Pods for God

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Community works together for Katrina victims

By Cassandra Mickens

The Selma Times-Journal

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

“This is the first and great commandment.

“And the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” -Matthew 22: 37-39.

The people of Waveland, Miss., strive to live up to God’s greatest commandment each day.

Among the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina, Waveland (population 6,674) was obliterated

– the hardest hit town along the Gulf Coast, according to Mississippi state officials.

Families who lost their most prized possessions now live in small FEMA trailers suited for two to three people. The outpouring of donations from various organizations across the nation has overwhelmed Waveland residents. They don’t have the space to store the items needed to rebuild their lives.

In January, Selma’s First Baptist Church coordinated a mission trip to Waveland. Selma resident Harold Speir said the sights he saw were beyond comprehension.

“TV doesn’t do it justice. Newspapers don’t do it justice,” he said. “It’s the same thing as a tsunami. Everything down there was taken away.”

“It’s devastating. They have no hope. There’s so much to do, they can’t see the end.”

With the help of area churches and businesses, the beginning of the end is in sight.

Wednesday morning, 49 pre-fabricated storage units called pods were loaded onto a Bush Hog truck and transported to Waveland. The six by eight feet units were built as part of a project called Pods for God.

Oregon resident Steven Watson spearheads Pods for God.

First Baptist Church members met Watson during their visit to Waveland and brought his idea to the Queen City.

Pod construction began in March at a rented warehouse on Martin Luther King Street.

Other churches involved in Pods for God include Shiloh Baptist Church – Potters Station, Elkdale Baptist Church, Selma Baptist Association and Valley Grande Baptist Church and Westwood Baptist Church. Businesses involved in the project are Taylor Made in Maplesville, Fuller Building Supply, Bush Hog, Holley’s Feed and Garden and Black Belt Forklift Service.

Each pod is equipped with a plastic-wrapped Bible and a Bible verse on the door – Matthew 22: 37-39.

Demand is high. There are currently 500 people on a waiting list. One must live in a FEMA trailer to be eligible for a pod.

Speir said the arrival of additional pods will give the people of Waveland a greater sense of optimism. Since the project began, some residents have transformed their pod into actual homes.

“My prayer was to see somebody down there smile,” he said.

Pods for God organizers would like to ship a second load to the Gulf Coast, but they lack the funding. The first shipment of pods cost approximately $13,000.

Speir urges the community to contribute to this cause, be it financial gifts or physical labor.

“We’ll build them as long as folks want to provide the funds,” he said. “But if nobody wants to do it, we’ll be through with it.”

“It depends on what everybody wants to do from here on.”

Speir said there are talks of second trip to the Gulf Coast, but plans aren’t concrete.