Katrinacus Rex

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

3 Months that Seem like 3 Years

It's been three months since the tropical monster Katrina hit our area. It feels like three years.

Since then we've seen incredible things, things that are just too amazing to understand by photo or by print. Those of you who have visited this area and have worked with us here in Slidell and New Orleans know what I mean. The level and intensity and broadness of the destruction that the Lord levied on this area is something you cannot communicate. It has to be witnessed firsthand.

We've seen God answer prayer almost instantaneously; even bringing to us under our feet a domesticated pet rat roaming in the very backyard of a boy who had recently prayed for a replacement to his drowned rat, Debbie. Provision under Providence is a faith builder and the Lord has shown us His sustaining grace each and every day as we labor.

This experience has shown us that for the most part, we play church and live complacently in our communities. Having your hand to the plow and feeling the pain of blisters and the sweat of hard benevolence work is a blessing that cannot be matched. We've met folks that we would never have met in our regular circles; people from all areas of our parish and from all kinds of families and religious backgrounds. We've come along side of them to help them both physically by clearing land and fixing homes and spiritually by bringing the Gospel of Christ to them and through prayer and encouragement.

Hope has become a theme made real. When you bring the Word of God to someone you bring hope. I've taught that, I've preached that, but now I am having the privilege of living it. I've done more evangelism in these three months than I have in the last three years. Driving to the store with a virtually homeless man while his four garbage bags full of stinky clothes are in your car filling it with a smell that you aren't sure will ever come out of your vehicle really stirs up your heart. I find myself right in the book of James not wanting to sit next to the smelly guy but wanting rather to have him stay in the back and be someone else's problem. Then the love of the Spirit that has been poured out into my heart engulfs me and I see myself as him and I am reminded in the newness of my mind that I, but for the grace of God, am just like him - Same humanity, different shell. O’ the mercy of God that He shows us who we are!

I’ve been asked how things are going here in Slidell and in the New Orleans area so let me make a few comments in an attempt to answer those inquiries.

  • You can drive for over 50 miles and not find one person home. Five to ten feet of flood water and high winds destroyed thousands and thousands of residences. They are still destroyed.

  • We had a 75 year old couple show up Thanksgiving evening to our church after we had fed about ten families for dinner. The husband has had a stroke leaving the left side of his body useless and they came to us because they’ve got nowhere to live at present. Housing continues to be a great need as FEMA moves at the pace of snail making mud pies in a bottle of molasses.

  • Not all businesses are open and the ones that are open have truncated hours. Walmart, for example, closes at 7pm. Many job opportunities abound, yet stores are still understaffed.

  • We are adding a 1200 sq foot annex building to our property as a result of the support of a few churches for the purpose of housing offices and a permanent relief center. Next storm season will be here sooner than most have recovered.

  • Currently 60% of our church building is still being used for clothes, food, and supplies.

  • We still need worker teams to come and aid in this long term relief effort.

  • God is still most wonderful amidst the debris.


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