From Friday, October 14 – Tuesday, October 18, eighteen students and five staff / faculty went to Biloxi, Mississippi to help with the relief effort. In the next few days, I hope to share some of our thoughts about the experience.
On the first day, we cleaned and set straight a small cinderblock church where the water rose to 7 feet inside of the structure. One of the twelve pews floated above the water and came to rest off of the ground in the back upper corner of the church; Nathan Geer called it the “balcony”. The remaining pews, hymnals and pulpit had all been shaken and returned haphazardly around the sanctuary.
We took out the pews and cleaned them, ripped and removed the crustied carpet and sprayed the walls, ceiling and floor with a chemical to kill the mold that had begun growing because of the dampness. Next to the church was a man’s workshop with the pictured sign on the streetside of his building.
“WE WILL ‘KILL’ YOU. YOU CAN BE PART OF THE TRASH”
We were able to talk to the mother of the pastor as well as the pastor. It was unexpected to see so much courage and perseverance in the people that we talked to. I enjoyed watching the students listen to folks as they shared their stories. We were expecting to see folks who had been defeated and walking with their shoulders drooping forward. It wasn’t that they were proud but didn’t seem to be as down-trodden as I would have been if water had filled my home or church and caused everything that I owned to rot.