An extremely apt African proverb!
Today, at 9AM we the Lburg & Lton branches of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints met to form a hurricane clean up crew. Known as Mormon Helping Hands, we serve the community it time of need.
Today was my first volunteer experience with Mormon Helping Hands because I’m a fairly new Mormon. Less than a year in fact.
Today, I saw what flood damage was. You think you know, when you see the devastation on tv. I did. I thought was prepared for cleaning out a house. It’s nothing like I imagined.
This particular house had a hardwood floor under another floor (perhaps carpet at one time), sheet rock walls, and way more space than my tiny apartment.
We had a group of maybe 10 folks who took up the floor, cut the walls out (above where the flooding reached and then some), and remove items from the wall and rooms.
Sounds simple, right?
It wasn’t by any means.
We had to wear masks because it had been two weeks, two weeks for the black mold and mildew to grow. Two weeks for furniture to rot and mattresses to ruin. Two weeks for cabinets to hold flood water and warp. The smell was intense.
I worked in the kitchen, taking down wall art, cleaning out cabinets, throwing away flood damaged food. I had dishes to sort, throw away, spices to toss. So many things; toasters, microwaves, mixers were all rendered useless by flood water.
Photographs on the fridge of grand babies, awards banquets (home of a retired firefighter and his wife), vacations. All were wet and ruined.
It hurt to throw away these people’s lives, their keep sakes. We saved what we could:
But can I tell you how worthwhile it was? These people, with nothing, overwhelmed with memories and not knowing where to begin trusted us. They trusted us to help clear out so they could renew. We, in throwing out, cutting down, knocking out helped them get one step closer to normalcy. We helped them get one step closer to manageable.
There were tears but there was such gratitude. From both sides of the situation, we in being allowed to serve and them being allowed to move forward.
It was the best, exhausting, amazing experience. I am truly glad I came out to help.
We all have a lot to be thankful for, truly.