Living in the Florida Panhandle for almost five years now, I like everyone else here keep my eyes focused on the Gulf during the months of June through November. This is the hurricane season and so far in 2008 the tropics are a-poppin.
I was here in 2004 when Ivan (above photo) hit us and in 2005 when Katrina just missed us and caused the catastrophic damage in Mississippi and Louisiana. Now that Gustav is bearing down upon our region, we are once again mobilizing Gateway’s disaster response and relief ministry.
In shuffling through my old Ivan and Katrina files a mixed bag of emotion hit me.
First I was struck once again by the amazing generosity of so many after these storms. For just one church- we distributed an incredible amount of money and supplies to people and other churches in the aftermath of these hurricanes. The majority of this came from individuals and congregations across the nation. Rereading some of these tender letters of prayer and support (which had originally included checks) almost brought me to tears.
Second, what did bring tears were the reminders- photos, reports from churches hit by Katrina, memories of going to the Mississippi Gulf Coast a couple of days after Katrina, and recalling our own digging out process after Ivan- of just how powerful, deadly and devastating these storms can be.
I think we Gulf Coast residents develop some type of defense denial mechanism when it comes to hurricanes. We do not want to think about them, try to deny them away from us and bury the bad memories.
All it takes is another big one headed our way to shatter that deceptive thin line of defense though.
Gustav is doing that right now.
Pray for us please.