Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Friday, September 09, 2005

A Deeper Impact

Even though I've watched the news coverage over the past 12 days, I'm still blown away by pictures like this.

Or this

A few days ago, HISD began enrolling evacuees into their schools. I thought I would like to have one in my class, but figured it wouldn't happen since I have a full class and we're a slightly obscure charter school. So needless to say, I was surprised when Ms. Williams, our school's middle school's assistant principal, arrived at our campus yesterday and brought her three-year-old nephew to me. He and 15 other family members are New Orleans evacuees staying with Ms. Williams and her husband. My heart immediately melted when I met little Justin. He is the sweetest thing! And I can only imagine what he has witnessed over the past two weeks.

I don't know the whole story, but I do know that when the hurricane hit they had evacuated to the Convention Center. Soon they were told to move to the Superdome, but after they arrived there they were sent back to the Convention Center. I remember hearing the stories on Fox News about the people arriving and waiting in line to get into the Superdome Monday night and Tuesday morning. But then the Superdome was evacuated shortly after they arrived. I also remember seeing the first report about the people at the Convention Center on CNN. I was horrified - people waiting days for help to arrive, suffering through the heat outside because it was too dangerous to stay inside. I vividly remember seeing video footage of families huddled together, suffering together, protecting each other. And now I have little Justin in my class. Little Justin, whose 9-month pregnant mother* carried him through waist deep water from the devastation of the Superdome

to the devastation of the Convention Center.

I can imagine Justin sitting with his mother, waiting for help to come...much like this woman and her child...

Justin and his whole family made it to Houston safe and sound last Thursday. They were somehow transported to Houston in a van, with only the clothes on their back and an extra change of clothes, and are being taken care of by Ms. Williams and her husband. But there are NINETEEN of them. The Williams can only do so much.

There are THOUSANDS of stories like this one, I know. And even though I heard the stories and saw the pictures, meeting little Justin has impacted me deeper than anything else.

I've been praying and asking God to help me be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who are suffering. I never expected Him to answer my prayer in this way, but I am honored to have this opportunity.

Let me know if you're also interested in supporting, praying for, and loving this family.

*Justin's mother went into labor and delivered a healthy baby boy, Joseph Williams Jr., Friday morning, the day after they all arrived in Houston.

All the above photos from photo essays

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