So I have very mixed emotions right now. The youth choir is going on tour in Mississippi. We leave Saturday at 6am. I easily forget the plight of the people on the coast once I get caught up in my own little world, but how sobering that a church youth group from Florida is going to my home town to do mission work. Not vacation bible schools or backyard bible clubs, but construction and painting--physical labor for a literally broken community.
I remember my dad told me about how much of an impact churches were having on the coast in the lives of people who weren't believers. Because churches kept coming down and bringing fresh bodies to work, these folks started to see the true love in the hearts of so many who continued to offer whatever assistance they could. I love the beauty in that. The Church being the Church. Reaching the hurting, finding the helpless, touching lives with love.
I really haven't said much about Katrina. Part of the reason is because it's just so much to comprehend and way too significant a wound on so many lives to try to muster into a few paragraphs. More so, I think until I realized a group was heading down there from here (Florida), I didn't really mourn. Stupid I guess, but mourn's the right word. It's your home, your way of life for however many years. Memories. Loved ones who will never ever be the same. I guess being in Clinton, some 150 miles from the Coast kept me far enough removed from the tragedy at the time, that I was able to grieve in the 9-11 way. I didn't know any New Yorkers, hadn't ever lived there, never climbed to the top of the World Trade Center Towers. But Biloxi, MS? The Ocean Springs Bridge? FBC Gulfport? All of Highway 90? When I started hearing the group talk about this place or that place, we'll be singing here and working there, I, my heart sank. It hit me. I know THOSE places and THOSE people. I've been there, I used to eat there, I grew up there.
It's been like 9 or10 months now. But the hurting, the helpless, the hopeless people of the Coast are still there. Maybe fewer than initially after the storm, but they're still there. Still stuck in tents or 10 foot FEMA trailers. Some have roofs now, others have moved on. But still others find their mortgage covers a measly slab of concrete and heaps of memories like debris. I dont want the prayers to end or the support to quit coming. I don't want the people I know and love to be forgotten unfortunately not unlike so many people off in distant countries. I kept the distance, and I've missed out on opportunities to serve and love and minister. But more so they've lost out on that from me. God's sovereign. No doubt He'll work with or without me. He rescues the helpless; He's a refuge to those in need. I just want to be a part of His working for His glory and His kingdom. So this week will be that chance, even if it took me coming from further away than where I was when Katrina first landed.
Biloxi Sonic on Highway 90.
First Baptist Church Gulfport.
Strong winds I guess.
Walmart in Long Beach or Pass Christian. Apparently the winds were enough to gut the place, but not enough to bring down the security cameras. And I know they didn't just put them up to guard the rubble.
Days Inn in Gulfport. Someone's house in Long Beach. The front of the 2nd floor collapsed, giving it the ramped up look.
Economy Inn in Gulfport.