It is incredible what strength weather has to wreak havoc on the world.

I knew Hurricane Ian (category 4 hurricane that hit Florida back in September) was devastating.

But sometimes it takes a FaceTime video with your daughter who is there to try to help out to understand the depth of a tragedy like that.

The hurricane hit so close to where Elle and Carson live (two hours drive), and they had the opportunity to take a weekend roadtrip (along with a whole slew of other church members) to get to work doing anything they could to help those displaced by the ravaging effects of that storm.

Dave and I were so grateful they included us in their journey so I thought I would share here as well (with their permission).

We could hardly believe the videos they sent as they started out their work:

How is the freeway even still functioning after something like that happened??

Boats perched atop trees all along the sidelines, scattered like they were made of paper.

We got on FaceTime so they could take us into the midst of what they were doing.

Homes tipped over, trees uprooted…

…and piles and PILES of debris as far as the eye could see.

…waiting to get picked up somehow…I have no idea how that will work.

It goes on and on for miles on end like that.

How in the world do you overcome that kind of devastation? Dave and I asked incredulously. I mean, what can people even do in the wake of all that? The magnitude is just so big and overwhelming.

The answer is that they just did the best they could to help in Naples as well as in Fort Myers, those cities hardest hit by the storm. People from all over put in “service requests” as calls for help, so Elle and Carson met with other church members at the church, grabbed supplies, and got to work answering as many as they possibly could.

Many people had evacuated, but others were there to dig right in with them, letting them know what they could do that would help them the most.

In Naples they worked in a trailer park where they helped strip out everything that was destroyed from inside to add to the heaps of things to be loaded up and taken away. Elle said some wanted to save everything even if not salvageable, holding on desperately to anything they could still claim. πŸ™ Others wanted to just get rid of everything. Some had insurance but not flood insurance which is so tough.

Fort Myers was much harder-hit. So overwhelming that it didn’t look like there was even anything they could do. But they did find a work order there and also helped the dad of someone in their group. They cleared so much debris from around his home. In the back yard there were all kinds of things that had apparently floated there, including a refrigerator.

Among the projects they helped with, they helped tear soggy carpet out of this home:

And dragged it out to add to all the stuff to get picked up.

I love that all the volunteers slept in tents at the church after a day of hard work, met at church early the next morning for church services, all in their work clothes, and then headed right out to work again:

So overwhelmed with sorrow for what is lost.

So overwhelmed with the beauty of an opportunity these kids took to reach out any way they could.

(I love them and their hearts.)

Now they’re on the watch for tropical storm Nicole coming their way.

All kinds of prayers going to Florida!

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  1. So appreciate all the volunteers!! Our son lives in Naples and the disruption has been heartbreaking, but people helping and reaching out in any way possible helps provide hope and encouragement to start over for the many affected. Prayers for Florida!

  2. Wow!!!! I can’t imagine the devastation & heartache. What a great service opportunity. I’m glad Elle & Carson were able to go, such good kids πŸ’—

  3. NBD, but I think you meant “ravaging” effects, not “ravishing.” πŸ™‚

    Glad Elle and Carson were able to help. Hope they’re staying safe!

  4. Nicole made a direct hit in my hometown :(. Visiting my family next week and bringing my work clothes.

    On a related note, you talk a lot about fostering good life-long familial relationships from the perspective of being a parent. But, I wonder if you could talk about it from the perspective of an adult child? Your parents sound great, but I am sure you and your siblings and spouses are also contributing to the relationship from your side. How do you navigate the transition from being a child to having your own family and deciding how to include the grandparents? How do you handle parents aging? (amongst your siblings ?) Just topics that are on my mind lately ;). Love your blog and podcast.

    1. Great questions, and you’re right, fostering those relationships from an adult child perspective is so important as well. Isn’t it so interesting that life is just so chock-full of transitions? FOr me there were tricky parts about being the first to get married and leave my close-knit growing-up family unit, and then it’s tricky to find the balance when you have older children and all your attention is on them but also wanting to love on your parents (and in my case, SO many siblings I love). I think that transition is going to be different for everyone but so interesting to think about. Luckily our parents are so healthy and well right now, still running 10,000 miles a minute it seems like, but I do feel such a pull to keep them close because I know that won’t last forever.
      Thanks for your podcast feedback, we love that!

    2. Oh, and also prayers for your hometown! And lots of love as well. I’m so sorry they are grappling with that right now πŸ™

  5. Anything people can do helps SO much! I’m in the Daytona area and I have multiple friends who have had their homes flooded twice in 6 weeks due to hurricanes. We’ve lost basically our whole beach. Homes that were hundreds of feet away from the water have now been consumed by the ocean because everything was so damaged from Ian that Nicole just devastated them. Close to 50 condos and hotels are condemned and will come down as well as dozens of personal homes. Check out this footage, these homes were NOWHERE close to the water 2 months ago

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