CBN.com As we fly over the Gulf shores of Long Beach, Biloxi, Gulf Port, and Mississippi, there are no adequate words to describe what we’re seeing from up here. Homes, churches, businesses, everything destroyed. But nothing can compare to getting down on the ground and seeing how people’s lives have been affected by this storm.
Here you see a different picture. You see the magnitude of the devastation Katrina left behind. I’m standing on what used to be a condominium complex, and the home of Kirk and Sally Newkirk.
Kirk says, “Our refrigerator was floating -- [so were the] couches and our food pantry.”
What was going through their minds?
“Survival,” Sally says. “We’re strong believers on God. He just cleared our minds to where we knew exactly what we had to do.”
The 700 Club went along as Kirk and Sally returned home for the first time since Katrina hit. They had a hard time just finding where their condo stood – just one block from the beach. But then they recognized some of their possessions…
“We had to get our life jackets on,” Sally says. “We had to get up high, and we had to float. I said to him, ‘We’re going for a ride.’”
They were in for the ride of their lives!
The 25- to 30-foot storm surge poured water into their house. They escaped upstairs taking their dog with them. Their condo was collapsing.
“As we were going up the stairs to the attic, I saw the second floor crumbling about a foot away from the bedroom door,” says Kirk. “[And then] the fire wall parted from the ceiling, and you could see daylight.
“A wave came over and drenched us… we watched the water come up the stairs one at the time… I got the pistol out and shot out the back door. It really didn’t do much good.”
“Everything that blew in would suck right out again,” says Sally. “And then another thing would come in. Then that sucking action would pull everything back out.”
They knew they needed to get to the roof, but Sally was trapped.
“She found her foot was stuck under a board,” Kirk says. “The wind was blowing me over and I’m trying to hold the dog. I tried to shove the boards around a little bit to see if we could get her loose. I was not going to leave without her. I almost lost her.”
Finally they made it.
“We were on the roof, and we were watching things blow all around us. Then the roof came loose and actually floated into the parking lot,” says Kirk.
“It was almost like we were in a tornado because we were twirling,” says Sally.
As they fought for their lives, they sang hymns and prayed.
“You can’t be distracted by what you see,” says Sally. “Believe me, you can’t. You’re singing hymns to keep your mind focused. You know you’re losing your shirt but you just have to stay focused because that’s what keeps the panic out of you.”
They were in the water for six hours before they finally found a foothold.
Kirk recalls, “We managed to get on top of the debris field.”
The couple found shelter in a damaged house until the storm passed. Then they made their way to the hospital – scratched and beaten – but alive…
As they sort through the wreckage of what used to be their home, they aren’t so focused on what they lost – but what they have. Because some things just can’t be replaced… like their dog.
“He was soaking wet and he was terrified,” says Sally. “He was shaken, but he just stayed there and trusted implicitly.”
Kirk says, “It gave me incentive to stay alive because if I went down he went down.”
Kirk and Sally believe God has a purpose for them in all of this, and He has reminded them of the only secure way to ride out any storm:
“Living a life of prayer, at all time,” Sally says. “’God, is this what I should be doing? What do You think about this God?’ Have Him in your heart. Because when things get bad and you never know what it’s going to be, He’s going to be there for you. He’s going to be there for you.”
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.