Our last day on the job and we finished strong, both teams completed their projects. Altogether, we cleaned 3 yards, laid concrete on a driveway, buried a few boulders, helped put siding on two houses, back filled holes left by downed trees, put on a roof, fixed two damaged porches, gutted a church, cleaned a church library (different church), rebuilt a chain link fence, and more. The volume of work was amazing, and although in the grand scope of damage Hurricane Michael left behind it was a pittance, it made a massive difference for the people we helped. The projects Send Relief chooses aren’t random, they look for people who truly need help. Often they’re elderly, other times disabled, and sometimes they’re people who are too busy helping others (like first responders and emergency services) to have time to help themselves.
As important as the physical labor is, however, it is the interactions we have with the community that matter most. By helping meet their physical needs we create opportunities to address the deeper personal needs not only of those we’re for whom we’re working, but also their neighbors, friends and others who see and here about what’s going on. Panama City is devastated. The surrounding communities are all but wiped out. The ability to simply listen to their stories is a help the survivors appreciate. And often it leads to an opportunity to share the gospel. Several times this week that proved to be the case.