The media heard about our church building's destruction and came to the church to interview Russ and get footage for the evening news. It should be on video stream at:
The parsonage is like Grand Central Station with phone calls, planning meetings, and emergency prayer requests. I'll be honest and say I've had to pray for God to give me grace because even though I'm a people person to the max, I also like a certain amount of alone time each day to decompress.
I'm grateful, though, that we have a place we can use for God and for our community, to reach out to them in their time of need. We will have at least one house guest spend the night, and others coming for a meal tonight, and perhaps a quick shower. And of course, those without power have been invited over to watch the news coverage of our church loss. I'm making a big pot of chile verde because it will feed a crowd and I don't need to fuss in the kitchen all day with it.
The insurance adjuster will be coming on Monday to do the appraisal, and she gave us permission to go ahead an start the clean up work since we have documented everything with photos. So, we will be able to remove the foul-smelling ceiling tile (it has been getting wet for years and years, so you can imagine...) and the soggy carpet. We'll also sort through the hymnals and pew Bibles and separate the damaged pews from the decent ones. Of course, we don't know many churches with mismatched pews, so they will probably count it a total loss since it would be near impossible to find pews to match today since these were quite old. Tomorrow we are calling for a work day for anyone who can come out, but we aren't expecting them to if they have health ailments or their own emergencies to tend to. But there are a few members who really want to have a part in the clean-up, so this will give them a chance to get the church ready for services on Sunday.
Russ and a couple of other guys (thanks Rich and Jesse) already set up the Fellowship Hall for church service on Sunday. We still don't have power, but we are prepared to have at least an abbreviated service no matter what because we don't want to allow the devastation to get the better of us!
So many of you have asked what you can do to help. I know we have cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer coming. We will know more what we need after the adjuster gets the appraisal complete. There will be deductibles to meet for sure. We will be meeting in the Fellowship Hall for several months while the repairs are going on. I'll keep you posted. We are just so blessed to report that as far as we know, no lives were lost in our area due to this horrific storm, and the rescue teams that came in to offer aid to our community were quick and efficient, ready to offer ice, water, and food rations (RTE Army-style).
My odd sense of humor kicks in at the strangest times. Like today when I read that Hurricane Humberto was the last Texas hurricane of 2007 and Dolly the first of 2008--and we experienced BOTH of them. We had Humberto on our way down here to try out for the position. And we warned the people here that extreme weather follows us wherever we go. And then now we have Dolly. "We told you so!"
We aren't discouraged. We have a great God. And we know things could be much worse. And we also know that the church is the people, not the building. But there's just something sacred about that sanctuary, so to see it destroyed really knocks the air out of you when you first walk in.
In fact, when we walk our church members through to tour the damage, it is very similar to being at the funeral home and meeting someone at the door who came to the viewing, and walking them up to the casket telling them all the good memories of the deceased and helping them gently walk the walk of grief to say their good-byes. Those first moments for anyone seeing the damage are very somber.
Thank you, THANK YOU, for your many notes of kindness, prayers, and support.