We made it down here to Christus Victor in Ocean Springs, Mississippi safely. Thank you everyone for your prayers and thoughts. The drive was very entertaining and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know my teammates — fellow church members — better. We now have a supportive comraderie to get us through whatever God has ahead for us.

We had a nice “last supper” meal in Mobile, AL before we got into the devestated area. It was very interesting to hear the waitress’s story. While the hurricane center was quite a ways away, they still sustained quite a bit of damage. Her story was interesting because she evacuated with a days old baby for hurricane Dennis several weeks before. Since that did not do much damage, she was determined to weather “the next one”. She stayed with her weeks old baby and survived the worst but was without power for 2 1/2 weeks — again, with a weeks old baby. It was interesting to hear her perspective and we were glad to hear everything was ok with her now.

The place we grabbed dinner at had bumper stickers all over as interesting wallpaper. One caught my eye as I headed into the men’s room. It was very applicable and perfect for sharing on this blog. It read “You cannot wander too far from God’s love because his arms are so long.” How appropriate.

We arrived at the church and were then redirected to Camp Victor which was kinda like camp for adults. It is in an old garment factory that has been recycled into the center hub of recovery activity for the church. There are dorms for men and women, a dining room, lounge area, facilities and a very crammed warehouse. It is good to see all the donations coming forth, especially this late in the cycle of destruction. Other than the token acknowledgement of the year anniversary mark, the typical main stream media in it’s MTV attention like way has pretty much neglected this story. It is not fun to talk about the devestation, the loss, the hurt, the recovery efforts over and over and over again every night. The MSM has moved on. However, I was shocked to hear in the orientation that Lutheran Social Services is planning on being here for 6 to 8 more years!!!!! To put it another way, approx 75,000 homes were completely destroyed. Another 60,000 were so severely damaged they need to be rebuilt. So over 135,000 homes need to be rebuilt in some form or another. The Ocean Springs residential construction industry can rebuild 1500 homes a year. The Baton Rouge residential construction industry can rebuild about 3000 homes a year. And while it is possible to bring in construction folks, there really is no place for them to stay. And finally, the statistic that 100,000 people on the Mississippi gulf coast are still living in trailers was striking.

The bottom line is that there is much work to be done here. And most of it is getting done by faith and non-profit places like Christus Victor.

I am going to end with a story that was told to us during orientation.

There was a little boy who, after the storm, was at the coast picking up stranded starfish and throwing them back into the water so they would survive. An old man came up to the boy and told him he was wasting his time. That he should look at all the starfish and that there was no way he could possible help all of the thousands stranded on the beach. The little boy picked up a starfish and threw it back into the water and said “I just made a difference to THAT starfish”.

Tomorrow, I hope to make a difference…..one starfish at a time.

God bless the people of Christus Victor.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

One Comment

  1. A Slower Pace » Blog Archive » Desire to Inspire – follow up….. says:

    […] Anne Tuohy told one of my favorite stories during her talk. I first heard it during the Hurricane Katrina clean up mission trip to Mississippi in 2006. While the version was a bit different, the point is just as […]