A window inside life at Augustana College

Achievement, Conclusion, and Unfinished Business: one part of the Gulf Coast story wraps up…

     A couple of weeks ago I was checking my email before I started work, and I saw a newsletter from Camp Victor saying that they were closing down at the end of August, which brings back some memories…

     I know most of you are wondering right about now, “What in the world is Camp Victor?”  That question is more than warranted, so here is an explanation.  On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina stormed through the Gulf Coast leaving devastation in its wake.  After the disaster, one of the first large-scale relief efforts was headed up by Christus Victor Lutheran Church, which is in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.  10 months later, in June of 2006, that same group built a permanent relief facility called Camp Victor.

     This next part is where I come in.  Every year from 2006 through 2009, the Campus Ministries group at Augustana took a group down to the Gulf Coast to help out with the recovery effort from Katrina.  I went down there for a week with the group at the end of February 2009.  I had already experienced the idea of a mission trip with my church back home(I went on two similar trips through Group Workcamps, once in 2005, and again in 2007), but this was rather different.  Now don’t think I’m going to go into a long-winded recalling of that trip here, cause I’m not going to.  If you are interested in that, I wrote a whole series of Facebook notes about it during the trip itself.  The point of this entry is to just generally reflect on what the ending of Camp Victor means to me.

Anyway, we were down in Mississippi for about a week, and while it was a lot like my experiences with Workcamp, it was delightfully different in a few important yet intangible ways.  The people that we helped were extremely gracious(the woman we were helping fed us lunch every day!).  Looking back on it now, I find myself extremely lucky to have been able to come over there and lend my services, and I hope that the last few months of Camp Victor’s operation are very productive…

However, as I have personally seen, just because Camp Victor is closing, doesn’t mean that the need is over.  I saw people living in FEMA trailers when I was down there, and I’m sure that even now, 2 weeks shy of the fifth anniversary of Katrina, that some folks still are.  Add to that the hit that the Gulf Oil Spill will deliver to the Gulf Coast’s economy, and I would say that much still needs to be done down there to return the region to how it was 5 years ago today.

But, I suppose that now we should just pause for a moment and be thankful for all the good that Camp Victor has done since June of 2006, and all of the good that I am sure that the Christian community of the Gulf will continue to do…

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