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Tuesday I went out, by myself at first, but later in the day Cindy went with me, to check on many of you. No, I didn’t make it everywhere, but I did make it out I think to most of the communities where we have members. As I visited with folks, and even more folks since then, I heard time after time, people saying exactly what I had been saying on my way home on Monday, "we are so blessed." They were echoing the same thoughts that I had said to myself and to Cindy the day before.

I can’t argue with that at all. I understand those sentiments but since that time, since I have watched more television coverage, since I have heard more stories of people who have lost everything, I have been plagued by a thought again and again. "Why in such a tragic, devastating event am I and those around me so blessed and at the same time so many others so devastated by these events. They, it would seem, are anything but blessed."

In particular, when I consider the people of the Bolivar Peninsula and over into the Beaumont-Port Arthur area, Ike isn’t the first storm to hit them in recent years, or for that matter, even this year. For some, it has been their fourth hit in the last three years. Think about that for a minute. There was Rita three years ago. There was Humberto last year. This year there was Eduard just a few weeks ago and now Ike. I don’t think those folks feel very blessed. Some of them might even shout out at the top of their lungs, "I don’t need any more blessing!"

We have seen pictures from places like Crystal Beach and Gilchrist. What you may not know, the United Methodist Church in Sabine Pass had three feet of water in their sanctuary. Imagine if that were us here. The parsonage was almost complete after a total rebuild from Hurricane Rita. Now it must be rebuilt again. The congregation at Bridge City is in the process of relocating since Rita. They had poured the slab for the new building. Water got underneath the slab and moved it. Now it has to be jack-hammered out and poured again.

The Methodist Church in Seabrook had three feet of water in the Sanctuary. Insurance has already declared the sanctuary at Cedar Bayou a total loss. And, the storm tore the steeple from the roof of the sanctuary at Crosby. That might not have been so bad, but it wasn’t just laid down beside the...

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