The Day After...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pictures of the day after:

*These are not our pictures, I "borrowed" them from a few websites so you could see what we are dealing with.

The past few days have been just….flabbergasting for lack of a better word. Basically every where you look you see devastation. The worst part is that this destruction wasn’t caused by nature, but by humans—teenagers to be exact. It blows my mind to think that someone could deliberately do something like this.

One of our neighbors, a sweet little old snow bird, Al, works part-time answering phones at 911 and is our police info spy. :o) He reported this morning that the arsonist(s) are believed to be three TEENAGERS in a black Honda-type car who drive up to the northwest area (from the direction of the wind) of an area covered with brush and toss out a bottle filled with kerosene and a lighted wick and then drive off. Al told me that the police suspect that these teens are part of a gang who are trying to retaliate against some gang in this specific area. I didn’t even know there were gangs in our area. He also told me that these teens are the same people seen starting the brush fire basically in front of my house a few weeks ago. Pray for wisdom for the police searching for these people and also, pray for God to change their hearts and stop this destruction!

The fires in Palm Bay are all a result of this arson be it because the area was specifically targeted, or due to wind and ignited ash spreading. Palm Bay has SO MUCH brush and it is so incredibly dry here! This is a danger for all of us because it makes it so easy for these fires to spread.

I, along with everyone else in the county (and in the state for that matter) have been praying for rain and praise the Lord, the weather man reported tonight that there is some rain that could possibly move our way toward the weekend. What a blessing that would be!

All of you have been so amazing! We have had so many people flooding us with prayers and concerns! Our friends here have been so wonderful offering up their homes in case we need to leave. Fortunately, we haven’t needed to.

Several people have been asking me for updates. Here are the basics:

  • Fires have burned more than 3,500 acres in Palm Bay and many residents are left to clean up and try to salvage things from their damaged or destroyed homes.

· Damage estimates in Palm Bay have reached $6 million and are expected to climb as firefighters work to put out countless remaining hotspots. So far, 162 homes have been damaged, 62 of which are uninhabitable.

· As far as our specific area goes, there have been no more brush fires in our neighborhood today. Some of you know that there is a canal running along our backyard. On the other side of the canal is where the worst of the fires were (including Bayside High School and Westside Elementary) yesterday and last night. Those fires are MOSTLY out.

· There were 3 major fires in Palm Bay today (much better than the 9-12 yesterday) and praise the Lord from whom ALL blessings flow, none of these fires were any where near us.

· By the end of the day today, our neighborhood had power back but on the other side of the canal—Southwest Palm Bay—still does not have power. Most of these people have well-water and without power, cannot even flush their toilets.

A few of you have asked if we are still packed up and what the plan is…

Our plan is just to play it by ear. Right now we have all the stuff out of the car and pilled in the living room. If you know me at all you know this is driving me crazy! Unless something major happens, I plan on unpacking some of the basics tomorrow (our clothes, Ansleigh’s clothes, and other things we use EVERYday). The things we packed that can’t be replaced will stay close by so if need be, we can grab them. Amazingly enough, we had everything packed up and ready to go in about 30 minutes yesterday (starting from scratch) so hopefully, if we need to do so again, it will be even easier knowing where everything is.

I can totally feel God’s arms wrapped around us right now and I feel so safe. I worry that I will relax too much before we are completely out of the clear, but I am confident that things will be fine and that God will get His glory out of this some way, some how.

A few people have asked how they can help. Here is what I know (Thanks, Vanessa!):

The police/firefighters are taking donations for certain items, it sounds like for their personnel, and also for people that are in shelters.

These can be dropped off at any police or fire station:
bug spray
sun screen lotion
protein bars/ any kind of nutritional bars
fruit (apples, oranges, pears... anything that does not need to be cut up and easy to eat)

These items can go to Our Lady of Grace Church, 300 Malabar Road, Palm Bay (725-3066):
clothes (if you watched the news, some left with just the clothes on their backs, their children too)
baby formula
baby food
food items

I know that the Red Cross is always taking donations, and I heard on the news that there are three banks set up to take monetary donations. If you are interested in this, let me know and I’ll see what I can find out.

For some reason, I haven’t been able to get this Mercy Me song out of my head or off of my heart…tonight it is my prayer, literally and spiritually.

"Bring me joy, bring me peace

Bring the chance to be free

Bring me anything that brings your glory

And I know there'll be days

When this life brings me pain

But if that's what it takes to praise You

Jesus, bring the rain"