The People of Pearlington
June 28, 2007
The people of a town is what gives the town its character, it flavor and presence. This trip gave me much time with the people of Pearlington – a broader and richer feel for this once forgotten town that is now buzzing with activity.
Miss Jonnie has been cooking for the volunteers for as long as I have been coming to Pearlington. This week she had a shadow by the name of Giovanna following her around all week! Miss Jonnie gave Giovanna ice cream to share with all of us working in the store room of the recovery center. Rob got to work on a project at her house. She is gracious, friendly and one of the best cooks in the area. Miss Jonnie is very protective of Giovanna. She told me on several occasions to be sure and spray Giovanna to keep the mosquitoes from biting her. She was very concerned about al the bites she had already gotten!
Mr. Calvin Curry, one of the older members of the community. I had the privilege of taking a food basket and making a home delivery. I have helped get these boxes of food prepared on other trips, but this was the first time I was able to actually deliver one. Mr. Calvin loves to talk and loves children. Giovanna was with me when we went. We got the tour of his new home. It is lovely and Mr. Curry has done a great job picking the colors and decorating it. Mr. Calvin had been asking about Giovanna all week – he had seen her on previous trips and wondered if he would get to see her on this trip. God does work out all things. We had a sweet time with this couple.
The kids that attended the Backyard Bible Club have forever been etched into my heart. They are sharp, learn quickly and are just a whole lot of fun. They have a great rapport with each other and want to bring more kids next year to the Bible Club. They responded well to the games, the teaching and the crafts. They were a wonderful group to work with. They give hugs freely, which for me was an added bonus.
Miss Ada and Mr. Sunnie both work at the recovery center. Miss Ada helps Miss Jonnie cook and Mr. Sunnie helps with odd jobs around the center. They sent their eight children to the Backyard Bible Club. Both are very sweet. I became “mom” to Mr. Sunnie, making sure he was drinking enough water and staying out of the sun as much as possible. He laughed when he introduced me to his wife and said, “This is my mama, at least for this week.” She was thankful that he was listening to someone. “He don’t listen to me anymore,” she said. I could tell that they were working with their kids at night to insure that they had their memory verses down for the next day.
There was a continued deepening of the relationship with Bob Putnam who is the volunteer coordinator. Rob, the construction lead for our team and Bob connected well and Rob became the right hand man for Bob this week. He sent Rob to several job sites to train and check on the work being done. At the end of the week as we were preparing to leave, Rob said he would be back sometime. Bob just smiled from ear to ear. He can’t wait to have him back down. They worked well together.
I also got to interact and work with some of the local pastors – Pastor Langham and Pastor McGill, in Particular. Both of these Pastors sat in on some of the teaching time. Pastor McGill said that he was very grateful that someone was willing to take the time to teach the kids. He expressed concern that over the 21 months since Katrina, there has not been much energy left over for the kids after shepherding their flocks. Their energies have been in other areas. I sensed a weariness in these pastors – giving of themselves to shepherd their flocks, but not much encouragement and refreshment for them. Pray for these pastors – pray that they will have some encouragement along the way.
I finally got to meet the Buzzy – for those of you who have been to the blog and read about how God directed BBC to Pearlington, you have read about Buzzy and Grady. Buzzy and his wife, Mrs. Buzzy (also known as Marguerite) are delightful. Rob and I enjoyed the time that we had with them on Thursday night. Buzzy’s house is almost finished. It is a modular house up on stilts – about 13-14 feet up. Buzzy didn’t want to worry about water in the house again. Buzzy is actually a very well read man – he would be a great history teacher for the kids. Buzzy saw my van – it would be hard to miss! He wanted to know what kind of engine I had in it – how should I know. All that matters to me is that it runs when I put the key in the engine! He wanted to look at the engine and asked me to pop the hood. Well in the 3 years that I have had the van, I have never popped the hood and did not have a clue how to do such a thing. Buzzy just laughed at me and eventually we got the hood open. He said I had a good engine and should get good gas mileage – which I do. Rob went back on Friday and has more to Buzzy stories. I have not heard them yet – so this will have to have an addendum!