Where IS the hope?

The first wave was the hurricane. I’ll post lots more stories about some of the things folks told me about. However, for right now, I want to think about the “second wave.”

Some folks down on the Coast refer to the volunteers, the love, and the support that have been streaming in, as the continuing “second wave” of Katrina. Residents speak of the hope they find when they get a team of volunteers on their frontstep. Volunteers range from every area of the country, every age-group, and every other background. Many come for spiritual reasons, on mission trips. Others are compelled for different reasons.

We met a couple who have spent many winters on the Coast. They actually had thought to buy a home, but weren’t able to find the right one. When the hurricane hit, they knew they couldn’t abandon this community. They are spending their second winter serving others, building homes.

Volunteer Village hosted a group of Buddhists from Indonesia. They figured that this was something they could do in return for the aid they received during Tsunami recovery.

Still others came independently, feeling called by God (whatever he looks like to them) to go and do what needed doing. The need for them was obvious, not just to the citizens of D’Iberville, but to all of us in the Village.

Many people come not once but two, three, four times. Some stay a week, others months at a time.

I find hope, encouragement, and inspiration in the 225 volunteers staying in D’Iberville this week. With so many helping hands, I can actually imagine that one day, this job will be done. While I can’t fathom what D’Iberville, or the region, will look like when it’s “done”, there is actual hope and faith that it will get reach that point. That homes will be rebuilt, communities reshaped, and people reborn.

Residents of D’Iberville speak fondly of all the volunteer who help make rebuilding a reality for them, and many longingly wait for the day that rebuilding will be, for them too, a reality. Every imaginable way of saying “thank you” is being employed in this region. One person came to the Village, had dinner with us all, and presented a handwritten and framed poem about the “angels” she sees when she looks at us, the volunteers. Another person made beignets for every volunteer, every day. Someone collects names and signatures from every person working on her house – she plans to frame them and place them on a plaque in her front yard. Still others buy lunch for the volunteers, entrust us with their stories, engulf us in their hugs, and inspire our faith through example. These friends wouldn’t have been made without the storm, and this type of Godly love wouldn’t have been displayed without the storm.

I’m not saying that that these things negate, balance, or somehow “make ok” all of the terrible things people have and continue to experience. However, there is hope in knowing about it. I’m also not trying to pat myself on the back here, rather, I want it to be known that all the different kinds of support that people have gotten down there means a lot to each individual I spoke with. Whether that’s a volunteer, a Lowe’s giftcard, a check, a quilt, or anything else – it’s a beautiful, unexpected, and love-filled gift. It is seen, and it is treasured. Each one carries hope.


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