8.27.2010

Flashback Friday: Hurricane Katrina

This weekend marks the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
It was one of worst natural disasters to hit the United States.
5 years later, people in New Orleans & the Mississippi Gulf region are still not back in their homes.

After Katrina hit, I knew I wanted to help in some way, even though I lived across the country in California. During my Spring Break of 2006, my younger sister Rebecca & I went with our church on a mission trip to New Orleans & the gulf shores of Mississippi to help build houses for people who lost their home when Katrina hit.

This was the 2nd mission trip I have done within the United States, the first one was 9/11 relief which you can read about here.
(Becks & I)

Churches from all over the country were involved in the project.
Sponsor churches built the framing of the houses in church parking lots & all the framing was sent on trucks to Mississippi/New Orleans for a neighborhood project called Victory Park.
Another group of churches had been there the week before pouring the foundation, so when we got there, our jobs were to get the framing up, put up the siding and windows, plumbing and electricity & then paint the houses.
This is the house framing that our church did & then they were shipped to Mississippi on a truck:
A total of 16 new homes were built.
Becks and I volunteered for the painting team. It was a lot of fun!
Scafolding was fun to be on!
A view of some of the new houses:
Becks & I painted the majority of this house along with 2 other people.
In front of one of the houses we painted:
The second to last day we were there, they had a ribbon cutting ceremony and dedication of the houses. People in the community who were hoping to put a bid on one of the homes were there.
It was amazing & inspiring meeting them & hearing their Katrina stories. It really put things in perspective.
We had the opportunity to go to a Sunday service at one of the local Baptist churches.
We were the only white people there. In fact, we were the first white people to ever attend a service there. It was shocking to see how segregated it still was in this little town in Mississippi. The people at the church were WONDERFUL. The pastor, Greg was amazing. We were there on Palm Sunday. It was one of the best services I have ever been to in my entire life. I will never, ever forget it. Ever. Pastor Greg is an amazing man & we got along great. His family is awesome.I send him a Christmas card every year!

Here is Pastor Greg helping us on the work site:
One of evenings after our work day, we took a drive to the gulf coast and saw the devastation in Biloxi, Mississippi. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw what damage Katrina had done to this city. It pretty much wiped it out.
Gorgeous sea front homes were unrecognizable.
We were there 6 months after Katrina hit & nothing had been cleaned up. It was incredibly sad.
It was an amazing week...a week I will never ever forget.
My heart has a special place for the people of New Orleans & the Mississippi Gulf.
I am still praying for them, 5 years later.

11 comments:

  1. You never cease to amaze me with all of the volunteer work you have done!

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  2. What an amazing heart you have :) I know you made 16 families weep with joy over having a new home.

    I live in South Carolina and unfortunately, it is still very segregated here as well. We still have black stores and black churches and black schools. I wonder when the South will get it together with the rest of the country.

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  3. What a great post! And what a wonderful blessing and opportunity to be able to go and server like that.
    It's sad to see how devastated everything was, but God does bring beauty out of ashes!

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  4. Wow, what an amazing experience that must have been Mel. That's wonderful that you were able to go and do that. It really is.

    I linked your blog on my post I recently did. Hope you don't mind. :)

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  5. I have chills reading this. What an incredible experience, Mel. Thank you for sharing it! I like the Flashback Fridays. :)

    (P.S. Hope school is going well!)

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  6. That is so neat you were able to go & help out Katrina victims. What a great experience, thanks for sharing!

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  7. You are amazing, Mel. Such a big and generous heart!

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  8. This is awesome! I'm sure the experience was amazing!

    I would love to do some Habitat for Humanity type of volunteer work. What better way to do it than for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

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  9. that is so cool.
    what a humbling feeling you must have had....helping and doing your best for others

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