This is the street map to Pearlington, MS. This little town has gotten under my skin. My first trip to Pearlington was in April of 2006. I was traveling with a team of people from church who had felt called by God to help with the recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast. We were assigned to a camp in Pearlington. We arrived in the middle of the night. I remember passing signs that said "Caution Turtle Crossing" as we drove into town that made me laugh. We were not in California anymore.
We wouldn't see the effects of Hurricane Katrina until the following morning. That's when we realized just how small the town was and just how devastated they had been. We spent the week Mucking and Gutting, doing whatever we could to help the residents get back into their homes. Our last night in Pearlington, we sat around the camp exhausted but not really wanting to go back home. I spent a lot of time that night asking God if I was supposed to come back to Pearlington for a long-term mission or keep coming back for short term missions. I got my answer as the group talked over the next few weeks. We were going to Pearlington again...soon!
I've organized and taken three trips since then: December of 2006, June of 2007 and this past December bringing as many as 28 people to work for a week. We went into this last trip in December knowing that this would possibly be the last large group trip for a year. The church and our sponsors have been very generous, but the coffers are getting a little thin. Plus scheduling wise next winter is the earliest the Youth can make another trip.
But I left Pearlington knowing that I, personally, couldn't wait a year to go back. And so for the last couple of months I've been praying, asking God to open or close doors to a return trip this Easter. I've talked with a couple of friends, figured out some of the financing and heard God say "Yes". I'm going with a few people who have gone on the previous trips with me, but I'm not going in my capacity as Youth Director. I've taken vacation time and I'm going as Brittany, someone passionate about helping the residents of Pearlington return to their homes. It was a hard decision to make, whether or not to take a big group of people with me, but I think God is urging me to slow down and just enjoy the experience. I need the opportunity to work without the pressure of being responsible for 27 other people and I'm really looking forward to spending this time with a few friends.
Yep, I'm feeling a little crazy, but so excited!