Monday, September 1, 2008
I had the amazing opportunity to volunteer at the Hurricane Gustav shelter today. I walked in the door and saw the 1800 people spread all around this huge building. Some were eating, some were sitting and talking, some were walking around, and some were attempting to rest on their cots. The first hour I was there I walked around and collected trash from people as they finished eating. After that more cots began arriving. I helped unload several cots from the boxes and get them ready to be handed out. The line began to form rather quickly and there were tons of people waiting for their makeshift bed for the next few days. I looked over and saw 2 precious older ladies sitting down looking on as people received their cots. I walked over to them and offered to get their cots for them. They thanked me and I went and got their cots then helped them find a spot and get set up. Once I knew they would be ok I headed back to the cots. The line died down and it seemed as though there was a lull. I walked over in the direction of the cots again and I spotted a precious older couple sitting together behind their cots. I walked over and sat down on the floor in front of them, smiled and said hi. They smiled back and said hi. We started talking and I absolutely fell in love with this couple. They are hands down two of the sweetest people I have ever met. Their names are Rosabelle and Limon and they are from Lafayette and have been married almost 40 years. We had some good talks about life at home, how they met, and their trip to OKC. After a little while I went back and checked on my 2 friends from earlier and picked up some snacks for them. I eventually left for a little while to rest and get some food. I got home and found that I couldn't stay away. I did rest for a little while and ate some dinner but I then headed back, eager to talk to my new friends again. I went back for about an hour and spent just about the entire time sitting with sweet Rosabelle and Limon. My friend Debbi happened to be there this time and saw me talking to Rosabelle and Limon. She came over and joined our conversation for a few minutes and before heading back to her station she asked if she could pray for them. They eagerly agreed and we had the priviledge of praying for this sweet couple. So what was so amazing about today? It wasn't when I was hauling trash and got stopped by a lady who looked me in the eye and said thank you; it wasn't when I struck up a conversation with a man as he ate dinner and he said "we need more people like you"; and it wasn't when Limon told me that he woke up feeling really down this morning but has felt much better because of all the people who have talked to him today. Hearing these things is nice, but it is not why I do the things I do. The amazing thing for me was even having the opportunity to minister to these wonderful people. Watching the footage on TV and hearing of the 2 million people that were displaced was absolutely breaking my heart. To be given the opportunity to be in a building with a handful of these people and have the opportunity to sit down with some of them and hear their stories meant the world to me. I do have to go back to work tomorrow but I have every intention of stopping by again tomorrow evening and you better believe I can be found with Rosabelle and Limon - I want to soak up every story they have to tell me.