Saturday, November 18, 2006

New Orleans visit

Today we took the opportunity to travel and visit with another relief effort located in New Orleans. You can see that it is the Vineyard Church effort. The bottom 4 photos show it in more detail. There weren't too many around as they are traveling home for the holiday. This next week they are closed down due to that fact. We did get to visit with one of the relief workers for a few minutes. This Vineyard has a congregation of nearly 1,000 on Sundays. We learned they just got into this new facility a few months before the storm. It's nice to see how other efforts are working. This one is concentrating alot of their efforts in the lower 9th ward and will have more work than they can handle for who knows how many years! But sad to say, they are like the rest of us and have seen the volunteers slow down. They are still coming but are much smaller teams and only one each week. We were still amazed at the devastation, in most places it looks as if the storm happened yesterday.

You can see from the top 2 photos, one taken in Bay St. Louis and the other in Waveland. The line of trees used to be a line of wonderful old southern homes. Now there is absolutely nothing but nearly dead trees and wasteland! And this goes on for miles and miles and miles all along the coast to nearly a mile inland! Yes, alot of the debris has been cleaned up or atleast piled up. There are still FEMA trailers being brought in for the residents that are left. Most of the east side of New Orleans is dead -- that's the only way I can think to describe it! You see nothing of life, no people, no animals, no businesses, no anything! It's just so hard to describe it until you actually see it for yourself!

We had not taken the opportunity to see Bay St. Louis or Waveland yet. It's just mile after mile of nothing, just broken trees and weeds growing where someone used to live and have a nice home and yard. There aren't even broken signs to tell you what used to be there. And forget about finding your way by reading the street signs, they don't exist! And this is nearing the 15 month mark!

Once again I come to you, pleading ... think about coming and volunteering! The new year is just around the corner and everyone will have new vacation "renewals". What a better way to spend atleast part of your vacation blessing others. You will find that the blessings are returned to you in great abundance! THAT we promise!!

Thank you for keeping us in your prayers. Please keep these residents all along the coast in your prayers. The suicide rate is up 900% down here -- yes, you read it correctly -- it's not a typo! Take those prayers with you to your church tomorrow and pray them with your entire congregation! There is power in prayer, we see that power each and every day and thank you for remembering all of us!

Until tomorrow .... Susan and Monty
PS Happy Birthday to my brother, Mark! I love you and really miss you!!!!!

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