Before I even get into our trip and "landing" I have 2 extremely urgent prayer requests.
1. Please pray for Monty's uncle Larry. He has been suffering with pancreatic cancer for months and they have called in the family tonight. We ask for prayers of peace, the kind that surpasses all human understanding.
2. Please pray for Diane's mother. She suffered a heart attack today. They did get her to the hospital in time and after placing stents she appears to be doing well. She is not a young woman, a mother of 13 and could use healing prayers from all of us.
Now, as you can see by the photos we did make it out of the frigid temps of home in Indiana and after 2 days on the road we landed yesterday late afternoon. I must admit that I have never in my life officially "camped" until now. We are in a state camp ground, surrounded by shade trees and were even able to russel up a real campfire this evening. If you have spent any time here at all you know that the only way to ward off the gnats, the no-seeums and the mosquitos is fire and smoke. Yes, they are all out and were more than ready to greet us as we got the trailer set up. The temps themselves are in the mid 60s and wonderful. Being in the shade is a real treat for us as our past near 2 years had us on the back side of a strip mall, facing the south and on concrete. We are so thankful to Rebuild Jackson County for making this location possible for us.
Speaking of Rebuild Jackson County. . . that is the organization we will be assisting over the next months. This organization has been established since shortly after the storm and is where I would come each Monday morning to meet with all the relief agencies in the area. No matter what the title overhead, Lutheran, Methodist, Amish . . . we all came together around the table and did what we could do to meet the needs of those who lost so much. What a thought - - - everyone working together and no labels!! Now I know why I was at each meeting. They are the ones who welcomed us back, who set us up in the park and with whom we will be working. We will be construction coordinators, once again coordinating the volunteer teams with both their stays while here and the work they will do while here. There is quite a bit of new construction going on and still much rebuilding to be done. Right now there is one gentleman, Moses, who is overseeing every project and he is welcoming us with open arms, and one of the biggest smiles I've seen in awhile! The thought of having both of us come in and help brought on that smile.
Many of the relief efforts have closed their doors having run out of funds. Others are still operating but not knowing how long they will last. Still others are under "reconstruction" themselves. This relief effort is constantly changing, no way to write a book as the minute you think you've "got it" you have to change the way you are doing it.
We are so thankful to God -- and all of you --- for making it possible for us to return to the field. The needs are still sooooo great and we hope to just make ourselves available for God to work through us and use us as He sees fit. We know and trust He has the manual, He has the chapter already written and it is our prayer that we are open to hearing His Word and obedient to follow that Word.
We do not have internet access in the park so we will be doing the best we can traveling to the coffee shop in the mall or using whatever access we can locate. It is still my hope to keep you updated on a daily basis as I know there is going to be alot happening and we will need your continued prayers and support to keep up with everything.
One other note, I did stop in and visit with Ms Faye today! Surprise! Surprise! She could REALLY use your prayers also. She knows no other life than with Mike Sr and is having problems with isolating herself. She is so lost and so alone. Even with all the reassurance in the world it still doesn't make up for the lonely evening and nights. And to "ice the cake" Mike Jr is facing the consequences of a very poor decision he made last spring and will be incarcarated next week and most likely for a couple of months. The judge will make the final decision on the time next week. Please pray for both of them. We all know we learn our biggest lessons from our biggest mistakes. May this be the case with Mike Jr.
We thank all of you for your prayers. They are priceless! Just as much as we know God has called us here to do this work we also know satan will be attacking from every angle, and from some angles we don't even know about yet. Please continue to hold us up and please continue to hold up all those along the Gulf Coast who are still hurting.
Blessings to all until next time . . . Susan and Monty