Gulf Coast…19 Months Later

March 9, 2007

katrina_debris_fire.jpgPlease read the following post from John Dobbs Blog today. I started to put a link instead of the article, but what he says is so much more important than anything I might use this space for. So take a minute and read the following.

“Ya’ll About To Get Things Together Down There?”

That’s the question that came my way several times in Montgomery this week. I don’t want to sound self-absorbed, but I cannot make myself understand this question. I know there are other things going on in the world and it has been 19 months since Hurricane Katrina destroyed 90,000 miles of Coastline. But hey, Hurricane Katrina destroyed 90,000 square miles of Coastline. Can any of us grasp how long it will take to get things together after that? Thousands of people have not been able to move back into their own homes.

Many many elderly people may live the rest of their lives in a tin can without the comfort of sitting in their favorite chair in their own living room. They won’t walk to another room to their own refrigerator and prepare something to eat in their own kitchen. They will not lay their head on their own bed in a bedroom that they have lived in for the past 40 years. They will not walk the familiar hallways of their home. There are no pictures on the walls or mementos of family trips from the past. They will not rest in the living rooms where their husbands or wives used to talk with them when they were alive. They no longer have room for the grandchildren to come and visit. There is no knowing when FEMA will say, “we want our camper back“.

This week we are working in the home of an elderly lady  who’s home is almost finished. She can barely walk. In her pink robe and her beautiful white hair she shuffled into her home today to survey the progress. Her daughters surround her in love as they help her around. Workers from Peace United Church of Christ are busy laying flooring and installing cabinets.

This week we are working in the home of a man who is 100 years old. He has been confined to an electric wheelchair for the past few years. His neice takes care of him. He wheels out on the “deck” of his FEMA camper and watches them work on his home. Listen… repairs on this home began only last week. LAST WEEK.

This week we are working in the home of a family with three precious daughters. They are soooo active. I can’t imagine being in a camper with these three. They are beautiful. Dad walks with a cane after multiple back surgeries. No way this dad can fix his home. It’s coming together soon with the help of volunteers.

No, we are not about to get things together down here.

We have depended from day one on the love and service of volunteers from across the nation. Those volunteers have often gone home to recruit other workers to come down and work. Many workers coming now are on their second, third, and fourth trip. Some have been over a dozen times. Most of our volunteers have never even been to Mississippi before. (Mississippians, we need you!)

So, I encourage you …

*If you are a part of a church that has not made a trip to the Coast, make that a priority.

*If you are an editor, publicize our needs.

*If you are an elder, gather your flock to support our needs. Please add us to your budget – and please do not make us wait until budget time. The crisis is now.

*If you are a preacher, speak to the need for service to helpless people.

*If you are a skilled worker and have the opportunity, please come help us.

*If you are a prayer warrior, pray relentlessly for us.

*If you are a cook, come and spend a week cooking for grateful hungry volunteers.

*If you are a wealthy person, make a large donation for the sake of materials, food, ongoing bills. The costs of housing and feeding volunteers is enormous. We have never charged a volunteer one nickel and we will not. The rental of the dining hall and the utilities there are huge. But it is a necessary expense.

*If you doubt our needs, come visit.

We remain in need of help on the Coast. We have received much, and we are thankful. You will never know how our hearts have been melted with the love we have been shown. But the needs are long term.

We keep an ongoing list of needs as well as a work crew report so you can know who is here and where the gaps in volunteers are. Click HERE for that page.

No, we are not about to get things together down here. Thanks for asking.



  1. Thank you so much, Lee. I feel so blessed that you did this. Your brother has done a great work in Katrina-torn Long Beach, MS as well. I appreciate you.

  2. John, You guys have truly carried the battle in the heat of the day. I don’t think anyone can full appreciate the challenges you face with out actually seeing it for themselves. Pictures just don’t convey the actual situation, as you know so well. God Bless! We are proud of your efforts for the cause of Christ.

  3. I emailed links to this post to many of my friends and family. Thanks for sharing this. I am praying…

    Many blessings…

  4. Thanks for this great update. We were down there right after Katrina hit. I was overwhelmed by the devestation – like a 1,000 tornados had hit at once! I really was under the impression that a lot of progress had been made…watching too much ‘media’. You guys live in the shadow of Nor’leans! You continue to be on my prayer list – I’m checking out your need list…

  5. arbitrage-ppc

    Great site and interesting reading

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