I’m doing this posting Wednesday a.m. because Linda & I were both beat when we got in last night around 9. I hadn’t slept well Tuesday night and Linda had an emotionally tough day. Today is expected to be our last day in Pascagoula. There are so many needs and we have grown to love so many people here that it will be sad to leave but we also are looking forward to seeing family and friends as we continue our journey. And as time goes by the need to go home grows stronger. This mixture of emotions is, in some small way, similar to that experienced by God’s people when they are confronted with difficulties in their lives or are considering the beauty of heaven. We long for the eternal peace in the mansions our Father has prepared for us while at the same time we are tied to this life because of our love for the people (and sometimes the “things”) here
Yesterday began with lots of enthusiasm and optimism. We were able to recruit 4 boys from Missouri to help - we thought – move furniture into the Kelly house . We also intended to deliver a bed for Mr. Kelly. John Dobbs left us the keys for his van while he is away to Tulsa (Thank you John!!) . Linda took the boys over to start working while I remained to go with David (Jordan) to pick up the bed and some other stuff that needed to be delivered to various locations.
The first setback occurred when we discovered the delivery van had a flat tire. David J. went off to arrange for tire repair and I spent a couple of hours doing odd jobs – finished cleaning out auditorium, helped other groups get supplies and ran a few errands to help David (Kilbern) When it became apparent that it was going to be a while before the tire was fixed, I got David J. to drop me off at the house so I could help there.
When I go there I found Linda very distressed and almost physically ill. It turned out that all the stuff that was in the garage and sheds had just been moved there after the flood to empty out the house – it hadn’t been cleaned or treated- it was full of dirt and mold. She was trying to clean it but wasn’t making a lot of progress. Bill & Marlene (Kelly) –who Linda discovered had only been in the house 6 days before the flood --- were focused on wanting the things that were most important to them put back to normal –and this wasn’t practical or possible. They had no sense of the emerging reality that so much of the “stuff” they had was going to need to be thrown out.
Linda and the boys were hot, tired, thirsty and frustrated. They had moved the beds from the family room to the bedrooms and hauled in a bunch of clothes but they where now up against what do we do about the dirt and mold.
I made a couple of supply runs first to get some bottled water and then for rags and cleaning supplies. Fortunately, David Kilbern came by just as we were about to break for lunch. With his experience with this he was able to confirm that it was an exercise in futility to continue to try to clean the furniture and get it in the house right away. The Kelly’s had arranged for KFC (chicken) for lunch so we ate with them and then brought the boys back to the building so they could return to their regular crews.
When we got back here we talked to David Kilbern a little more about “next steps” (One lesson I learned here was that in our enthusiasm and desire to avoid burdening David -- and the frustration of trying to get a slice of his time -- we had made some decisions that we didn’t have the knowledge and experience to make – we really needed to have had David come by before the Kelly’s got home. to look at the stuff to see whether it was “savable”. So we live & learn –
We also can see that there are some challenges in the Kelly family relationships – which we had suspected from some of our conversations with John. It is clear that John & David love their parents and want to help them. It is also clear that the parents expectations are beyond what they are capable of meeting. As a result, John (Kelly) has gone to ground. He has not been present any of the time we have been there. David (Kelly) showed up briefly at lunch time but disappeared as soon as his Dad started issuing requests for him to do things. We will keep them in our prayers.
So this was the day that the reality of Katrina burst our bubble of hope that we could leave the Kelly’s with their house furnished. We did return for awhile in the afternoon – I put up a hook in the eave for the hanging basket (that we gave them Tuesday) so they could look out from the kitchen and see the flowers. I also went to Lowes and got a pipe to install in Mr. Kelly’s closet since the one that was there to hang clothes had somehow gotten lost. And I installed a door stop at the front doors so they didn’t have to use a paint can to keep the knob from making a hole in the wall. Linda sprayed bleach mixture on a several pieces of furniture to see whether it would kill the mold and we put everything back into the garage , prayed with them again and came back for supper.
Tim from Arkansas had a lesson on the faith of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednago. After his lesson Josh was baptized and several came asking for prayers for strength. Josh has been here working with the church on relief effort and decided to take this step after developing a relationship with several of the people working here. He also has a girlfriend in California who was encouraging him to do this and flew in to be here to reaffirm her commitment and witness this event. They had planned to be here last night when John Dobbs preached but had car problems.
Linda also had met a young lady at supper through David Kilbern who has an 14 month toddler (Damonte). She was helping her find some toys and clothing and sat with her during services and we took her home afterwards.
Th e evening experiences gave us some renewed encourgement and realization that good was being done and a reminder that things happen on God’s time table not ours.
Charlie & Linda