The dress rehearsal. February 2, 2009
Written by Sara Rust (my lovely friend)
Last week we had a major ice storm here in Cairo. It took down most of the tree limbs all over the city, including most in our yard. It also rendered our town powerless for days. In fact as I write this there are still homes without power. As you can imagine with no power or light, things were very cold here, especially at night.
After the first night without power we spent the next day connecting with the police station and Red Cross to see how we could help. As it turns out, Cairo needed people to run the warming shelter in town until the Red Cross showed up. Our staff were able to help out! God had already prepared us to cook for the masses and set up sleeping rooms through our experiences with YouthWorks, we were excited to help (and also to stay warm, the warming center had a generator).
For a few days our staff rotated around the clock to prepare meals and care for those who came to the Elementary school to stay. I can’t tell you what a blessing it was to be able to care for the people of Cairo. I can honestly tell you I was exhausted at the end of my time slots, and wrestled to focus on Christ in the midst of all the tasks at hand. But the Lord filled us up through it all. I loved getting to talk to many people at the shelter and truly the Lord created a sweet atmosphere at the school. Everyone was appreciative and helpful towards on another. I loved seeing the kindness of the Lord displayed in the people of Cairo. It was also a wonderful blessing to work alongside the fire department and police department and city officials to serve our community.
I was particularly touched the night I went over with Heather C. to do the night shift. One of the women staying at the shelter was elderly and got around in a wheelchair. She ended up being very sick and throughout the night Carney and I would have to take her to the bathroom and then back to bed to tuck her in. Taking care of her was very humbling for me as it required me to get over any fear or awkwardness or offense and simply do what had to be done. As I was running around trying to get different things for this sweet woman I found myself stopped in the kitchen, pausing, filled with a thankfulness towards God, that He saw it fit to call me there that night to care for this woman. I know I don’t have anything to offer – just Christ’s love, and He has to help me give it out, even. This woman’s name is Jewel, and the Lord just reminded me of the rewards of heaven, the jewels in our crown and how special it is to Him every time we stop for the one He puts in front of us to love them with His love. It was a welcome lesson for me.
Because Cairo sits on a major fault line, we’ve known an earthquake is coming, someday to this area. It felt like these few days were a welcome dress rehearsal to what it might be like to care for people in the midst of another disaster. We continue to ask God to prepare us for what is to come and to fill us with His love that many would know Him as the loving Father He is, come what may.