Someone asked me today if I was glad to be home. I had to stop and think about it for a minute. While it's nice to be in my own space again, I can't honestly say that I'm glad to be home. While I appreciate my home, my thoughts are with those who have been living in FEMA trailers (think a medium size fifth wheel trailer) for almost two years, cramming their families into this small space. I think of the families who haven't sat down around a dinner table since Katrina simply because there isn't room. We did good work but there is still so much to do. The last thing Miss E said to us as we left her home was "Come visit us in December, we should be in our home by then." I pray that they are.Someone else asked me today what God had taught me on this trip. I think that the biggest reminder I had was that no matter what their exterior looks like, people are all the same on the inside. They desire to be loved, honored, respected and heard. While we did a lot of work, the most important work came when we stopped work and started listening to the homeowners. Really listening. I may not have accomplished all that I wanted to on the house but God accomplished a lot through the time I took to listen, laugh, ask questions and really hear the heart of Miss E, the homeowner I worked with. She said at one time, "Most volunteer groups don't want me to come around while they are working, I think I make them nervous, but you all are different, you don't mind that I come around, I don't make you nervous." I quickly corrected saying, "Oh, I don't mind you coming around and talking but you do make me nervous, but only because I want to do a good job for you." By the end of the week I could tell that we had renewed her faith in volunteers. That they care not only for the job they are doing but for her as a person as well. I pray for the volunteers that come after us, that they would take the time to do their jobs well, that they too would sit and listen to the stories and share in the lives of the people of Pearlington, no matter how nervous they may get.
One of the biggest lessons that I was taught, though, was that we weren't just there for the people of Pearlington. God worked through us everywhere we went. From the people we met in restaurants to people we sat next to in church to the people we met at the Motel 6. God had a plan and a purpose for every interaction we had. Tomorrow or I will post about my interaction with one of those people. It was probably the most heart piercing moment for me and the best God moment of the trip.