Out Here Hope Remains

There is hope for the helpless ... Cry Out To Jesus. -- Third Day

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Looking Up...For Hope

Image hosted by Webshots.com by jedobber Jeff Campbell gave me a disk of pictures from the dining hall a few days ago. For some time now we have been asking groups that come in and work to design a ceiling tile to place in the ceiling of the dining hall. I now have a picture of 63 of them located in the picture album linked above (click on picture). They are a great tribute to the spirit of volunteerism and love of Jesus Christ that brought the groups down to help strangers. I want to thank Jeff for this great idea! I wish we had thought of it earlier. I have no idea how many churches have been here and no way to contact them all. As I have communicated previously, we had no idea what was about to happen to us in those first few months! Now when we walk into the dining hall, we're looking up! Margie Kieper's 13th installment of her account of Katrina's impact across the Coast is by far the most personal and the most difficult (for me) to read. The piece ends with a chilling description of ghost 911 calls from empty slabs: One of the odd things that has occured since the storm, probably due to continuing issues with bringing the phone system back online, is that the sub station regularly receives 911 calls from locations that currently are nothing but slabs, from these areas. Answering the call, there is only static on the other end. There is a list of addresses, numbering about 20 in total, hung up on the wall for the dispatcher, noting these locations. We think that possibly the last calls from these locations were 911 calls, and are somehow still electronically in the memory or database of the phone system. I wrote earlier about the three unidentified ladies who perished in Hurricane Camille. They are buried in Biloxi under the names Faith, Hope and Charity. Yesterday two men, one black and one white, who are both unidentified were laid to rest. Their names are 'Will' and 'Strength'. Will and Strength: Unknown Victims of Katrina Buried. Al Sturgeon, in his daily hurricane update today wrote, "It is strange how you still learn things so long after the fact. One of the tragic news stories I remember just after Katrina was of a gentleman wandering the streets physically and emotionally lost after the storm had ended. He told the reporter he had lost his wife in the storm; after hours of holding on, they just couldnt hold each other any longer, and he lost her to the powerful surge. Her last words to him were, 'Take care of the children'. I remember the young female reporter crying with the man, helpless. I remember watching that report and the nauseous feelingthat came with it. Until last night, I thought that story came from New Orleans. Instead, it was just next door to Ocean Springs in Biloxi. The follow-up report last night said that Hardy Jacksons wife's body has never been found." These are haunting times on the Gulf Coast. I think the combination of the anniversary of Katrina and the emergence of Ernesto were really difficult for us. We are hearing from people who are looking for hope, and finding none. One would think that after a year, we would not have people coming to the church building daily looking for help. Such is not the case. In the past few weeks we have met a man who still lives in an abandoned van, with no FEMA camper in sight. We have encountered people who are ready to end their lives. While some are back in their homes and there are monuments going up in the park, there are still 100,000 Mississippians living in campers. I talked to a lady yesterday who wistfully mentioned that she hopes to be back in her home before Christmas. That will be here much more quickly than we would like. She is still waiting on an electrician just so she can get power to her home - a home that was flooded but survived the storm. No power to her house yet ... 12 months later. People are reflecting on their losses, some who lost mates, some lost property, most lost their dignity. Many lost their jobs, and many lost their dreams for the future. The housing crisis is just now getting cranked up, and there are starting to be media reports about it. So we continue to work here ... not just rebuilding ... but listening and hugging and praying. Pray for Mike King. Mike is one of our new members, and a dependable volunteer. He is very ill, awaiting a liver transplant. Sometime in the past week Mike was bitten on the leg by a spider, likely a brown recluse. He has an open wound on his leg and was put into the hospital last night. He has a great spirit, though ... and he's always looking up. Keep him in your prayers! I'm about to go see him. Likely he will bless me more than I bless him. Don't forget to check out my other blog on Crisis Resources. I attempt to update it daily. Also, if you didn't take time the other day to read Bobby Cohoon's article about what we're doing here, please go HERE and do that today! Have a great day wherever you are.