I would like to introduce you all to Myrtle C. Jones. She is the homeowner of the house I have been working on for three months now. We have just completed and dedicated her home!! She has been such a joy and blessing in my life and has touched every volunteer that has come through her door. Her story is not terribly uncommon (sadly), but she is a woman that commands your attention, pours out love and generosity with words and is dedicated to making her renovated home a space of Christian hospitality.
At the time of Katrina, Myrtle was at a friend’s house in the city a few miles from her home. She was hoping to ride out the storm on higher ground, but the water rose (as we all know) much higher than expected. After two days in the attic and half a day on the roof, a boat came by only to drop her off in the street. She saw so many tragic and terrifying things before she was placed on a plane to Austin, TX. Four years after the storm, Myrtle was encouraged to come home by some friends and made the calls to hire contractors to get the house in order. The contractors bailed and left Myrtle with an incomplete home and no way to move forward having taken all of the federal funding she received.
I want to make sure that you all know that this rebuilding process happens through a huge network of people and organizations. Project Homecoming is a rebuild organization that provides a labor force of both volunteers and professionals. Some organizations provide materials that we use to rebuild with and some organizations provide grants and funding. Some individuals provide free legal services to help prosecute crooked contractors. Some churches provide food baskets for folks like Myrtle. I am one tiny part of huge effort to get the people of the Gulf Coast back on their feet. There is a sense of community here that is raised up with each new and rebuilt home and it is humbling to be a part of this unique experience. And I am here because of you, so thank you for being a part of the effort and allowing me to be here in your stead.
I hope that you have a wonderful start to your new year and that blessings will overflow in your own homes and in the lives of the ones you love. Please pray for Myrtle and please pray that my work would continue to provide her with a glimpse of hope.