What a day it has been. And it is Saturday! No such thing as a day off sometimes!
The top 2 photos are where Monty and I started out this morning. We went into the 9th ward to check out a church that the pastor would like to have rebuilt. As you can see by these photos there just isn't much to work with. The outside of the building is coming apart, the floors are completely gone in most places, the walls are so crooked and leaning that the entire building would need to be jacked up and straightened. You can also see that they took the pews, tried to clean them as best they could and then stacked them with the hope of reusing them in a new building. We are at a loss at this point as to which direction we will go. If we tear it down and rebuild it the flood codes will require us to raise the building 3 feet. That's not all that high and would probably be the easiest thing to do but that also requires dollars and there is the problem. Right now the only thing to do is take the entire matter into prayer and see what God has in store. Your prayers would be appreciated also.
The next 4 photos give you some samples of a "mud out". The first left is just the start of the pile of "debris" which is really the entire life of some family. The family is not around, left the city and no one knows if they will return. The home has been sitting with all the belongings and furniture since the storm. The bottom 2 photos tell the story quite boldly! What you see is the kitchen, in case you weren't sure. All the rooms were just as bad. The photo where you see me standing, complete with mask, is the house next door that was done last week. I show it to you so you can get a small idea of what they look like once the mudding and gutting has taken place. I realize this might be shocking to see but please realize that you are only seeing the tiniest bit! This is our reality, this is our everyday, this is why we need help! This is life here, this is what the families came home to see. This was their life, rich or poor, they all came back to the same sites! And this is now nearing the 22 month mark on the calendar! And you thought everything was okay by now! Every single house for over 40 miles looks like this. There wasn't a business, hospital, shopping mall or home left. I only wish I could give you the view we see. The only way to do that is for you to come and see for yourself!
The team doing the mud out was exhausted by mid day and the intense heat wasn't helping matters. We are to reach the 100 degree mark before mid week next week! Combine that with the smell that is beyond description on mud outs and you really see who has the heart of service! Not one of the kids doing this job was complaining! Hearts of servants!
Around noon our team from Kentucky arrived safe and sound. By evening our team from New Jersey returned. Monty and I are especially excited to see them as Pastor Mike and team have been here 3 other times and they ARE family to us and Diane. After getting them settled into their "home" away from home we all enjoyed a great meal together sharing stories of here and there. They just have no idea how uplifting it is for us to have them back, to be able to spend time with them and to see their smiling faces and hearts of love! Both teams will be with us until next Saturday. Pray for their safety as they head out to all sorts of jobs in the area.
Tomorrow is our day to enter into worship and praises to our Lord. We hope you will be doing just that in your home congregation, with your home church families! We all have so very much to be thankful for. Just take another look at the photos above and realize just how much!
Until then . . . Susan and Monty