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Jones County Mudout Team Helps Mississippi Coast Hurricane Recovery

Rena Register, Jones County Baptist Missional Mobilization Coordinator

By Nelda Moore

Jones County Mudout Team photo In early September, Jones County Baptist Mission Mobilization Director, Rena Register, led a team of eleven people to Pascagoula to help homeowners recover from the severe flooding of Hurricane Isaac.

First Baptist Church of Pascagoula was the operation center for the Coastal recovery effort which was ongoing for several weeks. Teams from the Mississippi Baptist Building and disaster leaders from various states provided three meals per day and disseminated water and snacks to the many Disaster Relief volunteers from throughout Mississippi. The Jackson County Baptist Association, under the leadership of Director Philip Price, provided comfortable housing through its original office facilities which have been converted to dorm-quality accommodations.

The team—Rena Register, Eddy Anderson, Micheal Cooley, Katy Wade, Bobby Carter, Charles Brady, Stan Herrington, Mark Robinson, Stan Ellzey, Terry Moore, Nelda Moore, and volunteer George Tillman, a captain with the Pascagoula Police Department—completed three houses and half of a fourth house in their three-day stay in Pascagoula.

Completing mudout work on almost four houses was achievable only because of the guidance of God and the committed work of the volunteers in near 100-degree temperatures and stifling humidity. Mudout is a very labor-intensive process which requires taking out everything up to four-feet from the floor in flooded homes. This means wet flooring, sheetrock walls, electrical outlets, doors, carpet tacking, and cabinets.

Removal of debris and damaged materials includes furniture unless the homeowner has already salvaged mildly damaged pieces or has discarded the lost home’s contents (most often to the front yard). Once the homes are completely cleaned down to the studs, the team sprays the interior with chlorine bleach, leaving it ready for reconstruction.

The homeowners, in every case, were deeply grateful and touched by the compassion of the volunteers. At the conclusion of each job, the team prayed with the families, asking for God’s continued guidance and grace during their recovery.

Sen. Thad Cochran visited with the Jones County team as he traveled through the neighborhoods assessing the hurricane damage. Also, the Mobile NBC affiliate WPMI, NBC LOCAL 15, came on site to film the group as they worked in one of the homes. An interview with Rena Register and the homeowners of one site was broadcast on the 6:00 P.M. newscast.

Throughout the recovery effort, the Holy Spirit was with the team as it worked with speed and safety. God, too, was protective as the Jones County Baptist Disaster Relief Trailer had two blowouts simultaneously on the way home. Providential assistance came almost immediately through two young men passing by who had the jack necessary for repairs and a perfectly matched wheel and tire!

In the three days of work and compassion which the team shared with four families whose homes were lost in the hurricane, God was a tangible Presence. Not only did the families receive practical help, but they—and the team—reaffirmed that God is present in all the life-altering storms of life.