Thanksgiving in Pearlington

November 30, 2007

Thanksgiving week found Ten members from Bethlehem Baptist church in Pearlington Mississippi – working on the reconstruction efforts after Hurricane Katrina hit 2 plus years ago. 

The hard facts are:

There were 850 homes in Pearlington before the Hurricane hit in August 2005.  To date there have been about 225 homes rebuilt.  As one of the residents put it, “That is too long to be without a home.”  I agree.

There was about 15-18 feet of standing water in this little community for about 6-8 hours (depending on how one counts).  It was a tidal flood which means that the water came in with the tide and went out once the tide went out.  Depending on where your house was and how many feet above sea level, determined how much water was in your house.  Every home in Pearlington had some level of flood damage.  No home was left untouched with this storm and its aftermath.

There is still much to do to get this town on its feet. 

However there are some signs that the town is returning to “normalcy – post Katrina” style.  The First Missionary Baptist Church that has been serving hot lunches to the volunteers for 2 years is showing signs that things are beginning to return to normal life.  This little church gave a huge community thanksgiving meal last year.  Many of the church family were there and we had a great thanksgiving service.  This year, it was much like any other day serving a meal to the volunteers.  The church members were having thanksgiving with their own families this year – whether in Pearlington or elsewhere.  It is good to know that they are beginning to resume life – but sad to see this thanksgiving service go.  It was a wonderful time to be with the people of Pearlington. 

The team spent a lot of their time on two projects – One was getting the plumbing for Miss Pauline’s house tied into the septic tank.  The boys were busy digging a trench to put the pipe in while Tom, the construction lead, did the actual tying into the septic tank.  Miss Pauline was very happy to have the plumbing in her house working.  She has been in her house for a bit, but had to use her FEMA trailer or one belonging to one of her children for showers and such.

Then second project was to get Miss Briggette’s house “weather tight”.  This meant getting hurricane straps on all the 2×4 studs on the exterior frame.  This was a time intense job as every stud on the exterior wall has to have a hurricane strap and each strap has about 30-40 nails in it.  That is a lot of pounding! 

Working on a Hurricane Strap

Working on getting the Hurricane Straps in place. 

The thin metal piece sticking up is the hurricane strap –

every exterior 2×4 is required to have one nailed on!

The roof needed to have the sheathing and tar paper put on and then the whole house was wrapped with Tyvek!  According to Rick, who is one of the local men hired to help supervise the reconstruction effort, “this is one house that didn’t get rained on once the sub floor was in.”  It threatened rain several times during the week, but as only God can do, the rain was held off until Saturday morning – after the house was weather tight.  Praise God for his faithfulness in keeping the house dry until the roof was on!  The next step is the electrical wiring and plumbing to go in.  The house could sit for months waiting for those with these skills to come to town.  Please pray that God would provide the tradesmen to do this job and to do it well.



The team in front of the completed project – the house is now ‘weather tight” –        awaiting the next step which is electircal and plumbing!

Rick was very pleased with the work that was accomplished.  He told the team that he was very proud of them and the work they did. 

Praise God for a great team and for the work accomplished.