Local Pastor Returns From Gulf Coast

By: Meredith Taylor
By: Meredith Taylor

October 12, 2005
What people have seen happen to their lives and what workers have witnessed trying to help them rebuild after Hurricane Katrina will stay in their minds forever. News 12 is on your side with a message of hope from one local pastor.

“Right there’s where I got one bite,” said Pastor Edward Newsome.

Pastor Edward Newsome brought home with him a bug bite or two from a recent trip to Mississippi. Nothing compared to the emotional scars of the people he met there.

“Some people in such shock, they don’t know what to do, they just stand in front of their home and seeing it as a pile of rubble and it’s like what do I do now?” Newsome said.

Armed with his bible and training as part of the National Organization for Victim’s Assistance, or NOVA, Pastor Newsome spent a week in the Gulf ravaged region with other NOVA members. A group trained to take care of emotional counseling.

“They needed to share what they were feeling, what they were experiencing,” Newsome said.

The group met with adults and children in tents like this one. Other times, they’d walk down what’s left of streets and just listen. The stories Pastor Newsome heard are now tucked away in the journal he kept.

“I’ll remember them for the rest of my life, because you touch them at a point of need,” Newsome said.

Those in need, even FEMA workers and police officers, have been emotionally drained by what they’ve seen.

“And you see in orange, a cross and it’s got a letter 4 and 1, what that means is that’s one family of 4 that lost their lives in that home,” Newsome said.

Pastor Newsome says not everyone he encountered in MS had faith, but he says that didn’t matter because he was there to spread a message of hope.

“There were some who were really irate. Every other word was a curse word I mean, and we just let ‘em get it out,” Newsome said.

A way to begin to heal on the inside, when everything on the outside just seems too much of a mess.

Three different groups of NOVA volunteers went down to Mississippi, only one from South Carolina. Pastor Newsome heads back in about two weeks with some of his church members to do some construction work.

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