Waveland Update

I'm leaving tomorrow morning for an East Coast vacation, but I thought I owe it to you all to at least give you a short recap of the events that I participated in while in Mississippi.

First of all, it's so hard to describe the utter devastation and destruction that Waveland experienced. While driving to the church we would be staying at, I saw thousands upon thousands of huge oak trees just snapped in half, as though they were toothpicks. It was then that I realized that I had no frame of reference for what had occurred prior to my coming. It was really difficult to process. I had thought that I would have an extremely emotional reaction, you know, being female and all, but I had no reaction whatsoever. I just kept thinking, "Dear God, what happened?"

Closer to the Gulf shoreline is where we started to see the damage in the residential areas. Houses had been picked up and thrown hundreds of yards, to land in trees and on the side of highways. Trees had fallen to totally crush others, and some just didn't exist anymore. It was eerie to see brick steps leading up to a home that no longer was there.

We drove along the coastline to get to the church and that's where I saw poles in random places jutting out of the water. Poles that once held piers. The Gulf Coast is beautiful. Ironically, it's extremely calm. It was nearly unfathomable to think that a 30+ foot wave hit this place. They said they rarely, if ever, get two foot waves.

It was difficult to see such tragedy and know that it's not in the news anymore. People have totally forgotten this place or have lost interest. That is, people as a whole. Many churches have not.

I met the most wonderful people from churches all over the United States. Mars Hill's church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, sent teams of twenty somethings week in and week out. And these people were work horses. It was so awesome to see my peers from all over this great nation giving up time from work and family to help perfect strangers. And you'd be hard pressed to hear a single complaint come from any of their lips. They, and we, loved being there.

I met people from a Hope Chapel in Hawaii. Others from Tennessee and one amazing man, Bryce, drove all the way out from Chicago to help since his church, Willowcreek (Bill Hybels' church), is taking the month of December off in terms of sending volunteers. He didn't want to wait, so he drove out himself, stayed for as long as he could and drove back for business meetings awaiting him.

The unity of the churches there is something I've never seen before. I've never seen Baptists, Episcopalians, Pentecostals, etc work so well together, and not rival each other, in any way.

Another amazing aspect of the trip was just simply standing back and watching how God provided for the people of Waveland. I came in one day from the distribution tent and said, "Dabney, these people need blankets. They're freezing in their little trailers. We need to get blankets." The next day, four huge boxes of blankets arrived, sent all the way from Hawaii. We didn't have to do a thing. I simply voiced a concern/need and some wonderful angel swept my words up to the ear of God our Provider, and BAM, need met. There were basically a dozen of those circumstances on this one week trip.

I'll stop here for now. I have much to say. I won't do a blow by blow, since Mac handled that wonderfully. I'll simply give overall, "Portia's Final Thoughts," on the trip and what we accomplished.

Thank you all for your support. I plan on going back next month to help again. Keep you posted on that as well.

Posted by Portia at December 14, 2005 10:23 AM | TrackBack