I drove my usual road to the Church watching for debris piles fallen onto the pavement. Trees down, houses with blue tarps covering ruined roofing and too much roadkill on an empty stomach provided the pictures for my drive.
The Little Town is damaged but, excuse me for saying this, not as badly as my area. The storm surge didn't reach that far but tornados, torrential rain and great wind did.
I was so glad to see the Church that I sat inside my car at the curb and stared. The roof damage is easy to see although the roof pitch is high like old-fashioned churches. The trees took heavy blows but the Carpenters for God in Orlando cleared the grounds. The Elders said of this fine work crew, "It would have taken us a year to do what they did in a few days!" Another church, way up North, sent boxes upon boxes of pump sprayers (to kill mildew/mold), toiletries, toothbrushes, underwear, socks, t-shirts and shoes. The congregation looked at the stuff. I told them it was for them and if they didn't need it, would they please give it out to their neighbors. With delight, they took most of the stuff saying, "I could use some new drawers...", and "Look!,these socks are MY size!" It's not easy for self-sufficent people to accept things they enjoyed going home from church with new, clean, never worn underwear,etc. All the toothbrushes left, too. Nothing like fresh socks, clean drawers and a new toothbrush to spruce up a hot October day after the Big Blow.
I stood in the pulpit and looked out at every single person on my roll, minus 2. Everyone was in worship! I felt as happy as I've felt since the Storm seeing my folks. We sang, prayed, had the Lord's Supper (note to self: keep looking for grape juice, you will find it. Thanks for not taking the grape fanta soda in for the service)and loved one another.
We got on a list to have the roof repaired. We updated our needs assessment for the congregations who have "adopted" us out of state and prepared for the next group who is coming to help us.
I am elated. Thanks be to God for allowing me to return to my people and find them well and able.
Thanks to you, too, for your prayers.