Amazing! NOW I see why satan was fighting us so hard!
The trip was incredible and MUCH thanks to everyone who played a part!!!!!!
On Friday morning (after a good nights sleep) we met Pastor Chad at his church in Woodstock. That is between Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. He gave us a tour of the church and we were thrilled to see that they have a basement to go to when those "just in case" times actually happen!
He then guided us into the heart of Tuscaloosa and the relief center! More shocking sights of everything devastated! The relief center is strategically located -- in the heart of what used to be governmental housing. There's nothing left -- and I mean nothing!
The folks were lined up waiting for supplies to arrive at the center. We were able to off load everything we had (and that 18 ft trailer was full) within 30 minutes! They lined up at the center and they lined up at our trailer. Adults and children, young and old, healthy and very ill -- everyone on equal ground, everyone looking for hope!
We met so many amazing people; the Americorps young adults who come to work in the center, Samaritan's Purse (Franklin Graham's disaster ministry) and most of all the lady who started the whole thing. She just wanted to "do something" and ended up changing lives and showing everyone who came near her the heart of Jesus in action! What an honor it was to meet her and get just a few minutes of her precious time!
You can see from the pictures the set up of the center, those being served and those waiting to be served. The line never ended the whole time we were there. When we got the trailer unloaded we shifted to Dee Dee's car which was loaded to capacity. The last 2 things we had were boxes of rice that is supposed to have special nutrients for children in it. Out of the corner of my eye I saw 2 mexican kids pass by and when we located their mother she was exstatic to be given both boxes! She couldn't speak English but words weren't necessary! She felt the love of Jesus and that's what counted!
As we were nearing the end of the supplies in our trailer Monty shouted out that we all needed to join hands in prayer and it was such an amazing display of God's love -- you could feel the Holy Spirit just like you feel the shirt on your back! Everyone felt so much better and the smiles shown all across each face -- even the young mother of a 2 week old baby girl who desperately needed diapers and wipes for the baby (we had plenty and she left loaded down)!
I admit that it was tough to leave. I was wishing we had a trailer filled with supplies that knew no end.
It was then time to head out but not before praying for 2 gentlemen who got our attention big time. They were both homeless and assured us they had a place where they went each night. One had a bandage on his arm and he told us all about his kidney dialysis he goes to 3 times a week and has done for the past 3 years. The other gentleman explained that the reason his voice was so raspy was because he had throat cancer. Each one told how they hadn't been living their lives like they should but had turned themselves around with the help of God and that He was what kept them going each day! Tears were streaming down my face as they walked off to who knows where. But they had supplies in their hands and our prayers in their hearts!
Lunch was a quick burger at one of the few places open in the area. It had sustained damage but was up and running and feeding thousands, literally.
After lunch Dee Dee headed east to make a visit to a church she had heard about and that her church had made a monetary donation to. It was east of Birmingham and she had a great visit there. From there she headed north and was homeward bound. It was great to have her come with us and see and feel how God moves in situations like these. She is headed back this Thursday with Rob from our church as he and she and another gentleman go back to do some cleanup work in the Cordova area. They will each be loaded down with bottled water and more hygiene supplies to bless the area. Rob had tears in his eyes when I was telling him stories yesterday after church so I hope he's bringing a box full of tissue for his trip! I love those guys who have such warm and compassionate hearts! A real gift from God.
With our burgers gone and Dee Dee on her way it was time to have the meeting with Pastor Chad that he had requested. He is the head of the Disaster Relief for the Assembly of God churches for the entire state of Alabama and has his hands full. He is the perfect man for this job -- whether he realizes it or not! God chose him and he is already beginning to experience some of the miracles and God moments and connections and blessings! Hang on Pastor Chad because God is about to change your life forever!
The meeting went well and we were able to share some of our experiences, give him some guidance and let him know we are available to help him in any way possible.
By the time we were back in the truck and headed north ourselves it was early evening. We had to get some hours behind us because we had to have the trailer borrowed from Orphan Grain Train back by 1:00pm on Saturday afternoon. So off we went and got a bit over half way home before we stopped.
We made it back with the trailer with 30 minutes to spare and made it back home with less than an hour until my granddaughter's 3rd birthday party. A quick change of clothes and an even quicker packing of her presents and off I went. She had such fun and it was such a blessing to be able to share in her fun and laughter.
By late evening Monty and I were able to eat a bite for dinner and we were down for the night long before 10pm!!!!!!
Yesterday was church and the beginning of our Pastor Dave's 2 month sabbatical -- the first in 25 years! More than a bit overdue!!!!
I had 4 yards to get mowed yesterday afternoon and managed to get them all completed except ours -- which will now wait until tomorrow when I can enjoy being out and working around the whole yard.
Today has been a day of catch up and a day to accomplish quite a few things that didn't get done last week since I was at the trailer taking donations for 4 days.
It's also been a day of reflection for me -- looking back and seeing the hand of God in so many things and so many directions! He never ceases to amaze me and I pray I never get used to it all! What a truly awesome God we are blessed to serve!
Until next time . . . count your blessings and thank God for each and every one!
Susan and Monty