Mighta Shoulda…from Mississippi

I am typing this from the sanctuary of Hannesboro Presbyterian Church, about twenty minutes outside of Gulfport, Mississippi. I am sitting on the floor behind the pulpit—the place where I found a plug that works. The church looks amazing—something I am told is because a lot of work cleaning it up since Katrina. Another interesting story about this church…apparently before Katrina the church and its facilities were open one hour a week, for Sunday services, and then closed up and unused the rest of the week. Now, in addition to housing much of our team for the week, it is the relief center for this part of Mississippi and has almost constant activity. Some higlights of the trip so far:
I am typing this from the sanctuary of  Hannesboro Presbyterian Church, about twenty minutes outside of Gulfport, Mississippi.  I am sitting on the floor behind the pulpit—the place where I found a plug that works.  The church looks amazing—something I am told is because a lot of work cleaning it up since Katrina. Another interesting story about this church…apparently before Katrina the church and its facilities were open one hour a week, for Sunday services, and then closed up and unused the rest of the week. Now, in addition to housing much of our team for the week, it is the relief center for this part of Mississippi and has almost constant activity.

Some higlights of the trip so far:

There are 27 of us on the trip, 8 women, 19 men. By some horrible twist of fate, the women are all sleeping in an unfinished barn (what used to be the tool shed) on cots and air matresses, while most of the men are in the ‘Grace House,’ which, among other things, is carpeted and has a large color tv! This is not right! When I walked in to the Grace House the guys were all sitting comfortably (there are no chairs for ‘sitting comfortably’ in the barn, and even if there were, there is no room for them among our wall to wall cots and air mattresses) watching the Broncos football game.  I did get quite a response from them when I asked if they would minding switing over to Desperate Housewives…
Just as a bit of background, the Grace House is a house that was bought by Grace Presbyterian, in Long Beach, with part of their funds from their recently building program—they figured they should spend some of that money investing in others, so they bought a place to house volunteers that are coming down to work on the rebuilding projects with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.

I flew in a day ahead of the team and took the opportunity to visit friends from Scotland (but they are Americans), Tee and Kathryn, who live two hours away in Baton Rouge. The last time I had seen them was in Scotland about a year and a half ago, in the hospital, hours after their daughter Sarah was born, and as I was on my way to catch a train to begin my journey back to the US. So, it was fun to see Sarah, now 18, and Thomas, now just over 3, and to get to spend some time with Tee and Kathryn over dinner last night.

On my way back from Baton Rouge I drove through New Orleans. I have never been to New Orleans, so I don’t have anything to compare it with. I didn’t really know where I wanted to go, so I saw the Super Dome and drove past that, then found my way to Canal Street and onto Bourbon Street and through some neighborhoods of the French Quarter. I am ashamed to admit that one of the first things that came to mind was, ‘gosh, this looks so much like Disneyland, like…oh, that makes sense…like New Orleans square…’

I was back in Gulfport in time for lunch at, I am also afraid to admit it, Applebee’s. I do have this tendency toward liking chain restaurants, and I would love to say that it was just what was convenient at the time, but actually, I had seen this particular Applebee’s when I arrived yesterday and premedidated going there for lunch today! To my defense, we don’t have Applebee’s in Newport Beach, so it is not something I can get at home (though driving 30 miles could get me there, but who wants to expend all that effort just to go to Applebee’s??) and during my time in Princeton I became rather fond of their boneless buffalo wings. So, there I was, sitting in an Applebee’s, eating my boneless buffalo wings, when a woman, who seemed like a local, said to the others at her table, “We mighta shoulda gotten some of these here new potatoes…” I love it! I am definitely in Mississippi! Not only that, we had ‘sweet tea’ with dinner tonight.

I just got word that the lights in the barn are being turned out (it does have lights!) and since I am sleeping up in the loft, I should probably get out there and make my way up the ladder before I have to climb it in the dark…

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