[ Godsends ]

Samaritans In the Aftermath

Samaritans in the aftermath

I am from Ocean Springs, Mississippi, which bore the full brunt of Hurricane Katrina's wrath on the Gulf Coast. When we returned home after the storm and found we had lost everything, I thought, "This is what it feels like to stand before the Lord. You have no earthly possessions, only what you have ever done for the Lord."

When we started pulling out the soggy ruins of what was left of our lives and throwing it all out to the street, I began to feel depressed. Not about the furniture, but the loss of personal things which meant so much to me.

I do not even have one picture of my deceased mother, my antique book collection, great-grandmother's china -- things like that. It hurt to see everything once so dear to us sitting in piles of rubble by the roadside.

We had such beautiful, large Live Oaks and magnolias -- every one of them down. My husband David's chainsaw had salt water in it and would not start. People passed by everyday asking for one to two thousand dollars to cut the trees for us.

All of our Bibles had been destroyed in the storm. We tried to dry some of them in the sun, but the pages would all tear or stick together.

One day a caravan of young guys pulled up. They were between the ages of 18 - 23 and had taken a semester out of school to come to Mississippi to cut people's trees for free. All they wanted was to pray for us and give us a Bible.

They were from a group called Samaritan's Purse. It was started by the son of Billy Graham. They do not take money for the help they give. Truly, they were angels who came to our rescue.

The group gave me the most beautiful leather-bound Bible you ever wanted to see. Each one of them signed their name to it and hugged us and promised to pray for us each day. When they handed us that Bible, I felt as though Jesus was standing right there comforting me.

Those young men and that Bible restored my faith and renewed my spirits. I do not let that Bible out of my sight now. I read it every night. Different people mark different scriptures they want me to read.

Post-Katrina, my values have changed drastically. I once had a nice home, beautiful furniture, a gorgeous yard. Now those things do not matter in the least. All I want is my family to be together again. Some sort of little trailer in our front yard would make me very happy!

I am sure a few years down the road I will once again want a comfortable, nice home. But for now, such things seem to have little to no meaning to me. When I do get back up on my feet, I am going to do all that I can to help other people in need, like the young Good Samaritans who did so much for us.

Jackie E.

Ocean Springs, MS