Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Soaring Above the Storm

Things are very challenging in Pearlington right now. I think a lot of us know this. Never was there a greater need for residents to step up to help us direct the outcome of rebuilding and to support and nourish each other, as fear grows daily and desperation abounds. EVERY volunteer is burnt and tired; tired of trying to manifest new homes out of thin air and burnt by being blamed or criticised by some when they cannot.

My days are filled with trying to be supportive from a distance; listening and suggesting, counselling and calming, planning and creating. I feel helpless, knowing it will be four more weeks until I return, but no more helpless than every other volunteer in Pearlington who feels like they spend their days throwing bottled water on forest fires. It’s overwhelming.

Yet, it is my experience that NONE of those same volunteers would give up, even if God had told us all from the outset exactly what we were getting ourselves into. We don’t give up on our children, we don’t give up on faith, we don’t give up on the world and we will NOT give up on Pearlington - even if, desperate and scared, they drive us out of town.

So we will shoulder what we must and act better than some are acting towards us, and carry on. There are signs of life everywhere, things are getting done, people are on their way to help and we have had some exceptional volunteer groups donate their time, energy and money to the cause. Signs of progress are everywhere. I wish I could share with you all the things I know, the things that are being worked on and the miracles being created every single day. I will not at this time, because nothing is ever for certain and we will do nothing to disappoint these people.

Here’s some things I can share now:

The roof is on the new storage building at the field in Pearlington - pictures to follow. Now we are working hard at filling it up.

"Beautify Pearlington Week" is alive and well. View or download the .pdf file of the schedule of events here and let’s make Pearlington SHINE! To hell with the Hurricane season....let’s all be hippies and wave a flower in it’s face!

We are looking for some special volunteers for the last two weeks of June. The last Americorps team leaves Pearlington on the 14th and Laurie has 250 volunteers coming to town shortly thereafter. We are thinking of two teams of five, both with a leader responsible for the other four. You would assist Laurie in keeping the Volunteer Shelter, and other amenities, clean and ready for all the hard-working folks on their way to help. Those interested, please contact me and I will give you precise dates and a list of duties. Perhaps if we could get four teams of five, each set of two teams working for a week each....

I leave you with part of a hymn, sung this past Sunday by the Pearlington Praise Team at the First Southern Baptist Church:

"When the oceans rise and thunders roar,
I will soar with you above the storm."

Let us rest and gather our strength, volunteers and residents alike. We are partners in recovery and we travel this road together, for a time.

Then let us soar above the storm, take back the town from tragedy and despair, and show the world what courage and faith can do.

God bless,
Canada Jon
jonw@bconnex.net

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