Against government orders and requests to stay away, so many volunteers came with one thought in mind -- to help our devastated communities. Truck drivers, teachers, attorneys, homemakers, doctors and many others loaded vehicles with emergency supplies and drove to the wasteland they had seen on television."
Quoted below are more comments from those who received help. These came directly from the newspaper, and these comments were paid for by the victims.
"May God bless you for all your help and prayers. We would have never made it without you."
"Thank you for all you did, for your smiles that took away our fears, your acts of compassion we will always remember through the years."
"They know you are Christians by your love. Your amazing ministry rebuilds not only roof and homes, but hope and courage. God bless your commitment."
"I couldn't have made it through post Katrina without you."
The following is from another article about volunteers.
"Seemingly before the wind stopped, certainly before power was restored, they began arriving. The initial wave brought the food, the drink, the clothing, the gasoline to get through those first desperate, chaotic days. The second wave brought hammers, saws, shovels, drills, all the tools necessary to begin removing Hurricane Katrina's afterbirth. As summer turned to fall and fall to winter, they came, wave after wave after wave. From near and far, points domestic and international, some 350,000 volunteers set aside their lives to help us rebuild ours. AND THEY STILL COME! To paraphrase one volunteer, they climb, pound, beat, lift, drag, haul, scrub, sweep, crouch, sweat, tear, chop, fall into bed exhausted and rise to do it again."
All of these thank yous go out to all of you who have volunteered. These mear words cannot begin to describe the feelings of those here. But words are the only thing they have!
On behalf of Convoy of Hope, Monty and I would like to thank you for your sacrifices, your love and your prayers.
Tomorrow is a day of remembering, a day of both sadness and hope. The hope would not be here if not for people such as yourselves.
THIS EFFORT IS FAR FROM OVER! As a song once said, "we've only just begun..." (ok, I gave away some age there but it was for a good cause!) :)
May God bless all of you as you continue to keep the coast in your prayers and you continue to do what God commanded us all to do!
"In as much as you have helped the least of these, you have helped Me."
Thank you and God bless .... until tomorrow .... 8-29-06.... a new year! Susan and Monty