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Hurricane Katrina Relief- Week 6
November 18, 2005 --- (81 days after the storm)

Subject: Mud, Muck, and Mold in Mississippi

Hello Friends!
I am now in my second week of my second trip to Mississippi to do hurricane relief work.  I will be headed home early on Wednesday, and I must say I will look back and fondly reminisce about the mud, muck, and mold... really I will!  It is hard to leave this place where so many friendships have been made, and where the need is still so great.  Each of us is able to do so little, and when we leave we feel like we are abandoning the people who need us so much. But the miracle is that we are each a part of something greater. Everyone who came here to work, everyone who gave money, everyone who sent supplies, everyone who fund-raised, everyone who sent a kind note... people all around the world, are a part of the miracle that is happening here.  I saw a sign that said, "Hurricane Katrina was an act of Nature, what we've done after is an Act of God."  In the face of the unbelievable incomprehensible destruction and despair, the love of strangers sustains people who have nothing else to cling to. 

Here at Camp Coast Care, I've gotten to do many things: Used a crow bar to tear down countless walls, learned to use a chain-saw, driven a forklift, registered people as they came into our free medical clinic, shoveled the most foul smelling mucky mud you can imagine, threw the shovel aside and picked up the mucky mud by hand, prayed with people, cried with people, used a sledge hammer to demolish moldy cabinets, pushed a still-full refrigerator off of the second story of a house (on purpose), built three picnic tables out of a pile of wood, became a crew chief, worshiped in a church with no walls... been changed forever. 

I've spent most of my time here out on work crews.  Homeowners submit work orders to our group, and we go out to complete them. These vary from completely gutting a house down to the studs, to clearing the yard of debris and down trees. Time after time, day after day, we meet challenges that seem insurmountable, and yet we accomplish the task. Just getting out of bed the second day seemed like an unattainable goal.  But every time I think I am too tired to go on, that surely the next day I will have run out of energy, every time I am amazed to see that the work leaves me energized and ready to go out again. Every day I watch a hopeless mess of a house turn into a frame ready to be rebuilt, ready for renewal to begin.  It is like fighting against the destruction, and replacing it with hope.  And seeing how much it means to the homeowners, is such a gift to us, worth every ounce of effort, and then some. The director of this camp, Joe Robinson, said that the miracle of this place is that we all come and work harder than we ever have, and give so much of ourselves, and we leave so much more full than when we came, that's God's economy. 

Day after day, hour after hour, I learned that God gives us what we need to do the work we are called to do.  God brings joy and renewal to sadness and despair. And we are God's hands in the world, each and every one of us!

I look forward to seeing you all soon! 
May the Peace of the Lord be always with you,
all my love, Robin
Hurricane Relif workers, Leann & Robin & Lucie hiding behind
"ucky mud house" after 1 day of clean up work
Moldy cabinets
The kitchen of the "mucky mud house" after day 2,
Leann displays her professional ability with the wheelbarrow
Flag pole at Coast Episcopal School, host of Camp Coast Care
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