The Mind of WebbWoman

Hello! Look for future posts about my "observations" Lord knows I am always making observations, movie reviews, whenever I see a movie I want to talk about, or I may just vent my frustrations...who knows?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Give, and it shall be given.....

"”But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth."
~~II John 3:17-18


After Katrina hit the Gulf, churches from all over sent gifts of money, food, gasoline and clothes to our church. We got together and made care packages to give to everyone in our community, then the outlying areas, and they still kept sending stuff. My pastor called his Bible distributer and ordered about 100 Bibles to put in the care packages. This man has a ministry providing Bibles at low cost for pastors and missionaries. He told his church about our order; meanwhile they had been praying about finding a way to be a blessing to Katrina victims. An elderly handicapped man gave a donation of $11.00 in pennies. His donation opened the flood gates and in the end this tiny church in Indiana sent our tiny church in Mississippi some 7,500 Bibles! At the same time, churches in Tennessee and Alabama sent donations of money that we used to purchase food, and food containers. Every week since October 3rd till Christmas, people from our church of about 50 faithful members have had the opportunity to go to the Gulf Coast towns of Bay St. Louis, Waveland and Long Beach, giving away hot meals and Bibles to anyone who wants them. It's like a vicious cycle: The more we give away the more we get to give! Right at Christmas we had been able to give away all the food and Bibles, but we've been told about a possible 1,000 more Bibles headed our way and more money might be donated. All these donations were freely given by people from all over. None were solicited.

The following pictures show just a tiny part of this ministry:

The first time we went, we set up in the yard of a co-worker of two of our menbers. We set up a grill and went door to door giving away meals of a hamburger or hotdog, cold soft drink, chips and a Bible.

The burgers and hotdogs were grilled on site.....
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...and an assembly line was set up to put the burgers and dogs together.
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We then loaded up an ice chest full of cold soft drinks in a wagon with some chips, burgers and/or hotdog meals and Bibles and set out door to door.
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People were so excited to receive a burger that we thought "Why not give them a good hot meal instead?" It took some thought and some working to expand our recipes, but we’ve since perfected jambalaya, red beans and rice, potato salad and spaghetti for 500. Tuesdays we give away meals of jambalaya, Thursdays, spaghetti and Saturdays we give red beans and rice.

Each time we set up at another spot, trying to get at least one Bible to everyone in the area, and a good hot meal to anyone who wants one.

Our menu changed from day to day: Tuesdays, we'd make jambalia; Thursdays, spagetti; and Saturdays were red beans and rice. I had the privelage to go everytime the first two weeks went down there, then I had to go back to work. (gotta pay the bills) But I still got the chance to go down there on Saturdays.

The mornings we went to "feed" started early. Everything was cooked that morning. Of course onions, peppers, sausage, chicken, etc is chopped, sliced and prepared the night before, but the actual cooking takes place that morning.

Here, the two huge pots being stirred below are beans. (Enough to make around 500 meals) Once the beans (or jambalia, or spagetti) is done and has reached the proper temp, they are dipped into ice chests that are double lined with plastic bags that are tightly closed. This helps to keep the food hot enough till we have all the meals served. In both photos below you can see me doing a bad scene from McBeth:
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Cleanup for the big pots took place outside. We’d put dish soap and hot water in the pots and scrub them out there because they were way too big to wash in the kitchen. Then we’d hose everything off.
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Before leaving, we’d gather together for a time a prayer for God’s blessing on the day and that He’d get the glory in everything done.
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We’d set up the food on tables in an assembly line preparing the meals in polystyrene containers.
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We liked to have at least two crews on four wheelers pulling wagons of meals, soft drinks and Bibles into the neighborhoods delivering meals and Bibles door to door. The following are a few photos of our crews going door to door. Sadly, the hardest hit areas had no one living there because there was no place to stay. We would find one person here and another there, but the deeper we went there was nothing.

Both crews met at this house:

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Our crew at an intersection. Notice all the brown trees in the background that's a pine forrest (evergreen). They reason they are all brown is because salt water flooded the whole area here:

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Some of the homes they visited:

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And here we see a part of one of our crews in a group photo with a lady and her son. This was a ministry that everyone in our church, no matter their age took part in. The kids loved going, they thought it was "unfair" that they had to go to school on Tuesdays and Thursdays instead of going to the coast.

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We also were able to give away meals and Bibles at the set up stations. People driving by would see our church sign and stop. The sign was blown out by the storm so we took it with us and leaned it up where it could be seen by passers by.

Then too, we knew how to flag people down and let them know we were there. Poor Mom and Dad; they never thought their baby girl would end up standing on a street corner.
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Here I have a little help.
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And another sign crew.
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We learned quickly to set up where cars can “drive through.” We’d ask how many meals, what kind of drinks and how many Bibles they wanted.
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More curb side service:
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The Red Cross drove by several times checking us out. At another location a couple of Red Cross guys stopped by and hung out awhile. They even ate some red beans. I thought they were pretty good fellows. Besides we’re all on the same team when you take the broad view.
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We flagged down this fellow and he didn’t want any food, but when he got back to the station he was sent back to get some for the others. We usually made a delivery to the local police/fire station while there anyway.
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A good many workers stopped by too. In the harder hit areas the most people we gave meals to those working in the clean up effort because, as I said before, no one was home.
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More drive ups and walk ups:

This fellow came up and our littlest helper was there to serve him. (She took her duty serious! Her job was to give people a Bible and she made sure to do it)
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These ladies were so sweet. They stayed and talked for a while. They were as excited about replacing the Bibles that they lost in the storm as they were about a hot meal.
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And this is so funny. You can’t see here very well but the cab of that pickup is full of dogs. The fellows had lunch on the hood of the truck and they wanted to share really bad. You can see one fellow sticking his head out the window wondering if he could safely jump out.
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When we went we set up in the parking lots of destroyed businesses, vacant lots, etc. People were more than willing to let us set up. One place was in the drive way of some people whose house was too damaged to stay in. They not only let us set up there, they helped deliver the meals. Here are the Ramseys, owners of a convenience store in Long Beach who let us set up in their parking lot while they were making repairs to their store. I’m sure we were in their way while we were there, but they were more than happy to let us set up.
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I believe to date our tiny church had the opportunity to give away 11,500 hot meals and 7,500 Bibles. Each paid for by donations from people from all over the country. I couldn’t begin to name them all, mostly because I don’t know them, but God knows and he will greatly bless their generosity. I have no idea why God chose our tiny church to have the privilege of participating in this project but I’m glad he did, and I’m glad I had the chance to be a part of it.

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