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A Online Lifeline of God’s Mercy

It was days after Hurricane Katrina hit, and I still hadn’t heard from my family. I prayed for God’s mercy…

A woman at her laptop computer

The network news images of the storm’s damage troubled me: catastrophic flooding, crowds desperately seeking shelter.

It was just days after Hurricane Katrina tore through the Gulf Coast, and I hadn’t heard from my great-aunt Iva and great-uncle Bob, who lived in River Ridge, a New Orleans suburb. They were both in their 80s and not in great health.

I called and called their home, but only got the same monotone voice over and over: “We’re sorry. The area you are calling is out of service.”

I searched the internet. Maybe I could find some news about River Ridge. Maybe the damage to that area wasn’t bad.

I typed the town name into a search engine. There was just some outdated information and a few news stories that only gave the area a brief mention.

Then I saw a link for a real-estate office. They’ll know the area, I thought. I clicked on the page. At the bottom it read, “We are still here. Call us. We can help.” Their number was listed.

I dialed it. Please, go through. Finally, a man picked up. “I hope you can help me,” I started. “How bad is it in River Ridge?”

“Minor flooding and some downed trees,” the man answered.

“Thank God,” I said. At least I knew that much. My aunt and uncle could have ridden out the storm. “Thank you,” I said.

“Are you looking for someone?” the man asked curiously.

“My great-aunt and uncle,” I said. “I don’t suppose you know anything about the condition of Rural Street?”

“I sure do,” he said. “I live there.”

Two hours later Aunt Iva called. “The man down the street said you were looking for us.” She and Uncle Bob were fine; their house suffered only minor damage.

I wanted to thank the man for his help, but no matter how hard I searched, no matter how many search engines I tried, I couldn’t find that website again. Almost as if it had only been there for the moment I needed it.

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