Most of the towns we visit have been decimated by natural disasters, so it’s difficult to imagine what they were like pre-disaster. Twisted and stripped trees and beat up vehicles are a common sight on our annual tornado relief trips. This year there are no twisted trees–only dried mud-covered streets dividing abandoned home after abandoned home. The now condemned South side of Hamburg, where Betty Travis called home for 30 years, has been left a ghost town. The city now owns the land, and there is talk of making the sight a community lake–something beautiful made with the same substance (water) that wrecked the town earlier this spring. The South side will no longer be the quiet neighborhood Betty fell in love with all those years ago, but there is hope of beauty once more.
A little further North on Jefferson St, there are already signs of life. There are loving servants wearing hands on their chests, scripture on their backs, and Jesus in their hearts, who are creating another sanctuary for Betty–her childhood home. Unlike the home she lived in on the South side, this home is salvageable, and the volunteers are honoring the promise made to her earlier this summer when we first met her.
We are honored to bring a little life back to a town and a family that has been through an incredibly challenging year.