When you think of the Outer Banks, most people think of vacation. Some think of amazing seafood, and others; they think of their second home for the summer. When I think of The Outer Banks, I think of two weeks that changed my life and a small fishing village called Stumpy Point.
After the disaster of hurricane Irene, I was honored to work with Operation Blessing in their disaster relief efforts. Operation Blessings was founded in 1978 and is based out of Virginia Beach. Operation Blessing is a nonprofit organization. The mission of Operation Blessing is to “Demonstrate God’s love by alleviating human suffering in the United States and around the world. Through core programs of disaster relief, medical aid, hunger relief, orphan care, water wells and, community development.” The organization has helped more than 235 million people in more than 105 countries and all 50 states, providing goods and services valued at more than $2.7 billion (ob.org)
On the drive down, I thought to myself “What a beautiful place, I want to vacation here sometime.”
When we arrived, I learned that the city literally consists of one main street and one side street. The homes were mostly destroyed from water damage. Some homes received 4 feet of water, it broke my heart to see.
Operation Blessing to the rescue, they were so excited to see us. One lady approached me and started crying, she said; “I know you haven’t done anything yet, but when you see Operation Blessing, you feel instant hope. Everything is going to be okay.” I couldn’t help but to tear up, it was devastating to see these homes.
I thought I was there to help fix homes, maybe do some administrator work, even help serve food. I was terribly mistaken, I was there to listen. I listened to their stories; I gave hugs, and showed God’s love. I prayed with a few folks and built relationships that I am sure will last.
A group of students from Rockford, Illinois came for 5 days to assist Operation Blessing. When I met these students, I had been there for a week already. I told them to get ready, they are about to be changed in ways they couldn’t understand. The day they left, I knew I was right. I met a girl named Brooke, she was a leader of the Focus One group out of Rockford, and she was touched by a family she had been working with that week. I took Brooke and Benji (focus one students) to say goodbye to that family, It was joyful and emotional. (Photo Below) They hugged as if they had known each other for their entries lives. We all cried, but we knew we would be back. Being God’s hands, listening ears, and showing his love is more powerful than one might think. In a time of disaster, sometimes that is all we need. Someone to help, listens, and love. Having the opportunity to demonstrate that has forever changed me.