Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Better put your shoes on . . .

If you have sensitive toes or get offended easily you just might want to put your shoes on before reading any further -- or just not continue reading -- the choice is yours.  But I warn you . . . I am on my soapbox and ready to "vent" somewhat?

My entire afternoon has been spent seeing the results of what happens when a community is not prepared for a disaster and then due to not being prepared or educated or experienced -- people don't "slip" through the cracks of the system -- the system drops them on their already injured heads and does nothing!

I would like to introduce you to Don --- this is how he is currently living -- these were taken today!

Shocking?  Yes, to say the least.   The real shocker --- the tornados that hit Don's house struck here on May 25th of this year!  Why do I remember so well?  That was the night of my birthday AND this home is less than 2 miles from ours!

And Don IS living in this home just as it is!  Why?  Because he has nowhere else to go.  He was working at the time of the tornado but has since lost that job and is unemployed.  He has no money because he survives on unemployment.  He has no place else to go -- no place!

He "crashed" through the cracks of the system because the system let him crash!

FEMA did not respond to these tornados.  And before you go and get all upset and start blaming the government -- stop -- they did not respond because the proper information was not relayed to them!  The failure was in the local system.  They did not know how to respond due to lack of education and therefore the results speak for themselves. FEMA does not respond unless they are called and given enough information to come in and set up shop.  If they don't get the information . . . you do the math!

So now we are 6 months later and we have been asked to come along side and take over the case -- along with more than are not finished! 

I received a call from Catholic Charities a couple of weeks ago -- I had originally called them here locally to ask if any funding for Michael's rebuild might be available.  I was told that there are no funds for anything non disaster related.  And then only a few days later I received a call from Jane who's based out of Indianapolis but is responsible for any and all disasters from there to the Kentucky border.  She has been trying to bring in volunteers to help those folks hurt by the tornados.  She has been struggling and struggling and heard about us and what we have dedicated our lives to doing and called asking for help.  The "you are an answer to prayer" was sincere as finding anyone who has experience is nearly impossible!  We set an appointment to meet today and she took me to Don -- the priority homeowner. 

My heart sank as we pulled into his driveway!  This is right outside our back door -- in the middle of a stretch where the tornados went through -- the stretch that was so blocked up with traffic of folks driving by and ooohhing and aaahhing at the damage -- everyone knows where it is! 

So why is he still not getting help?  Why, after 6 months has absolutely nothing been done?  No volunteers and no funds!  Sound familiar?  Sure does to me!

Because FEMA wasn't given the proper information and did not come in that also means that SBA, Small Business Administration didn't come in right away either.  They are known for sort of "riding the back seat" with FEMA and offer extremely low interest rates to those who need loans.  When SBA did get here Don was quick to apply.  He was turned down -- because he is unemployed and so has no way to repay a loan, no matter how low the interest rate is!  Strike two!

So now we have yet more paper work to complete.  The state of Indiana has funding available -- a maximum of $5,000 to rebuild!  Now once again take a good look at those pictures and tell me $5,000 is enough?!

No way!!!  Especially when the house is not structurally sound and must be torn down!  After we get Don out, of course!

So where does he go and what do we do?  He has a detached garage that is about 22' by 28' that we hope to transform into a home for him.  The first problem?  Other than lack of funding and lack of volunteers?  The roof of the garage is damaged, the foundation doesn't meet building codes for a dwelling, the foundation isn't insulated, the concrete floors would need jackhammered to allow for plumbing, the electric isn't strong enough for a home . . . how much longer do you need me to go on?

Have our work cut out for us?  You bet!  Impossible?  No way!  You see, I happen to believe the scripture that says "with God, nothing is impossible."  I've seen His miracles and I believe He is still in the business of performing miracles!

But . . . if the church isn't the building --- it's the people --- where is the church?  It's preached from the pulpits all the time, the word "servant" is quite common, the Bible tells us that faith without works is dead . . . yet . . . where is the church at a time like this?

Yes, I know full well that the economy is tough right now (when hasn't it been?) and prices of everything continue to go up and up --- we are missionaries --- remember ---which means we survive on donations and with 83% of missionaries coming off their fields of service due to lack of funding -- we are praying that doesn't happen to us but . . . where is the church?

Helping Don doesn't take scheduling a trip, finding a place to stay, raising money for food, being away from your family for a few nights ---- he is right out our back door!

And if we -- as the church -- have been "commanded" by God to "love your neighbor as yourself" then what kind of love is this!!?? 

Like I said, I am on my soapbox -- the same one I've been on for 6 years now.  God gave me a heart for helping others -- some might say to a fault -- and God also gave me the gift of words and speech!  He gives us gifts to use and it took Monty to tell me that I need to use these gifts!

If I don't speak for Don, and the thousands of other people we have helped over the past 6 years -- then I am not fulfilling the calling God has placed on my life.

I take that calling seriously!  That calling gives me life and hopefully hope to those in such desperate need to see the love of Jesus for them through someone else!  I am not special.  I am no different than you or your neighbor.  I am just one woman who knows that God has called me to reach out and help others. 

Is there a moral to this blog?  That is between you and God. 

I just felt the need to tell the story in full truth, to show you the pictures -- the reality --and hopefully not step on too many toes in the process.

Until next time . . . please pray for another miracle!                    Susan and Monty

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