I20 West BoundA lot of people in the Monroe/West Monroe and throughout much the entire state of Louisiana were under water; many for the first time, as they were not in flood zones. This meant that most did not have flood insurance and lost everything. Sadly, there were even a few deaths. My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones and personal items.
A home in Monroe, LANot much could be done for anyone until the water went down. So many were stranded in their "Island Homes." Those were some of the luckier ones, as many had to evacuate by boat, as their homes were slowly swallowed up by the flood waters. All of us understand how damaging water can be, but think about what is in this water; sewage, snakes, and possibly even alligators. After all, you are in Louisiana.
Some of the stories I heard were pretty interesting. I have a friend of mine that had minimal loss, but her and her husband were stranded in their house for days. Pictures show the water knocking on their door. Fortunately, they had electricity, water and their food storage, so they were good to go...or maybe I should say, good to stay.
Let's fast forward to Saturday, 19 March. After much work and organization, a group from our church were ready to work. Now, many of the local churches and other organizations had already helped a lot of the community, but not everyone was able to receive assistance. Last I heard (which was 18 March), there were over 11,000 homes affected.
About 7:30 Saturday morning, dressed in their yellow shirts and vests, The Mormon Helping Hands started working on the homes. Now, all the week before, many phone calls were made, and the work orders were entered into the system. Supplies came in, including cleaning supplies, hygiene kits, water, tools, and so forth. Many church members from the North East Louisiana, and Mississippi areas were there to help. Some even traveled as far as 2+ hours to help. They stayed in motels, other's slept in sleeping bags at the church building.
Saturday, the work went on until, well, I know I left at 7:30 pm, and many were still working, entering completed work orders into the computer.
Next week, is Easter. Many will still be displaced, and it looks like we will be out helping those in need. I worked about 24 hours this past weekend among some of the most incredible people. Everyone was so patient and willing to do whatever needed to help individuals they never even met. That is truly being Christ-like, and isn't that what it's all about?
Many will be back next week, even those who traveled from afar. I look forward to working with these people in the efforts of getting our area back on its feet again. I know, that we will arise from this disaster as a stronger, better community.
In closing, I would like to share a scripture that helps me whenever I encounter hard times.
"My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
"And then , if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes."
Doctrine and Covenants 121:7-8