Let's start at the end. About 20 of us were sitting around the living room in our trailer, having finished off a shrimp boil put on by Don Morgan from the Back Bay staff. Our group of nine shared the meal with about a dozen folks from Congregational UCC in St. Charles, Ill. And then people began to talk about what the experience of the last week meant to them.
For some, it was the satisfaction of the work they did on the houses. For others, it was coming face to face with people who are homeless. For still others, it was the joy of new relationships with people from their own congregation and meeting those from others. Some talked about the conversations they had with people who had survived the hurricane. One woman from Illinois said what she saw this week was what church is really all about. Many reflected on the vast array and energy of volunteers from the UCC and from other denominations who have come to the Gulf Coast and New Orleans to help people.
There were reflections on the things that disquieted people as well. Several mentioned the sense of discouragement about the long-term prospects for Biloxi, to say nothing of the poor who live there. Others talked about the greed that has siphoned off recovery money to the wealthy that should have gone to programs to aid low-income people.
Those of us working on Darrell's house wrapped up our work at mid-day, having reframed all the walls and installed five new windows. There is more work to be done there, but that will be picked up by the next group. We all gathered with Darrell outside his home for good wishes to each other and a prayer together. And then we were on our way.
Two links you might want to pursue:
A column for the Cap Times about gratitude
An audio of a sermon about the trip -- click on the Nov. 18 service.
It's been a great week. Thanks to all of you back home for your care and support and prayers on our journey. See you soon.