Thanks to all who have been praying for us and following us along on this trip.
Usually on Wednesdays, we are encouraged to knock off after a half to see some things and experience more of the area we are in. Traditionally, we have gone to look at the Lower 9th Ward and other areas. This time, though, most of us took the hour and a half drive to Biloxi to see some of the home owners we have worked for in the past. From Biloxi 1, we got to see Nate and Isaac both. From Biloxi 2, we visited with Cici and Ida Mae. From Biloxi 4, we got to see Thomas. All were happy to see us and told how they have been since seeing them last. We also visited a favorite restaurant from the past: Lil Ray’s. We decided it really was important to see and reconnect with these people again as it continues to show God’s love in tangible ways. We have not forgotten about these people after our work projects are done. They are still important to us and significant, to us and to God.
Bob’s group worked a half day and mostly finished mudding and taping. They also started putting a deck on the back of the house. Howard’s full team worked a half day, but Howard, Corrine, and Ginger stayed and continued working on projects in the house. Howard reported a long list of things they accomplished. But he also said that he feels that now that they have laid a lot of groundwork, they can get started toward the places they should have been on Monday.
While in Biloxi, we also had an opportunity to speak with Reverend Elijah Mitchell. Rev. Mitchell was the coordinator of disaster recovery in Mississippi for the first two years after Katrina. He now pastors a church just north of Gulfport and is very involved in ministry to the homeless. We asked him for his perspective on the barriers to recovery and the long term impacts. Many people are asking why, after four years, in America, are we still not recovered? Rev. Mitchell and his wife pointed to some systemic and institutional problems dealing with insurance and access to resources. We also asked him what the best way we, as individuals and churches can help serve those that are still suffering from the effects of Katrina. He said the best way is to “adopt” a family. We asked how to go about doing that and he said you just DO it. It’s not a formal arrangement through any agency. He knows of churches, cities, and even the “State of New York” that has “adopted” families still in need. He explained that when we adopt a family, or a home, the people there get more of their needs met because there isn’t a red tape agency bottle neck of any kind. To me, this feels messier, and kind of scary. How do you find families to “adopt?” What is the time commitment? What is the money commitment? What if you don’t agree with their lifestyle? There may not be easy answers to any of these questions, but they are legitimate things to think about. And while it feels messy and scary, it also seems very right. God’s economy and our economy are not the same. God is not bound by FEMA regulations or donation caps. God is in the business of restoration and redemption and love. If we can show that or better, BE that love to a family, then I think we are doing the right thing. This is God’s people serving each other in love as each’s own part of the Body. (Remember, Pastor Dave talked about being a part of The Body at Commissioning!)
Bob and Pete ate raw oysters.
Howard’s team found some old whisky bottles from the 1930’s. They look like they had been hidden from someone.
Kim disturbed a mound of fire ants which then ate her, me, and Lewis. (Thanks, Kim!)
Lewis was startled by a lizard. We decided that it’s partially because it looks like a micro-gator.
I posted more pics on the picasa site. To access them, click here
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