Saturday, May 3, 2014

The tornado relief effort

Well before dawn this morning, I headed out to meet my family in Starkville. We were going as a group to volunteer with the tornado/disaster relief effort in Louisville MS.  After Katrina, I had done manicures on victims of the storm. It was a soothing touch and gave me a chance to hear their stories and pray with them. That moment of calm and hope in the midst of utter destruction was very effective, and greatly appreciated. I had my manicure kit packed, fully expecting to do the same thing again.  

Today, we arrived at the volunteer processing tent, and it was immediately apparent that I'd be working there today. Workers had been there for days, they were exhausted, and not everyone had eaten breakfast. It was a little tense in the tent. They were very surprised when I announced that I was working with them. "We don't need any help," someone said. I just laughed and bossed my way in. "Oh yes, you do. I'm bringing peace and sunshine to this situation here!" I said. I'm not sure they knew what to think, but they let me stay. 

A fresh perspective really was helpful, and pretty soon everyone was laughing and sharing their stories with me. This was the most incredible group of people you can imagine, and I am humbled to have been in their presence. 

The Knights of Columbus are coordinating the volunteer registration, and they are the sweetest bunch of men of every age you will ever meet. Jen is a volunteer from Food Corp. She has put her own project on hold to take care of a greater need and has been working all week coordinating volunteers. Miss Susie has also been working for days. She's retired and volunteers quite a bit. She has a servant's heart and never stopped serving. 

Aaron is a young man I would adopt in an instant. He is with Team Rubicon and I will blog about them later. Suffice it to say, this young man's passion has touched my heart. He intends to change the world and he's doing a good job of it. When a woman was sobbing her eyes out over her unbelievable losses, I hugged her and prayed for her. Aaron was standing in line right next to me for his turn to hug her and offer help. His passion and kindness were breathtaking. When I saw this twenty-one year old student hug that sobbing woman, I thought to myself, "I want to partner with this young man. We CAN make a difference!" He, of course, doesn't need me to accomplish his mission in life, but I hope to somehow help him along his way. 

There were more wonderful volunteers than I can relate tonight. There will be more stories to come. There are more needs to meet. 

It was a tiring day. It was emotionally exhausting. It was, however, one of those great days you never forget. I saw people from all across this country come together for one purpose: to help those in need. With servant hearts that beat as one, that's exactly what we did. 

Why don't you join us next time? You will be so glad you did.