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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Prayer and pasta

You all remember about the wildfires we've had recently? Twenty-six homes lost in Stillwater County, that same number of outbuildings (garages, barns, etc.) another 2-3 dozen ranches that lost fields and pastures in a wildfire that burned more than 200,000 acres-- nearly 400 square miles. The sights are beyond description.

Federal aid? Insert hollow laugh here. FEMA assistance, as it turns out, only kicks in if more than 100 property owners are "impacted." Which means, of course, that we are not even an agenda item on their docket.

Montanans are used to this. Bless them, grumbling is at a minimum. Most simply shrug their shoulders, not expecting anything different (some thankful that the politicians are not mucking things up any worse than they already are), and go on about the business of coping.

The community ministerial association (6 of the 7 local church leaders-- the RC priest there declines to participate thus far) decided a couple of weeks ago to provide folks an opportunity to come together to see if we could help with the coping. We decided to hold a spaghetti supper, and invite the neighbors. It was held Sunday night at the Evangelical church, because they have the largest parish hall. No ticket price was announced-- only a contribution of some sort to the fire relief fund we've set up. The only advance publicity, other than word of mouth, were some brief notices which appeared in the local papers a few days before.

You can read about the evening here. In an area of about 1000 residents, something like 350 came out to eat together. They went through gallons of (really, really incredible) homemade sauce, mountains of noodles, garlic bread and salad, uncounted carafes of coffee ("Fellowship Blend") and lemonade. There were enough desserts contributed to send a third world nation into a diabetic coma. And at the end of the evening, $8000 had been raised to go toward feeding livestock and restoring scorched land.

What a blessing we can be to one another!


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