When I came to New Orleans, I expected to be overwhelmed.
I expected city life to be overwhelming. I have never lived in a city before. The traffic. The U-Turn lanes. The streets jutting out at odd angles. The neighborhoods that just keep blending into one another.
I expected the sight of the vast amounts of remaining storm damage to be overwhelming. The empty houses. The empty streets. The empty lots.
I expected my new job to overwhelming. I came to educate others about coastal erosion and the importance of coastal wetlands, but when I arrived I knew nothing about the issues. I had a lot to learn. The history. The causes. The complexities.
I expected the issues of coastal land loss to be overwhelming. The magnitude of the problem. The people losing their homes. The under-publicized impact on the entire nation.
I expected the distance from home to be overwhelming. The long stretches without seeing my fiancé, parents, or siblings.
As I expected, I have struggled to some extent with all of these things, but what I’ve found to be the most overwhelming hasn’t been a struggle at all. I’ve been overwhelmed by Christians from across the country who have shown Christ’s love for me.
Christ’s Love is Everywhere
Christians from my home church, Union First Presbyterian Church of Cowansville contributed generously to my fundraising and send me care packages ranging from Halloween decorations to Christmas cookies to gift cards.
Christians from my home presbytery, Presbytery of Kiskiminetas contributed generously to my fundraising and keep me in their prayers.
Christians in my family have provided so much support.
Christians from the First Presbyterian Church of Bayou Blue, my church here in Louisiana, make sure that I never walk into the church without getting a hug or walk out of the church without my arms full of delicious leftover food.
Christians who are fellow YAVs and housemates daily show their love and support.
Christians who work in the Project Homecoming office always take the time to talk to me when I stop by, even if all I only stopped by to pick up the mail.
A Christian from North Carolina works at the volunteer village in New Orleans and always greets me with a smile.
Christians from across the United States, from Seattle, Washington to Miami, Florida and everywhere in between come to Louisiana to help rebuild homes and communities. I teach them about coastal land loss, and then as we share dinner after my presentations, they teach me about life, love, and how God knows exactly what we need. I’ve seen God do incredible things over these dinners for volunteers, but that’s a story for another day.
Being overwhelmed by Christ’s love gives me strength when I’m struggling with personal problems and motivation when I’m daunted by coastal land loss issues. After all, “If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)” Thank you to everyone who has loved me in Christ’s name.
– Gloria King