Wow, what an amazing day with the folks at HopeATL.
Around 100 of us from NewSpring Church had the privilege of going to Austell, GA (just southwest of Atlanta) to do some clean up in the neighborhood of Sweetwater Creek.
4 weeks ago, due to a tremendous amount of rain hanging over the Atlanta area, this neighborhood (less than 10 years old), experienced major flooding when Sweetwater Creek swelled out of it's banks and began pooling in the lower areas of the subdivision.
As you can see in the pictures, many had water up to the second story! What happened after the rains stopped was that many churches began disaster relief efforts. One in particular was Courageous Church led by Shaun King. This church has done a great job with awareness and rallying the body of Christ into action. All of these homes had to be gutted down to the stud walls and made ready for reconstruction. In the process of gutting, people's lawns were completely covered in drywall/sheetrock pieces (totally nasty!) and when we got there, our job was to bring the color GREEN back to this neighborhood.
It was pretty crazy and amazing to be a part of what was like a Colony of Ants on a pile of Sugar! We just kept going and going and by 4pm had touched over 40 home's yards - raking, sweeping, shoveling, and bagging. At one point, I looked up and saw about 3o people pick up a 10 by 20 foot deck that had floated 5 houses away and carry it back to where it came from!
Of the homeowners that came around (all had to move out!), our interactions with them brought many tears! I cannot fathom what they went through - one homeowner we met, described that day with, "One minute, there was 2 inches of standing water in the street, and within 1 hour, the water was licking at our rooftop!"
This is part of what it means to BE the church, and it was a blessing to get to be a part of this event!