Monday, September 15, 2008

Where to begin?

Shortly after my last post my laptop was stolen. That was the beginning of my downward spiral into the abyss of non-blogging. I have resurfaced...and I would like to thank the 4 people who have religiously checked my blog to see if I had returned :)
A lot has happened in the last 2 months, and the last 2 weeks in particular. As many of you know, I live in southern Louisiana but I am a transplant from Canada. I have lived here for a few years now, but Gustav was my first experience with a real-live hurricane. It made me wonder: why do people live here!?! For those of you who have not had the privilege of encountering a hurricane; it's not pleasant. Oh sure, it sounded like it might be fun...all those country songs about hurricane parties, etc...but it wasn't fun. It was kind of scary. I played hockey for about 25 years and I'm pretty sturdy on my feet. I'm not used to being moved around by the wind. Not nudged; hanging onto the wall so I didn't blow away. What's up with that?
At any rate; I survived. And I got to do a lot of incredible things as a result of the storm. I work downtown at the Baton Rouge Dream Center and for the first few days of Gustav we became a refuge for some evacuees. A couple of nursing homes had contacted Pastor Dino about taking in some of their residents in the event of evacuation. Anyone who knows Pastor Dino will know what his answer was. So we had about 120 house guests at the BRDC and they stayed 4 or 5 days. I think the really cool part was the people that we got to shelter. One of the homes was an assisted living facility from somewhere near Crowley. The other was a nursing home from Abbeyville. They sent their staff and residents to stay with us throughout the storm and we had some interesting times.
Some of the residents from these homes went to stay with family when the facilities were evacuated. The people that came to us had no where to go, or no one that wanted them. They arrived on school buses and ambulances; a little scared and somewhat disoriented. I guess that happens when dealing with a geriatric/psychiatric population, but moving into an inner-city church on the edge of a hurricane would shake up anybody. We did our best to make them feel at home; put up welcome banners, played bingo with them and hunted down all the Chuck Norris movies we could find. It was quite a slumber party!
I don't know which was more encouraging; watching their staff care for these lovely people in less than ideal conditions, or watching our volunteers care for their staff. I have no doubt that HPC has one of the finest volunteer bases in the world. We had people show up day after day, willing to clean, do security details, wash sheets, prepare meals and simply love on people.
When the nursing homes left the disaster relief teams started coming...organizations from across the nation who mobilized in an instant to help our state. Again, incredible men and women of God. What a privilege to get to serve along side of them.
So that's what's been happening over the past few days. Hopefully in the days to come I will have time to share some of the story of what God has been doing here.
Please pray for us and all of the states along the coast. As we are trying to clean up from Gustav, Texas is still without power from Ike. I don't know how long hurricane season lasts down here, but I'm ready for it to be over...I need a nap!
Thank you for all your prayers and your continued support. It is such an honor to belong to a church whose mission it is to be a healing place for a hurting world. All glory to God!