What Disaster Has Taught Me

D - Napoleon, Ohio
Entered on February 16, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I have learned that material possessions are not the most important things in life. I first realized this last summer on a youth mission trip. A group of eight others and I took a trip to Iowa after there had been a major flood there. The once busy streets were now deserted with all of the local businesses boarded up. The floodwaters had reached past the second story of houses in some areas. Much of the work we did was gutting the houses and clearing out all of the flood-damaged debris to get them ready for the next step: either rebuilding or demolition.

While cleaning debris and water-soaked family possessions from the houses, it made me realize that what we have here on earth is not that important. Everything we have, everything we have worked so hard to obtain can be lost in an instant. We cleared out old family photos and other mementos that could never be replaced. It gave me a greater appreciation of all that I have because I witnessed families who lost literally everything and had to watch it all be carried out of their house to be thrown away. There were people living in abandoned, mold-infested homes because they had nowhere else to go. It was a very sad sight to see.

Although the devastation was great, I also believe that God has a plan for everyone and that He is there in the midst of every tragedy. One of the families that we helped told us that the night before we came she had prayed and asked for an angel. Their house was going to be torn down, so they needed to clear as much of the debris out as possible or else they would have to pay more for the demolition. The family we helped wasn’t one that we were scheduled to help that day, but we decided to go anyways. It took us all day, and we cleared out a pile that stretched twenty feet along the curb and was stacked four feet high. The family was so grateful for our help; without our help, there was no way it would have gotten done in time. That just shows that God really does listen and answer our prayers.

Everyone has the ability to make a difference whether it be big or small. Even though we were only able to make a small impact in Iowa, the experience will be with me forever and has given me a greater appreciation of what I have. On earth, we may feel the need to have many possessions, but I know now that God has a greater plan for everyone no matter what they have here.