A modern day Good Samaritan story

I am training for my first-ever full marathon (I know, I know — I’m crazy). After my first day of work on Thursday, I stopped by my mom’s house and headed out for my daily run. A bit bummed I wasn’t running my standard route near my home, I forged a new path jogging up and down a variety of winding streets. Five miles of running through the neighborhood, I returned to my mom’s just after dusk.

This morning, I completed the first work assignment for my new job. Our church is partnering with a really neat ministry called Samaritan’s Purse. A few weeks ago, homes across Wisconsin and Illinois flooded from torrential rain and overflowing rivers. Samaritan’s Purse and volunteers across the state are entering people’s homes to provide rehabilitation to their homes and belongings. Removing debris and mold, tearing and building drywall, painting, and providing emotional support are just a few of the ways volunteers help. My assignment was to photograph the beautiful relief effort.

I met the team at the church where volunteers were trained and set out with the team to a family in need of relief. I asked the site leader for the address of the home and when I arrived, I couldn’t believe it. Just two days earlier, I passed this exact home on my marathon training run. I never really explored my mom’s new neighborhood before and couldn’t believe the “coincidence.” As I unknowingly jogged by just a few days prior, there was a family inside wondering how they were going to save their devastated home.

I parked, grabbed my camera, and immediately noticed the swarm of volunteers in bright orange shirts. I walked into the home, stepping around boards and nails, and introduced myself to the homeowner. Standing next to her were two sweet little girls, probably five and three years old. In their pink Mickey Mouse shirts, they were smiling big smiles at all of the volunteers around them. I surveyed their home and much of it was destroyed. Half of the walls were missing from much of the house. Clothes were piled high in rooms to avoid water damage. Furniture was gone and kitchen appliances moved around. Hammers and nails and drills everywhere. But the little girls were still smiling, fascinated by all of the people in their home. They were a picture of such hope, eyes wide, looking at the angels in bright orange shirts around them.

I stepped into another room and heard pieces of the husband’s story. He was at work when his wife called, hysterical because the house was rapidly flooding. Unsure of what to do, she called 9–1–1. Today, two and a half weeks later, the family is still sorting through belongings and pulling out waterlogged walls.

I don’t think God causes natural disasters. But I do think He moves in the hearts of people to help. Seeing this sweet family surrounded by human angels in bright orange shirts is like seeing a piece of Heaven. Offering support and physically meeting this family’s needs, the volunteers are stepping in and showing the family that they are not alone. And this family isn’t even the only one — last I heard, there are 90 other homes on the wait list for volunteer support. Ninety other families will soon be blessed by hundreds of other human angels in bright orange shirts. And that, to me, is a modern day miracle.


P.S. If you live in southern Wisconsin or northern Illinois, there is still a huge need for volunteers. Call 847–421–6775 for details. The stories are incredible and the work is beautiful.