Friday morning: Last night I had the privilege of meeting Mary Santiago. She lives in a not-too-nice part of Pascogoula. There are bars on her windows, and her front door has bullet-proof glass.
The group from West Alexander Presbyterian Church, which includes nine church members and two teachers from Claysville Elementary School, decided to buy Mary some new bedding and a fan for her bedroom. She welcomed us with "Come on in, sugar" and "Good to see you, baby," and we visited for a while in her overheated home.
Mary, who was hit by Hurricane Katrina, also lost her husband of 31 years in April. "He was my gift from God," she said. "We did everything together, including fishing, crabbing and going to church."
Before we left, she prayed for us to have a safe journey back to Pittsburgh, even though she has no idea where the city or even Pennsylvania is located.
Her prayer was simple, yet heartfelt and eloquent, and I was not the only one who left with tears in my eyes.