Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: RAIN (04/18/19)
TITLE: When It Rains It Pours
By Jackie Smithwick
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Pictures and words cannot fully show, or describe the devastation. Imagine the aftermath of a tornado, only not for a small area, but for hundreds of miles. Look with me at the flattened homes, roofs torn completely off or crushed by a tree. There are entire shopping centers leaning with roofs gone and windows blown out. It’s heartbreaking beyond belief to see small and large buildings that are beyond repair marked for demolition. Some buildings may look ok, but a closer look reveals massive water damage to walls, floors, insulation and furnishings. Landmarks are gone. Trees are down everywhere.
Traveling through downtown Panama City, Florida was a nightmare the days following October 10, 2018. There was no power, no traffic lights, no gas stations or stores open. Residents were walking the streets crying or they were cowering in what was left of their homes waiting for aid to come. Help was on its way, but slowly creeping over the bridges to only sit where traffic signals were four way stops. Trucks filled with bottled water and food were slowly getting to their destinations.
Six months have passed. Still when I travel through Panama City and hear about Mexico Beach and surrounding areas my heart aches for the people. Debris is piled high on every street. Trees that are left standing are shaped like skeletons with deformed spring growth. Handmade signs stating when businesses will reopen, or that they are now open, are everywhere. Many homeowners are still commuting every day, sometimes hundreds of miles, from where they found lodging to their homes to meet with insurance adjusters, construction workers, roofers etc. Some people are living in tents, some in mobile homes, some in one or two rooms of their almost demolished homes. Many damaged homes are still standing with no repair work started, and some even abandoned with no way to find their owner.
This area has drastically changed. It will take many years for complete recovery. However, as many will attest, the most amazing thing about this terrible tragedy is the way people have come together to help one another. Neighbors organized and watched out for looters, or helped move trees from a crushed automobiles or roofs. Agencies, services and caring individuals managed to procure tarps, get them on to roof tops to protect against more rain. Churches and business owners cooked meals and shared food, baths, and encouragement.
Someone said the reason this terrible tragedy has not been largely covered by the media is because there were no riots, and looting was minimal. People came together to help one another, they did not demonstrate, complain, or cause more damage.
This is not a story, it is true life in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. May this be a plea for prayer for these amazing people who have vowed to be “850 strong” and rebuild, recover and continue to love and care for one another.
When we hear this saying, “when it rains it pours” it usually means trouble comes after trouble. When God’s mercy rains it reveals love, and pours out righteousness and blessings.
“Sow for yourselves righteousness; Reap in mercy; Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the LORD, Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.”
Hosea 10:12 (NKJV)
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