HATTIESBURG, MS - As thousands of residents packed their belongs, loaded their cars and headed out of town, fleeing the path of Hurricane Gustav, a group of God-fearing, Bible-believing volunteers headed into town. Their purpose: to provide hope, help and relief to those in the path of the storm.
Two teams of Operation Blessing workers arrived in Louisiana before the storm to set up staging areas to help those affected by the strong winds and heavy rains.
Today the president of Operation Blessing joined The 700 Club to discuss the situation in New Orleans and what the relief organization is doing to help. Click play to watch the interview.
"It's amazing," said OB's Jody Herrington who heads US disaster relief. "People come to help others and to share the love of God even when their own lives are in shambles."
When word of a disaster is imminent, Herrington and her committed team members hit the ground running.
"We go to the potentially affected areas and start talking to officials, ministers, EMS workers to find out what's needed," she said. "We have an 'ask', and 'don't tell' policy that allows us to ask and give whatever's needed."
And what's needed could range from baby diapers, to food, to plywood or tarp.
"During Hurricane Katrina, we gave more than $4.8 million in grants," Herrington said.
In fact, the work done by OB was so well coordinated and orchestrated; the Department of Homeland Security praised the organization.
"We grew so much after Katrina," Herrigton said. "Everybody did."
And with Katrina still fresh on the minds of many in the Gulf Coast, people are not taking chances this time around.
"We're still helping people rebuild from that storm," said Pastor Randy Millet of Adullan Christian Fellowship near the lower ninth ward. "We knew the levees wouldn't be ready until 2011, so we are praying."
And he tries to remain positive, setting an example for his flock.
"We continue to press for hope," Millet said. "And no matter how dark the storm gets, hope will shine through. Amen."