Sunday, July 12, 2015

NOLA 2015: Harold Bailey

On Sunday afternoon we had the honor of having Harold and Caprina Bailey come and share their story with us. 

Harold is 27. He is celebrating his first wedding anniversary with his wife Caprina next week. Last summer, in July, 8 years after Hurricane Katrina, he finally moved back into his home. 
Harold was 17 when Katrina happened. He told us about how he and his family had to decide whether or not to evacuate. After hearing that the storm was developing a double eye, he and his mom and dad, brother, sister in law and  and 2 nephews decided to leave. They went to Selma. All 7 of them stayed in 1 hotel room there for 3 days. After learning the severity of the storm damage, they realized they did not have the means to keep living in the hotel much longer. He and his family ended up living in a shelter. After a while the shelter could not continue supporting the families and decided to close it's doors. Harold and his family then had to travel to Atlanta to find more resources and services to help. 
Over a month after the storm Harold was able to return to New Orleans. 
He remembers how everything, every house was the same color: brown. Mud and stench was caked everywhere. His house was in disarray, and his city was hurting. 
This is when Harold's story sprung into action. Harold immediately started pouring himself into his city. In the months following he lived on a cruise ship in the channel, and spend his days doing clean up efforts. Although only 18, he was in charge of many other men. He helped lead a team of workers who sorted through debris and waste as homes were cleared out. 
Since then Harold has continued to fight for his city. He has worked with St. Bernard Project, and has helped many people with the rebuilding efforts. He spends much of his time volunteering with the population of homeless giving out food, water, and the love of Jesus. Harold currently helps lead a program called Fatherhood of the Round Table, that focuses on mending fathers and their families. They meet from 10-12 with men, many of whom have served time in jail or prison, and advocate and teach them family skills. Harold continues to be actively involved in the politics of his city. 

During his talk Harold would gaze up at the tshirts hanging in the big room of the Mission House. Each shirt is signed by volunteers who have helped rebuild New Orleans after Katrina. Harold expresses, through teary eyes, how greatful he was to everyone who was willing to help his city out. He told us to be proud for helping, and giving our time. 

It was an emotional time of sharing in each other's lives. Afterwards we asked if we could pray with them. Of course they said yes! 

Harold longs for community and lively good for his city. Please pray that relationships and community continue to grow in New Orleans. Also, pray for Garold and Caprina, and their two sons. Pray that Hod would bless them, and watch over their sons, as the fight for good schooling for them. 

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