Magdalene (by Rob Owens)



     We gave the computer to Jackee today & she was so thankful. She told so many stories of how God is working through Katrina. But, the most amazing story was right in front of us & yet God did not immediately reveal it to us.  We had to meet Jackee at her friend Connie's house because Connie does not have a phone & we probably would have never found her FEMA trailer in the dark. Connie just happened to be the mayor of Ocean Springs, the small town Jackee lives near. When we first pulled up there was no one home. We were amazed at the devastation and how it just stopped right at the Mayor's house. It seemed almost untouched.  The house right next to Connie's was destroyed. Houses across the street were literally gone and one was moved off it's foundation. We looked around for a while and tried to call Connie with no success. By this time I had begun to think that we just might not see anyone but that maybe God wanted us to focus on our real reason to be here. We started to give up hope & Carol called us all together to say that we should go ahead & eat our sandwiches for dinner but asked us to pray that someone would show up so we could hand deliver the computer and fruit and not just leave them on the porch. We each held hands and we no more than bowed our heads and a car pulled up and parked right next to us. There is not a doubt in my mind as soon as we all heard that car pull up we knew it was her. Sure enough after the prayer was finished and we all looked up there was Jackee. God had delivered her to us at just the right moment. The moment we stopped to focus on Him. Jackee was so sincerely thankful when she accepted the gifts. Gratitude just flowed from her in such a graceful way, but I have to get back to the best part of the story.

     Remember how  I spoke of the devastation we seen and how the Mayor's house was spared right next to one's that were destroyed or just gone? Well, a few minutes after Jackee showed up her friend Connie pulled up and she had her daughter Magdalene with her. Connie told us a little about Jackee and how Jackee's daughter Vicky helped to care for Magdalene because of a disability. Magdalene had a toy accordion with her & you could tell she was quite uncomfortable being in the center of us all crowded around. She played her music louder & louder as her Mother tried to tell stories of the days after Katrina as the mayor of Ocean Springs. Eventually, Connie gave in and said she needed to take Magdalene in because she was autistic. It was at that  moment that I started to understand a small glimpse of how God worked in their situation.

     As I listened to Connie I found that not only was she the mayor of a greater community of 17k people in Hancock County that just had over 800 homes destroyed by Katrina. She was also a single mother to an autistic child that desperately needed consistency in her environment. Magdalene, would have needed every second of her Mother's attention had she lost the comfort of her surroundings and this had to especially include her home. Connie could not have been available to serve her community during probably the most critical time she has ever or most likely will ever have to face as a public official.

     So many times I have written things off as random and looked at situations as happening by chance but Magdalene helped to remind me once again that God always has a plan and even in the midst of Katrina he was still in control. Somehow, it always seems easy for me to forget we serve a God of purpose. A God who is deeply involved in every aspect of our lives. Not always does he show us why He does what He does, but seeing Magdalene lying on her living room floor in total peace and comfort made me real glad He gave us a glimpse of His power and love on this evening in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Rob Owens