Sometimes I don't think I fully comprehend the damage and destruction caused by Katrina. Yes, I work here. Yes, I've seen pictures and footage. On the other hand, my first time coming to New Orleans happened 4 years after the storm.
Ronnie and I were riding into the city on Thursday when we stopped at a red light. Beside us was a maze of highways and interstates intertwining in bridges. I've stopped at that red light many times and occasionally, you might see a man walking up and down the intersection, asking for money. Ronnie looked over at me and told me about the first year she came down. She said that there were tons of people living under those bridges with tents set up. Some didn't even have a tent, but simply a mattress on the ground, just trying to find shelter underneath those busy highways.
I talked to one of the staff members last night who is from New Orleans. I asked her about the week of Katrina and what it is like now. She said that some people say it's no different than any other week in the city, but she can tell the difference. There's something on the people's faces when you walk past them.
When I walk around the city and I see empty, abandoned houses my heart breaks. Still, I don't think I can fully appreciate what this community went through. Some team members have asked me why anyone even stays in New Orleans; why would you want to live in a bowl that at any given moment could wash away? The best answer I can think of is that it is their home. They love this city even more than I do. What humbles me and puts me in awe is that Christ loves this city even more than them. He died for the people in this city.
This week, I was reminded why I am here. To let Christ's love shine through me and Crisis Response so that maybe the next homeowner we help will see Jesus through us.
Thank you for your prayers,
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’" Matthew 25:40