It has been seven months since the storm. The images are less vivid, its fading from memory and no ones wondering where their next meal will come from anymore. But the Gulf coast is still very much reeling from Katrina. Two weeks ago I became the first to utilized the new Cre8tive Group Missions Trip BenefitÃ¢â€žÂ¢ (except for Andy I guess, whose trips showed the need for such a policy). I went with another group of 75, again mostly students from Asbury College plus the wonderful addition of my hot fiancÃƒÂ©e Jen.
Arriving back in Pass Christian, it was remarkable both how much work had been done and how much work there was still to do. One house would be mere weeks away from being ready to be lived in again, while the one right next to it had not even been touched since the storm, still filled with rotting fridges and mounds of mildew that were once called “couches.Ã¢â‚¬Â What an amazing psychological strain for those who are living in town; those who are trying to rebuild their homes and lives. If and when they get everything back in order, they still have to drive by the devastation each time they go to the nearest grocery store a town or two away. The remaining residents have gotten used to living in a trailer with less space than my office.
So what did I learn? People need hope. People everywhere, in every situation, need hope. Seven months after a major hurricane, they need hope to fight off depression. Hope that things are going to get better, that life will return to normal, that they will one day live in a building that doesn’t have wheels. So what if I helped build a couple sheds, cleaned up a yard and painted a house? In the grand scope of things, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s really not all that much progress. But, what we really did was build a little hope, show them a little love to know that they’re not forgotten about, and get to know the residents of a little town where we’ll likely celebrate our anniversary some year.