Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2005
Left work today under a voluntary evacuation alert for our area due to Hurricane Rita. Not sure whether we will leave town or when since the hurricane is expected to head somewhere south of Galveston. Jack baptized Rodney Lamb at church tonight (68 yrs. old). No kids at Awanas, dimissed the few adults at church and had praise team practice. Went home but didn't feel much like packing.
At work today, one of my customers told me she felt like God was telling her to move back to California and hugged my neck. She thanked me for all my help and said she never got help like that from her previous case manager.
Thursday, Sept. 22, 2005
Got up early, Jack said the hurricane had turned and was headed right for us! Began to immediately pack and load the van and jeep with pictures, important papers, etc. Plus our dog and cat! (Abby and Milo) We were through around 9 a.m. but decided to wait to start our trip due to the tremendous traffic jams on all the highways leading out of Houston and Southeast Texas. Watched the news all day and decided to leave town about 4:40 p.m. Didn't feel like eating all day due to feeling anxiety about the days ahead and grieving somewhat over saying good-bye to our house and belongings.
Later we wished we had eaten something or at least been better prepared for the long road ahead!
Friday, Sept. 23, 2005
It took us 5 hours! to drive 30 miles from Bridge City to Buna, another hour or more to Kirbyville! People were lined up waiting for gas or to get food at the few gas stations along the way. Fortunately, we didn't have to stop for gas, we pressed on, stopping 3 times on the side of the road for me to pee in the dark. We tried to stop and sleep once but it was really too hot to sleep and you couldn't lean the seats back to relax due to all the stuff we were carrying. I took my contacts out during this stop and so I put my glasses on as we started out again. The Lord was really looking out for me because I weaved into the oncoming traffice and off the right shoulder of the road so many times I can't tell you! By the time we stopped again to rest about 3 a.m., I was nauseated but had nothing on my stomach to give up. I have never felt so exhausted in my entire life and found myself praying out loud "Lord help us ..... rescue us!" This was absolutely the longest night of my life! It was a little cooler at this spot and we got a little rest, about an hour and a half. We started out again and this time just as we got into Center Texas I almost put the jeep in the ditch. Again, God was watching over me BIG TIME! Jack saw me in his rear view mirror and we stopped at McDonald's for a break. There were people everywhere. I get out and hear a voice calling me "Ms. Kay! Ms. Kay!" I looked and there was one of my customers and she pointed to another, also one of my customers. I have no idea who either one of them was. I headed inside McDonald's and Jack got in a line all the way back to the door and I got in a line for the restroom. I spoke to a woman in front of me who said she was from Pt. Neches and had been traveling for 23 hours! A this I began to cry as the realization of my near accident and surviving the long night began to set in. After we arrived at Matt and Shelbea's house in Carthage we heard story after story of situations far worse than ours. One was a charter bus of nursing home residents from Houston that burned completely up in Wilmer Texas outside of Dallas. At least 24 were killed due to an oxygen tank that exploded. People stranded on I-45 out of Houston in the scorching heat running out of gas.
Today we slept until noon and after Matt got in from being in Tyler, we had supper and went out to the camp where almost 600 evacuees were being housed. First Baptist Carthage sent volunteers to help and the National Missions department sent a trailer of food and supplies. They were barbecuing Tyson chickens and had them coming out of their ears. We slept that night like a dream.
Just waiting for the hurricane to hit tonight but too tired to stay up and Matt doesn't have cable or internet. Still praying for God to spare us. In fact, this morning while I was in the shower I cried out to God and pleaded with HIm for mercy on us. So tired, so exhausted and so helpless. Yet, God is in control.