Spring Break
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Diana Zipp

March 23, 2006

Gulfport, Mississippi has been one of the most wonerful experiences that I will take with me for the rest of my life.  I have met so many wonderful people that have opened my eyes to a new way of life.  This trip has showm me who I want to aspire to be and what wonderful things you can achieve with hard work and a little bit of faith. 

I sat listening to two young men playing the guitar tonight and realized how blessed I am.  I have met friends here that I will never forget and the experiences will make me a better person.  I have helped those in need and have taken a little piece from them.  They have given as much to me as I have tried to give to them.

I want to commend my fellow spring breakers.  You have shown me what truely awesome people can accomplish with a couple shovels and paint brushes.  You have amazed me everyday and I am a better person for meeting each and everyone of you.  You have touched my life in many different ways and I thank you for that.  You have changed my life for the better!  Thank you for making me a better person.

March 22, 2006

I have had so much fun today. You will never know the wonderful people you meet until you experience Gulf Port. I have met so many wonderful people that have told me stories about what they have been through. The appreciation that has been brought to me is overwhelming. I will never understand what these people have been through. I want to know more, but I am only here a short time.

The more I get to know the poeple of the Gulf the more I want to stay and help. They are just like your neighbor that you love or the ones you used to know. The people here have stories that will touch your lives forever. I ride my bus each day to learn new stories. Every day I amazed by what I learn. God is working through me everday. I am able to learn more and be a better person because of Him each and every day

March 21, 2006

Second day on the job and nothing but wonderful things to show. Today has brought me a wonderful sense of friendship. Through working on different projects today I have become closer to those that I have come with and allowed myself to be open to new friends. I have opened up and let people see the real me, something that is sometimes very hard for me to do. I have positive responses to my efforts and made new friends that I would not have ever had the chance of meeting if I hadn't come on this trip, for this I feel truely blessed.

The stories of those that were here for the Hurricane make me very interested in learning everything I can. As we took a walk on the beach tonight I thought to myself how lucky I am for having a roof over my head. Night always makes me realize that there are things to be thankful for because at this very point in time there are others who are without a roof over their head to call home. Walking on the beach also reminded me that I am here to help bring new life each and every day. My contribution may be small but a lot of small acts will add up to something big and beautiful. No one will know the effects that this hurricane has put on the poeple of the South until they have taken the time to reach out and see. My eyes have been opened and I am grateful to be apart of something so special.

The quote of the day from a hurricane victim, " It is the change of the times." What does this mean to you?

March 20, 2006

I have been looking all semster for something, not knowing what it is. Looking far and wide when today I see that it is inside of me. It is the person I am becoming and who I want to be. I decided to spend my spring break in Gulfport, MS helping vicitms of Hurricane Katrina find new life and new hope. Today was the first chance I had to make a difference for somone who does not even know my name. Today was a very humbling experience. We took a drive by the coast . It is six months after Hurricane Katrina and there is still debris everywhere. I can't imagine the real impact of Katrina. To be able to see where houses have been destryoed, relocated, or split inhalf is breath taking.

The most exciting part of my day was helping an elderly man, Ray Austin. He was struggling to put back the pieces after losing his wife just two months ago. An army of us came to his rescue and painted two rooms and many pieces of trim. He was so excited to see us and never stopped thanking us for our work. He touched my life because he was so grateful for such a small act of kindness. He called poeple just to tell them what a wonderful job we were doing and that he was having thriteen "beautiful' girls help him out. It was a wonderful experiece for me because I knew I was helping him survive.

But, the most touching experience of all today was simple and small. My group was walking back to camp today and as we approached a car honked at us. A woman was in the drivers seat giving us a motion of a prayer. She was thanking us for our work that we are here to accomplish. Simple signs like this let me know that God is acting through me and I am here to serve Him. I am finding day by day that I am here with these wonderful people for a reason, to learn about myself and the wonderful places I can travel if I put my trust in God.