Sunday, August 31, 2008

The amazing folks at Christian Challenge

Yesterday was quite a day!

A few brave volunteers from my small group showed up bright and early to help me move the first load to my new house. They were awesome!! They made it look easy! I can't even begin to tell you how much it meant to have these guys give up their Saturday morning for me... especially since I just met one of them for the first time through this new small group! Christian Challenge is AWESOME!

After they left, I was doing some minor things around the house (without Internet access or TV) when my cell phone rang. It was my landlord. He had just gotten word that a family was evacuating from south Louisiana and needed a place to stay. He had another empty house, but it REALLY needed to be cleaned. It had been rented to some college kids who had a dog (and heaven only knows what else!) in that house. It was filthy. I went over to check things out... but I knew I'd need some major help. One couple had already told me that they were going to help, but they were running late... so I called another couple from the church, and they came pretty much immediately!!

By the time my landlord arrived to check on us, we had five adults and a handful of children working on it. I wish I had taken pictures... but there just wasn't time! We threw a ton of junk away, swept up loads of dirt, cleaned windows, scrubbed a kitchen and bathroom, and even cleaned up the dirty window air conditioners. In around three fast-paced hours we had the whole thing done. Just as we were getting done mopping our way out of the house, the landlord came back. The family from south Louisiana was just a few minutes away on the highway! We couldn't have timed it better.

Cleaning out that house was hard work... but it felt really good! I was grateful for the opportunity to do something for the Gustav evacuees... but I was also very much impressed with the folks at my church who came together on very little notice to tackle a huge project. It made me proud to be a part of Christian Challenge, and it was fun to work alongside others with a true heart for serving others.

But in all the excitement and Internet / TV deprivation, I missed the news about Gustav's development. I knew that Alexandria / Pineville would be hosting many folks from the coastal areas... but as the day went on yesterday it became clear that we would also be getting hit. As my pastor put it this morning, we're in the impact zone. That's a scary thought... I hope that the "worst case scenario" does not materialize, but everyone here is planning as if it will.

I've been planning and preparing as well. I have plenty of water and food. They're not expecting a lot of structural damage, but limbs / trees down could make travel difficult and there's the potential that we'll be without electricity for an extended time. That's the part that makes me most nervous. So, just to be safe, I'll be spending tomorrow evening with my pastor's family... if I'm going to be stuck somewhere in the dark, at least I won't be stuck alone!

I'll post more tomorrow...

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