Three years ago we were glued to the television watching in disbelief as Hurricane Katrina pounded New Orleans and the Mississippi coast. I cried many times in the following days at the stories of complete devastation, of people's lives torn apart. And that was all from 2500 miles away, in the safety and comfort of my California home.
When we moved to Arkansas, there were still evidences of Katrina here, in the form of Red Cross shelters for Katrina victims. After all, New Orleans is only an 8-hour drive from here. Central Arkansas has become the permanent home of many people displaced by Katrina. They are all over this area, seeking to rebuild their lives here. They are even in our church. It is so easy to feel disconnected from disasters like Katrina when you live far away. We are expecting the aftermath of Gustav to hit Central Arkansas, not only in the form of evacuees, but in much rain as well. So keep your eyes on us! This is shaping up to be an eventful week.
Now we watch the ominous approach of Gustav, due to make landfall tomorrow. This impending disaster feels so much more real when you live within easy driving distance. For you in the Bay Area, it would be like a hurricane hitting Orange County. For those in Spokane, imagine a hurricane hitting Boise or Portland. Makes it feel a lot different. The evacuations are much more organized and wide-spread this time around. Most of the people in the at-risk areas are well on their way out. But that doesn't make Gustav any less horrible. People are still going to lose their homes, belongings, and ways of life if Gustav directly hits New Orleans again. And chances are, we'll be seeing many of those people here in our area.
So I ask you, please be praying. Pray for the safety of the people in Gustav's path. Pray that hearts will be open to God, as He often moves in when people are at their lowest points. Pray that other cities (Little Rock, Baton Rouge, Houston, etc.) will be ready to welcome the evacuees and meet their needs as they wait out this storm. I'll keep you posted as this week unfolds.