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Local church sends healing power to Mississippi

Federal Way resident Ben Miller, a member of Our Savior’s Baptist Church, stands on the foundation of a house in D’Iberville, Mississippi, that was destroyed three years ago during Hurricane Katrina. He’s looking out over a bay where a 30-foot wave came in during the storm. Miller is one of 30 church members who will again travel to D’Iberville next week to work on restoring the town. - Courtesy photo
Federal Way resident Ben Miller, a member of Our Savior’s Baptist Church, stands on the foundation of a house in D’Iberville, Mississippi, that was destroyed three years ago during Hurricane Katrina. He’s looking out over a bay where a 30-foot wave came in during the storm. Miller is one of 30 church members who will again travel to D’Iberville next week to work on restoring the town.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

There are angels in Federal Way.

At least that’s what folks from the town of D’Iberville, Miss., would say.

A group of church members from Our Savior’s Baptist Church in Federal Way and New Day Church in Northeast Tacoma are helping to restore homes and businesses in the small Mississippi town that was destroyed three years ago by Hurricane Katrina.

After six separate trips with a total of 64 volunteers, their work is almost done. Church members will leave for their final trip to D’Iberville next week.

The town is almost completely restored. Families are moving back into their homes and businesses are opening up. Before Katrina, D’Iberville had 8,000 residents. After the storm, the population was cut in half. Today, some former residents have returned and 5,000 people currently live there.

Volunteers from the Federal Way area have helped repair 24 family homes. They replaced cabinets, laid tile, cleaned, repaired electrical wiring, painted and sheet-rocked.

Perhaps one of the most important things the volunteers have done is bring hope to a community in shambles and despair.

“It’s more important to hear their story and their pain than it is to actually put sheet-rock on their walls,” said John Clum of Federal Way.

And the residents of D’Iberville have tales to tell. Volunteers have heard amazing stories of survival — stories of people climbing out their windows to escape rising water or swimming out of their homes.

Tommy Ann Delzer, of Federal Way, recalls a story about some guys floating along on a red couch with a six-pack of beer during Huricane Katrina.

A person can drive down the road in D’Iberville and see the stripes on the houses where the water level was. In some homes, the water level reached four and a half feet.

Thirty volunteers from Federal Way will attend the final trip this month. They say they are doing God’s work.

“That’s what we’re here for, to be the hands and feet of Jesus,” Delzer said.

Although their work in D’Iberville will soon be complete, the work is not done for the volunteers from Federal Way. Youth from Our Savior’s Baptist Church are planning a trip for July to help restore communities in Jackson County, Miss.

Contact Margo Horner: mhorner@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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