They live on the other side of the border, but a group of volunteers say they consider America "a second home." Samaritan's Purse is an international Christian relief group. Volunteers from the organization's Canadian branch have spent the past few months on the coast helping South Mississippians.
Inside the home it was still August 29th. When volunteers arrived on Monday, January 23rd, they found everything just as Hurricane Katrina had left it.
"We saw when we went inside was everybody just left everything. We saw new groceries and new bags from the Gap," Derrick Lee said.
Volunteers from Samaritan's Purse had their work cut out for them at the Pass Christian home. Some people worked in the front yard taking down trees and a neighbor's house that landed there after waves knocked it off its foundation. Others worked inside by tearing out the damage of five months of stagnant water.
"We'll be taking out everything to the studs and we're finding a lot of nasty things," said Bill Thompson. "The bath tub, we're trying to figure out what to do with, is full of water that has been there for five months. So that's a challenge."
Samaritan's Purse has been up to the challenge for 30 years. Members reach out to people around the world, but they say coming here doesn't feel like being in a foreign land.
"America feels like a second home," said Debbie Thom. "We love the United States. Half of our family are Americans so we don't feel out of place at all."
"I really want to do something that's not selfish. I don't care where I go. I just want to make a difference in this world," Derrick Lee said.
Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham, is the president of Samaritan's Purse. The group arrived in October and plans to continue working in our area for at least another six weeks.