As with every disaster, Church members are eager to lend a hand to victims of Hurricane Katrina. Members of my ward, the Sharpsburg Ward in Newnan, Ga., went to the aid of those suffering in Meridian, Miss.
We didn't know what we were getting into. Even after we were there we didn't know how bad it was until we got lost and saw firsthand what these good people went through. I can tell you from the bottom of my heart, I won't forget them!
On Sunday, the Spirit during and after Sacrament meeting was overwhelming. Then, we set out on a quest.
I have never witnessed the kind of work ethic I did when our team tackled a job. We had chain saws going everywhere. We had people pulling branches, climbing trees, ensuring that branches didn't fall on houses. We had a small army of folks, both old and young, carrying branches to a large pile.
Were we tired? You know we were, but it was the best tired I've ever felt in my life. And this went on over and over and over again. All weekend.
A few of us went to the First Baptist Church for lunch after helping an elderly gentleman. This was his church. He was a member of it and wanted to make sure that the workers were fed, so he took our group down and, sure enough, they fed us a hot lunch. I was overcome by emotion. A man, who was from New Orleans, came up to us and just said, "Thank you for being here; you don't know what that means to us."
I could hardly contain myself while we were there, and there were more tears yet to be shed. I think we all were extremely touched by this compassion.
When we left, I went up to one of the workers in the food line and thanked her for our lunch. We embraced, both shedding some tears. Some folks may have had a preconceived notion of what Mormons were, but I think most probably have a different impression now.
No photograph can top the images that are in my mind forever. I've personally been touched by each and every one I met in Meridian. I have a strong testimony of the work we did and I've grown closer to my Heavenly Father as a result.
We did some real good for these people. We may never know the extent of our work there, but I can tell you this — I received one of the greatest blessings I've ever had by just being there and doing whatever little part I could. — Rob Kiser, Newnan, Ga.