Monday, September 22, 2008

Life on the Gulf Coast

I wish I could paint an accurate picture of what is like around here post-Ike. It is just sad. So many have lost everything, even some of my closest friends. I cannot get into their homes to help with demolition due to health issues I have right now. Instead I spend my days coordinating meals and childcare for families so they can spend their days at the shell they once called home - homes that are now coated with raw sewage and the dredges of the ocean. I am collecting clothes, books and toys for one homeschool family who lost everything they owned other than five outfits per person and one small bag of toys that they took when they evacuated. Saturday I cooked meals for four families. Everyone here is exhausted because there are just so many needs and so little time. The race is against toxic black mold (a huge problem in Texas) which is already starting to grow in most flooded homes due to the lovely Houston heat and humidity.

Galveston Island (30 min south of my home and where we go several times a month to play on the beach or visit a museum) is still closed and most people haven't been able to get back and see their homes. A friend of mine was able to tour the island because her husband is a firefighter there. She said that you can start to smell the stench before you even reach the causeway (huge bride that connects Galveston to the mainland). So many thousands haven't been back home and power has been out for ten days now. Everyone has food rotting in refrigerators, not to mention restaurants and grocery stores. Also there are dead animals everywhere because so many didn't take pets with them when they left two weeks ago and they died in the storm. They won't let you onto the island without getting a tetanus shot and giving you a special mask to protect from mold and the horrible smell.

Yet there is an upside to all this. It is an amazing thing is to see how people pull together in times like these. Disaster creates community and the community has been incredible. People are driving through neighborhoods (or what's left of them) and dropping off hundreds of lunches to families and volunteers. People everywhere are jumping in to help people they have never met. I saw a man buying ten generators (and those are not cheap!) to deliver to complete strangers who still do not have power. The stories that will come out of Ike will be incredible.

Here is a portion of my dh's blog post about Ike and I couldn't say it any better:
This won't be a quick story with a short ending. We will have work that will last months, some maybe even more than a year. But I'm reminded of Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 16:9, "...for a wide door for effective work has opened to me..."; I am very encouraged at the fact that I think a great door to the Gospel has been opened by the violent hands of Ike. Self-security and presumption have been trumped by 110 mph winds of an eyewall that went, literally, through my neighborhood...and the neighborhood of those I believe God has called us to reach through our local church. This may sound funny to say, but I'm excited about the future. I'm excited to see how wide the door will open for the grace of God in Christ in the Bay Area. I'm excited at how many people will decide to become Followers of Jesus or recommit to their followship of the Lord. I'm excited I get to be a part of it all by the grace of God.
And what's even better is that I believe I have an entire church that's feels the same way!

Thanks Ike.

I put on my sidebar a button you can click if you would like to donate to help victims of Ike. It is set up through my church and 100% of the money will go directly to those who need it most - not one dime to administrative costs.



RenayofRohan said...

Jennefer, I am in tears right now. My heart really goes out to those who are suffering. But I know that God has a way of taking such a tragic circumstance and bringing good out of it and working in such a way, that only HE can do. May God's hand of protection be over you all, and His comfort be ever-present. Renay in Samoa

Paige said...

Wow, Jennefer. Thanks for sharing the reality of what you all are dealing with. You all are in our prayers.

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mom24 said...

So very well put. Glad to get an update and we will continue to pray for those in need - both physically and spiritually.

Life With My 3 Boybarians said...

*hugs* My heart aches at all the area has lost.

Angela said...

So sorry- we are praying for your friends and family!

ByHISgoodGRACE said...

That is an awesome post.
Romans 5:3 is just shining through it!
What an encouragment that your husband wrote and you are obviously right there with him on all that. Amazing what God can do. Martha Peace often says to those who are going through trials..."God must love you an awful lot to allow you to go through this." So true.
You never quite understand that until it happens to you, and then you see that glory shining.
Praying for you all.

Jenny in Ca said...

My heart aches for everyone displaced.

thanks for sharing, praying for you all.