Yes, the title is a play on words.
What a week. Hard to believe it’s Saturday. I traveled north a little ways to get online access for a small time.
I am living in my home again! Water and sewer are semi-working and we slept in our own bed a couple of nights ago for the 1st time. How blessed we are to have a bed, a roof, a home. In Pass Christian it is estimated 500 homes of 8000 are habital! Can you see a little of how overwhelming this is? And how fortunate I feel?
Work at the relief center and medical clinic continues at an amazing pace. This week Mitch and Patrick, Seabury folks, came down and MAN did they work hard! I am totally impressed. They pitched in and did everything imaginable.
ANd they brought me gifts – some $$ and BOOKS! The generosity of folks is so wonderful and affirming. I love you all! ThANK YOU…
Today was a very productive day for me. I was able to go out and see many of my people and to contact a lot of the displaced via phone. Working at the center has kept me from doing much of that, other than on Sunday mornings. Getting re-connected is so important to me and to them and I am blessed to have people FAR better than I running the relief efforts now. Thank you God!
Gotta go, curfer coming soon. I hope to check in later next week. Thanks again to all.
Here I am in front of the site of my church. Tonight I am just too tired to say much. Go to AKMA’s blog for some comments. Also, please go HERE to see pictures of my church before the storm.
It’s way too late and I am much too tired. The day started around 6 am and after the breakfast of champions (NABS!) we headed to the school. LW got the medical clinic rolling and the relief efforts were strong and amazing all day. 200 patients, around 450 served in the relief center with food, clothes, bedding, diapers, etc. It was exhausting and humbling and wonderful and scary. I was even pressed into figuring out electrical and plumbing problems for this school, THAT is the scariest part. But the help was tremendous and loving and giving and so wonderful. Folks from all over the country, hard workers (some went and helped one of my parishioners clean out their flooded home – work they could never have completed alone), friends from my former parish came and did SO Much hard work, nurses and docs from a mobile medic team, two busses full of great people from Virginia, others in smaller groups that sorted supplies and unloaded trucks and ALL of home greeted EACH AND EVERY person as a valid, real, wonderful child of God.
I will try to sleep. It is VERY hot. Where we are staying is still without electricity, although we can take cold showers.
I have learned this – on the list of the good things in life – working plumbing (showers that run, toilets that flush) trumps working electricity (read: air conditioning). But I truly would not mind having both again. But, hey, I have a roof and all the MREs I can eat, and I had the privilege to see the face of Christ in countless people, all thanking US before we could thank them.
What a wild couple days. Let’s see what I can remember…. I am totally wiped. I haven’t cried yet. That’s different for me, I am usually able to show emotions readily. Maybe too tired or too busy or too shocked.
Yesterday and today we spent MANY man hours (and woman hours, no doubt) preparing the local Episcopal school to be a relief center. We received amazing amounts of supplies – one trucker and his wife drove down from Canada and somehow wound up at our place with a huge load. We cleanued up some and tried to organize things.
Today was HOPPIN. We are setting up a medical clinic, I worked with folks from this amazing ministry, Water Ministry, that provides potable drinking water systems in poor countries all over the world. We put a unit in at the school so we now have drinking water. Then we worked on the power – I got my junior warden to come out and make sure we could receive power, and then THE LIGHTS CAME ON. The power company here has been doing AMAZING work. You cannot even begin to imagine the number of poles down, yet power is coming up all over.
The medical clinic is almost ready and we saw several patients today. More docs coming tomorrow. We are not sure how long this will last but we will see whoever needs us.
Tomorrow the relief part will be fully operating. We did serve a few dozen folks today, tomorrow will be very full. Word is out on radio, tv, etc. that we are there.
My LW is in charge of the medical clinic and is gleefully working hard. SHe so wanted something to do worthwhile.
Our bishop came down and all the coast clergy and spouses were together for Eucharist and annointing. It was a good time together.
At one point today the insurance adjuster for my church showed up at the school (he’s their adjuster too).. I corralled the poor guy and off we went. We went to my former church site – it was still so amazing. The Bishop planted an Episcopal flag on the site. I have pictures to post, I don’t really know how to do that on a blog. We went through the debris at the main building and our two back buildings. It is still hard to conceive.
I noticed the remains of houses that folks had just bought next to the church. Nothing left. Smashed cars. No furniture or freezers or anything. One VERY large beautiful new house on the beach was gone, they had been working so hard. Just the steps left.
The adjuster took pictures and I sketched out the church for him. There was no way to tell how it had looked before. No way.
Yet in the rubble earlier in the week was found my St. Pats coffee cup with my name on it, not even a chip on it.
That’s enough…but this. If anyone wants to give directly to my church, you can do so. Email me and I will let you know how.
STILL the Rector, St. Patrick’s, Long Beach, Mississippi
Every day I hear from people, churches, groups that are helping. Money is being raised, supplies sent, etc. The major frustration is coordinating everything and finding a distribution point. We may have that settled very soon.
Meanwhile, the situation is still pretty horrible. Health concerns are mounting. We have no water or sewer and you know what that means. I am trying to get my folks OUT of town, there is not much they can do especially the homeless. I am up to 27 parishioners whose homes are completley gone. It is mind boggling.
Tempers are up and frustration levels are sky high.
We met as a church yesterday in the 105 degree heat. 45 good people, we cried together (a lot), rejoiced in our blessings, shared CHrist’s body and blood together. I annointed each person with oil and prayed for them after they took communion. It was a very very moving time, I will not forget it.
Please keep thinking of ways you can help. Push your churches. Don’t stop. This will be a long, long haul.
Bless you all.
STILL THE RECTOR, St. Patrick’s, Long Beach, Mississippi