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Coming Home: Empty and Full

Again, you may click “Continue reading” below), or bookmark the new “what’s new?” page of the Morning Star Relief & Hospitality Ministry website (globalgracemissions.org), in order to follow the latest news about our efforts.

Thurs. 9/8, 12noon
Empty hands, empty van,
full hearts

Pastor and Mark are now on their way back to Rockford and expecting to arrive home Friday night. They’re not bringing anyone back with them (for now). There are a few very good reasons why evacuees should try stick as close as possible to the area for a while longer:

1. Staying “findable” and alert:

Many evacuees have not yet been able to make contact with family and friends, or vice versa. Many are still trying to find and/or identify loved ones.

2. Checking assets:

Some of these people still have stuff that can be salvaged. Also, FEMA is in the process of distributing $2000-value debit cards to
needy evacuees. People need to stay “findable” in order to receive this kind of help, too.

3. Receiving immediate counseling:

Many of these people are, naturally, still in shock. There are various medical and emotional needs that have to be addressed before people can handle more disruption.

A surprising story that illustrates well:

Apparently, a church in Washington, D.C., sent 3 buses packed with supplies. After distribution, the 3 buses went around to centers and invited anyone willing to relocate to housing and opportunities in D.C. After visiting multiple shelters, all 3 buses collected only one passenger for the return trip.

Full hearts:

This has been a profitable, educational trip; Pastor and Mark know that they were able to be immensely helpful in a number of ways. Even though they decided not to bring anyone home with them, they learned vital information that will help us as a group know better how to help the evacuees in the future.

Thurs. 9/8, 11am

“Bad news makes news” has rung true down South lately. Not to diminish the very real presence of danger and violence, but Pastor and Mark have definitely been impressed by the gratitude and spirit of the people they’ve met. As Cindy Swanson quotes in her weblog account of this morning’s interview,* Pastor says, “[Anger and frustration have] not been our experience. We expected that. (But) I have been hugged so many times, I mean, I’ve gotten enough hugs to last me a year–and thanked. Just thanked for coming, even though I had nothing to offer.” The depravity of people is evident, but there are also, in stark contrast, many people who are dealing with their losses quietly and calmly.

* More details about this morning’s interview (when it will be aired, on what channel) will be posted soon. There were a couple issues with the connection, but things went pretty smoothly overall.

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