I wisht that I could have told ya earlier about our trip to Gulfport, but I am just now getting time when I actually feel rested.
THE FACTS:WHO-Me, Lynn, the preacher, and Robert.
WHEN-Oct 12-14, 2005
WHY-Disaster relief for Hurricane Katrina
SPONSORS-North Carolina Baptist Men(hereafter refered to as NCBM)
HEADQUARTERS-Passroad Baptist Church(herafter refered to as PBC)
WEDNESDAY, OCT 12, 2005:
5:15AM- Left church. Ate chinese buffet for lunch in route.
6:30PM- Arrived at PBC, registered and ate dinner.(NCBM feeding teams are preparing 5000+ meals aday, working 16 hour shifts, being distributed by red cross in gulfport area. Red cross gets all the credit, how ironic.
7:45PM- Arrived at PBC sanctuary for daily devotion.
8:05PM- Realized that Mississippi time is one hour behind North Carolina time.
8:00PM- Had devotions.
9:30PM- Went to bed.
THURSDAY, 10/13/O5: Quite possibly the most rewarding day of my life!!
5:30AM- Got up and dressed and went to get Lynn, the women had different sleeping quarters.
6:30AM- Had breakfast and got work assignments.
7:30AM- Arrived at first house on list and could not work due to not having insurance approval. Gave several Bibles to replace ones lost or packed up due to storm.
8:15AM Arrived at Mrs Lacy’s house. FACTS: 1. 82 year old widow. 2. House had recieved extensive water damage. 3. Daughter(Patty) and son-in-law(Harold) lived next door, thier house was undamaged. 4. Harold who had recently had a stroke was trying to gut house by himself. 5. We took all the inside walls down to the studs and took out all insulation. We also took all of ceilotex tiles of off ceiling(prying and scraping off). We took all insulation out of attic. We moved all furniture out. We also used Harolds truck to carry everything down to the road and piled it up for county to carry off. This was a very itchy job, dealing with the insulation.
This doesn’t sound very rewarding but when you factor in the time we spent listening to these peoples stories and interacting with them for 10 hours it was a pretty awesome experience. We laughed with them and shared in their sorrow at the same time. I also got to know the preacher and Bobert better. Yea I said Bobert. This dude is called Robert, Bob, and Bobby by different people at church. I kept asking him what he wanted me to call him. All he would say is I’ll answer to any of them. So I combined them and called him Bobert all weekend.
There was one thing we didn’t do that I really would like to go back and do. That is take a windmill apart. Mrs. Lacy has a great big steel windmill laying in her yard and I so want to get it out for her. But right now we are just trying to get the houses liveable again, so the windmill will have to wait.
This was the most touching experience I have ever had. We worked hard and these people told us “thank you” about 587 times. That is probably a low estimate. They didn’t just say thank you because it was appropriate, you could hear it in thier voices, see it in their eyes, and feel it when they shook your hand or squeezed your arm. I have never worked so hard and felt so good in all my life. Before we left we had prayer with them. They are christians so we left some Bibles to give to some family members that had lost theirs.
6:30PM- Got back to church just in time to eat and take showers.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER THE FOURTEENTH TWO THOUSAND FIVE
5:30AM- Got up, dressed, met Lynn.
6:30AM- Ate breakfast, got work assignments. They partnered us up with Hal who was there by himself. We became instant buddies.
7:37AM- Arrived at first house. The dude told us his work had been done. We asked him is he was saved, he said yes. This dude lives about 4 blocks from the ocean. His house had been flooded and a row of trailers across the street looked like a giant set of hands had grabbed them and twisted them. Hotels within 4 blocks of his house was completely destroyed. This guy stayed during the hurricane. He says “It didn’t get as bad as I thought it would, the wind only got up to about a hundred and a quarter.” He thought it was gonna be worst and he still stayed, amazing.
8:00- Arrived at the next house. Homeowners not present. Work to be done: 1. Clean yard, debris everywhere. 2. Gut inside of house.
We had to clean the front yard just so we could get to the house. Then we took the sheetrock out four feet up. There was another layer of half inch planks behind this that needed to be took out. We lucked up there was no insulation to mess with. What we accomplished. 1. Cleaned up front yard. 2. Us guys gutted about 5 rooms of house. 3. Lynn cleaned the side yard, she had a huge pile of stuff.
HIGHLIGHTS: 1. Making friends with Hal. 2. Paul says become all things to all people that you may lead them to Christ. That ain’t exact but close. So we helped two dudes steal a refrigerator so we could witness to them. Naw the fridge was at the road to be carried off. But I had a good time ragging the preacher about helping them steal it. 3. I had to take Lynn to use the bathroom. We left the house and went about 150 yards. The road was block and I had to back the van with a trailer on it about 120 yards. I ain’t too good at backing, it took me about 30 minutes and the preacher and Bobert laughed at me the whole time. 4. Without out the homeowners there it wasn’t as personal as the day before, but when you are picking through the debris and find a photograph of someone sittin on the front porch having a good time, then you realize that front porch probably isn’t there anymore, their lives have changed for ever. Or you find a personal item like and an art award or childs toy, it really hits you what these people are experiencing.
5:30PM- We toured the beach front area of Gulfport and Biloxi. There was complete hotels destroyed. We saw the Ramada that we stayed at for 3 nights. It was a two story hotel reduced to a 4 foot pile of rubble. The buildings that had steel support columns, that was all that was left of them. We saw trucks piled on top of each other and cars on front porches. It was just miles of miles upon devastation. It was real humbling to see it and to realize it could happen to anyone. Maybe not a hurricane but maybe a tornado or some other disaster.
6:30PM- Dinner and shower.
9:30PM- Decide to head for home. I think Hal would have came with us if’n we had of asked him.
10:00PM- Headed home.
HIGHTLIGHTS; 1. I took first leg and drove until about 5:00AM. The preacher drove the rest of the way. 2. Stopped at McDonald’s. They repeated the order back wrong, then gave us the wrong order, the preacher was real upset, I was laughing and haveing a good time. 2. Went to next McDonald’s, they got it right. We had opportunity to witness while tripping. I told the girl at window to check the preachers money it may be counterfiet. He told her not to listen to me I had been up since 5:30. She says it’s only 6:00. He says 5:30 yesterday morning. She got excited and hollers “ya’ll been partying”. I think if’n we would have asked her she would have came through the drive thru window and jumped in the van. The preacher told her we had been on a mission trip serving The Lord in Mississippi. 3. We tripped all the way back.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER THE 15, 2005
9:30AM- Arrived back at the church.
Now Dairy I know this doesn’t sound like a big deal but we made a difference in Mrs. Lacy’s life. We had good fellowship. I have had such a positive experience and hope to be able to go back again soon. Thanks for listening to me Dairy, I’ll see ya later. Oh Yeah I almost forgot to tell what all the NCBM are doing in Gulfport. WE are providing hot meals, all the red cross meals you hear about are being fixed by NCBM. They are fixin 5000+ meals aday and working 16 hour days. The NCBM are providing showers for people without water. We are also planning on repairing 500 houses over the next two years. There is also laundry service available and child care for people to go fill out their fema and insurance claims. We are called the North Carolina Baptist Men but there are lots of women involved(beside every good man is a good woman). Since the hurricane has hit there has already been over 10,000 volunteers in Gulfport and surrounding areas and over a hundred people have been saved and an untold amount of Bibles have been given out.
PRAISE GOD FROM WHOM ALL BLESSINGS FLOW!!!!
I AM VONSTEGALL AND I WANT TO DO THIS MORE OFTEN!!!!