Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Be HIS hands and feet to the world....
This was the specific charge by our pastor Bruce Miller this past Sun. I have really been asking God to use me to be HIS hands and feet in some way. Well...in typical "God Timing" he answered my prayers today. If you've been keeping up with my blog for the past few weeks you'll know that our local old McKinney Walmart (set for demolition) to build a Sam's Club was converted in 48 hrs. to a shelter to house Hurricane Katrina evacuee's. I went to help paint and sort clothes within that 48 hr. period. Now, several hundred evacuee's call the shelter home. Unfortunately, I was not able to sign up to volunteer further with the site on the day I went to paint and I've been meaning to go back.
So, today Luke and I packed up and went over there to see if I could sign up to be a volunteer at the site for anything they still needed. The volunteer coord. gave me the paperwork to sign up online. We said thanks and were on our way.
Upon leaving a man approached me and asked me if I was there to volunteer. I said yes, but was just picking up paperwork to get the volunteer process started. He kindly asked me if I was going home or staying to help. I said, going home. He asked if I would mind giving him and his friend a ride to the apt. he had just gotten. Now, don't get all "you sure are trusting of strangers" on me. You just would have had to be there, and you would have done the exact same thing (well maybe not all of you-wink!). If you know me at all you know that I have a heart for homeless and hurting people which is why I used to feed them every Tues. under the 1-45 bridge in highschool and early college.
Anyway...they jumped in the car with Luke and I and I asked them if they were hungry. I would love to treat them to lunch. We agreed on Kentucky Fried Chicken and paid the drive thru a visit. We got some chicken, mashed potatoes, cole slaw, rolls and Pepsi's and we were on our way.
I told them I was interested to hear their stories. So, here are my new friends stories of survival. Larry Martin got out just before Hurricane Katrina hit and was evacuated to the Superdome. Kenya Jones had left to run to the store, leaving her mother and nephew behind at the house sleeping. When she returned the house was locked up and her mom and nephew were gone. Kenya was evacuated later by boat. She was terrified because she could not swim and she said it took 6 hrs. for them to talk her in to getting in the boat. They threw her a life jacket finally and she was also taken to the Superdome where she met up with her mom and family.
Somehow in all of the chaos of the roof ripping off the Superdome and everyone scrambling for buses out of the city she was seperated from her family. She ended up in McKinney at the Walmart Shelter where she met Larry also an evacuee. She calls him her "adopted dad" until she can be reunited with her family. It's been nearly 2 weeks and she's not heard or seen anything from her family.
I told her that I didn't have any money I could give to help them out, but that I would love to be of help if they needed rides anywhere and if they wanted me to search the Hurricane Katrina Missing/Survivors databases on the internet. Kenya gave me all the family members she's looking for. She said that at Walmart she's been too scared to go to the computer and try to look family up because for one she does not know how to use a computer and two she wouldn't know how to look anyone up. She said it just depressed her. I said let me help with that. By this time I had gotten to Larry's apt. and asked them if we could pray together before they left. They agreed and I prayed for both of them to find family and loved one's. Kenya was so grateful and told me she really appreciated the prayers and that she really needed them. Larry said God bless. We exchanged ph#'s (they've been given cell phones) and I told them to call me anytime day/night if they needed anything. Both have found jobs here in McKinney and intend on staying here. Neither have plans of returning to New Orleans.
I came home determined to find Kenya's family so I searched the internet for 2+ hours. I found Kenya's older sister, Andreal who is staying at a shelter in the Houston Astrodome. Kenya was thrilled when I called her back witht he news. She thinks her mom is with her sis. We've still not made contact with them, but know their general whereabouts. Still doing some research...
Later in the day they called and asked if I could take them back to Walmart. Kenya had taken a nap at Larry's and Larry had left his bike at Walmart. So, I took them back and asked them what their immediate needs are. I got a list from both and am rounding up stuff for them either through the clothes closet our church is sponsoring or through another local ministry that sets up the evacuees with housewares for their new residences. Both of my new friends have such a sweet spirit and are grateful and more than appreciative of the help that they are getting from strangers. I am so blessed to have made these new friends. I know we'll stay in touch for a long time to come. I even invited them to church on Sunday and told them I'd come and pick them up. They said they'd love to come with me because they both were looking for a church. Larry said, "Now I don't have anything sharp to wear". I said, we're casual and what he had on would suffice. I cannot wait to see them again. They think I was helping them, but truly they were blessing me. Now, is where all of you reading this come in. I told my friends about my daily blogs. I said I have many praying friends and I wanted to know if they would let me take their picture so I could post it on here for you to know who you were praying for. They obliged, said "absolutely" and posed for me.
I am ever so thankful that the Lord allowed me to be in the right place at the right time to meet these friends and get to be HIS hands and feet. What an honor for me to do HIS work. Please pray specifically that Kenya will find her mother, who is ill, as well as her other family members. Pray her new apt. will be ready on Oct 8 as she's been told. Pray that Larry can find another part time job to make some extra money. Thank you all for praying for these dear friends in their time of need. Blessings to you. P.S. If you're at McFBC this Sunday I'll be happy to introduce you to my friends!