Sunday, December 21, 2008

Galveston Images

View some videos excerpts of ministry in Galveston. Pray for the week after Christmas. We have 70+ volunteers. May the Lord's will be done...the Gospel.

Friday, December 12, 2008

90 Days

90 Days. 3 months. A season. 2160 Hours. 12 weeks. It was the end of summer then. It's soon Christmas now (It even snowed on the Gulf Coast you know). Perceptions of time are interesting. Today is Ike Day 90. It was interesting reflecting last evening over dinner with new friends from Galveston, that I feel I have known for years. For Galvestonians, it seemed like the days of living by generator power went on and on. It was a month. It seemed like the days of waiting in long lines of check points to get into Galveston went on for a long time. Two weeks. Distribution Centers. 30 days. Eating MRE's. Had one last week.

Homelessness for 1000's of people. 90 days. Some still waiting to hear if they can even rebuild their homes. 90 days. Disruption of normalcy and life as it was. 90 days. Loss of jobs. 90 days. Dealing with piles of forms and long lines and hours on the phone with FEMA and insurance companies. 90 days. Trying to come to grips with loss and turmoil. 90 days. Struggling with fear. 90 days. Wondering what next. 90 days. Struggling marriages. 90 days. Worrying about paying the bills when jobs are gone. 90 days. Wondering, 'Why Has this happened to me?'. 90 days. A mission field ripe for the harvest. 90 days.

The hard part for most though, is the 90 days is really only the beginning. On a practical level, a fortunate few people had flood, winstorm, and home owners insurance, and some of them have even been able to get started with repairs. I have not found very many of them. Almost all of the people I have come in contact with have gotten little from the government, nothing from insurance and are trying to figure out what next with out any real resources. The truth is, this new 'normal', called disruption, does not have an end in sight for many.

The continuous and ongoing and uncertainty of when will things be 'OK' for people here, is wearing on people. This is all too familiar for me, as we are still working with families in New Orleans 3-1/4 years later who are still wondering the answer to this question.

A widow lady we are helping to rebuild her home named Mickey June told me today that last night she got a notice under her motel room door telling her she had to be out today. She had been told by FEMA that she had been extended for her room until, 1/3, but it took her hours on the phone, as she packed up, to get the paperwork straightened out. So she then unpacked again to stay 3 more weeks in the motel room. She has a FEMA traielr in the front yard, but is waiting for the utilities hooked up.

We served a man named David today at his mothers house. She died 3 days before the storm. Her home had 4 feet of water in it. His home had was alos flooded and he is temporarily living 30 miles away on the mainland. It was a painful story for him to share, about all the loss at all the levels that he has experienced. But it was a priviledge to put my hand on him and lift him up prayer today.

It is so reassuring though to know that God is moving in it all. Pray for:
- Families spending Christmas in motel rooms.
- Struggling marriages.
- People to put their Hope in Jesus.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ike Day 75 - Thanksgiving

We returned home last evening after spending a great week as a family in Texas. Denise and the kids were able to help serve over 125 families on Tuesday's food distribution. We also had a donation for Thanksgiving baskets for Galveston Bible Church members, and extras to enable them to bless a friend or neighbor. Our family along with the Watterson's helped distribute these as well. I was able to get several more rebuilding projects lined up for the coming weeks, and continue to respond to request for clean up.

On the way home, we took the ferry across to the Bolivar Peninsula. This was my first trip to this devastated area. It was a good preparation for Thanksgiving Day. Below we have attached some pictures of what things look like there. In many respects, it looked like areas we saw in Galveston only days after the storm, except this is now 2-1/2 months later. Debris was strewn everywhere. Broken houses. Cars buried in sand.

Below is an email

I got yesterday from a Bolivar resident:

"The people in PortBolivar have been put on the end of the list for everything. Most of the people that live there are older folks such as my mom. A lot of the folks didn't have insurance or had very little. My mom's home still sits full of appliances, and ruined furniture. The local Government has told folks over there that they can not repair their homes unless they raise them from 14-18 feet. Folks such as my mom can not climb stairs such as this and since they own the property in Bolivar they are being forced to leave and find other means of survival.

FEMA has helped to some extent those who DIDN'T have insurance, but those who had some insurance such as my

mom....FEMA won't help until insurance has settled and then I feel won't help anyway. My mom lived 57 years in her home with my dad who just passed away in March. She is now forced to make a decision to demolish the home because it would be too expensive to repair and impossible for her to live in at the requirement for elevation. She says she is to old to continue to run from hurricanes.

My home was also flooded in Galveston. I rented a 4 bedroom home there for me and my 2 grown sons. The cost of rental property in the area as I am sure you are aware of is Out of Reach.

If you can take a visit to Port Bolivar and see what I am talking about. Port Bolivar is right after you get off the ferry. Crystal Beach and Gilchrist is further up the road. All of these areas need help."

Seeing this yesterday made our Thanksgiving so much more real today. God has blessed us and given us the opportunity to be part of His work in making an eternal difference in people's lives. We have much to be thankful for. As we went around the table today, the kids said it best, " We are thankful for our family and our friends". Amen.

Please consider how you can make a difference in TX and LA. Pray. Give. Serve. (Click these links for more info).

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ike Day 70

The past two weekends have been very busy with volunteers on Saturdays topping 120. Amen! Keep praying for God to bring workers, there are so many hurting people unsure of where to turn.

This past week, a team from Lakewood EFC, MN, Joe from Dallas and Justin from Friendswood Community invested in finishing Ms Robbie's roof, and started one for Daniel and Maria. They had some insurance funds, as they were 'lucky' to have their roof leak as well a their home flood. But it was barely enough to buy the materials needed to replace their roof, much less pay a contarctor and replace all the damaged personal property. Our family was able to join in the project as well, the kids loved being up on the roof.

Today, a 16 year old from Trinity Fellowship EFC had his birthday party with his friends. He chose for his party to have his friends come with him to help finish Daniel and Mary's roof. It was so awesome to see this young leader mobilizing his friends, his dad, and even his pastor to serve this wonderful family.

We had about 50 here today. A family from Grace Bible Church in Kileen, TX came with a truck load of really nice doors for the church, and stayed to put them on. We sent our first team across the ferry to the Bolivar Peninsula today as well to remove the contents from a home. The ferry just opened this week for public access.

Grace Bible EFC continued the sheet rock hanging work that First Free Austin started on Tina's mom's house. We expect that all the mudding and sanding could be done next weekend, if we have the volunteers.

Friendswood Community cut trees, did more gutting and cleaned up another portion of the warehouse area we have to use.

This afternoon, Miss June cme over to talk more about her house. It is so hard for her to know what to do next, and who to trust, and how to go about rebuilding her home. She is such a sweet lady. Last Sunday, she hosted the team that helped her on Saturday for 'church' in her former living room, now a gutted shell. She brought out her keyboard and played hymns and songs she wrote for all to sing. Pray for her, she has no resources but a small savings and pension, and continues on in faith the God will provide what she needs. She will be evicted from her FEMA funded hotel room at the end of the month.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ike Day 63

We started a new phase of the Ike Response in Galveston about a week ago, that being the rebuilding stage. Pictured to the right is Wanda, with Lori from a team from NV.

As we gutted her home last month, we clearly felt a call to help her rebuild. As with almost all the people that we have worked for thus far, she did not have flood insurance, as her home had never seen water before. All she has is a small amount she got from FEMA. Without the volunteer help, she'd never be ableto get back in her house. She had been living in a hotel room with her kids for weeks until she recently got an apartment.

The NV team replaced her rotten subfloor and repaired rotten wall supports, leaving the home ready for wiring. Wanda has been through a lot. She has not known if she was going to still have a job, but got a call recently from her employer that she will be one of the few to be called back to work soon.

The NV team, as well as some from Grace Bible and others, have also been working on the roof replacement for Ms. Robbie. She is an elderly lady again with no insurance. Her kids are pulling together their savings to enable their mom to get out from under the blue tarps. We hope to be hanging sheet rock in her house in the next few weeks, providing we have the volunteers.

Friendswood Community Church sent teams down the last two Saturdays specifically to help with to help with outreach into the neighborhoods where we have been doing most of our gutting work. As homes get gutted, the debris get piled on the streets. The bulk of the debris is then picked up by FEMA contractors, but a lot of little debris is left behind littering the streets. The FCC teams have been bringing brooms and rakes and have been investing in the clean-up of streets. This effort has produced an outpouring of thanks from home owners who are so grateful for the help in trying to make their street look like a neighborhood again.

I saw one elderly man trying to rake all the small pieces of drywall from his yard. I quickly picked up some volunteers, and pulled up to his house. In 15 minutes the many hands made light of the work, and the older man just watched in disbelief. He asked where we were from and we shared about Galveston Bible Church, and how much God cares about him. We were able to pray for him as well. His prayer request was simply, for my neighbors to be able to come home.
Pray that prayer with us.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Beachhead

Early in the Ike response, we met Tina, and life long Galveston resident who had her home flooded and needed help in removing all of the debris. We have continued to work with Tina over the last 4 weeks, she has turned out to be such a huge blessing for establishing a ministry presence in the area between west of 50th St. This past Saturday was an amazing day of ministry. Using her home as beachhead for reaching the neighboring areas, we had about 150 people out serving at 18 different work sites.

A team from Friendswood Community Church landed on that beachhead and worked on transforming her yard by removing all the dead shrubs, and then took on sweeping the streets in the neighborhood. They met a lot of neighbors in the morning and invited them to a hot dog cookout block party we had planned for lunch. It was a blessing to see the neighborhood coming out and interacting with one another and with the teams.

We are planning a similar event this coming Saturday with another 100 plus volunteers.

I met an older lady in the neighborhood named Micky-June, who i was able to connect with 2 younger gals from Galveston Bible Church. She had a huge garage filled with water soaked smelly debris that she had been trying to clean out herself. I invited her to our hot dog lunch and gave her a ride over. She smiled and grabed my hand and said, 'I haven't had a lunch date in years'.

She told us about he fight with cancer. After several seasons of treatments, her doctor told her recently that it was time for her to make a decision to for quality of life or quantity of life. she said she decided instead to opt for a focused time of pray for healing. She told us that she is healed, and that God will either do that physically here on earth and extend her days, or will heal her when He brings her to be with him, but either way, she knows she has been healed. She had such joy amidst the struggles of life. I felt like God connected us with her so we could help her witness and love her neighbors, all of whom looked and sounded weary.

Pray for Micky-June and Tina to be used by God to spiritually transform their neighborhood.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

God's Plan

I spent Thursday with John Horst visiting job sites and moving drywall around New Orleans. We stopped at Pat's home, a lady who lost everything. We helped her apply for a grant in the spring, which she got. But then in May Red Cross announced that they were over extended and were pulling out of New Orleans, and in that process, failed to provide Pat with her funds for rebuilding. I had the blessing of telling Pat that she got the grant in the spring, and then in the summer was also provided the chance to tell her that she had nothing again. That was a hard call to make, but i told her that somehow God would provide and we would help her. So it was especially good to have teams at her house this past week beginning to serve her.

While at Pat's house, I met a young team member visiting from MN. He told me how blessed he was to be in New Orleans and how had experienced God this week. The day before, he got sick and ended up not being able to go to the work site with his team. He was feeling frustrated for not being able to work and serve as he wanted to. Later in the afternoon after resting, he was out on the front steps of the Yellow House. He greeted and engaged a man walking by in conversation, during which the man confided that he was struggling with addiction. The MN team member had also been down that road and was able to speak with understanding to the man. In the course of the conversation the man asked for what the team member had that enabled him to overcome....and a few minutes later they prayed and the man accepted Christ. The team member was then able to connect the man with Michael Robinson, the Community Development Director for Urban Impact Ministries, for follow-up and connection to the church.

Pray for the power of God to help this man overcome the things that ensnare him and the sin that entangles.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ministry Potential

Driving through the city, it seems like all the homes in the city have been gutted, but appearances are deceiving. We continue to get a steady flow of calls into the church saying mostly the same thing, 'We got a flyer from a neighbor or someone in your church. It says you'll help for free. Is that really true?' Several hundred ministry contacts have resulted in just the first 6 weeks since Ike. We have those needing assistance come by the church to fill out an 'application', consisting of their essential contact information, but it gives us time to sit with them and hear their story. It also gets them familiar with the church facility. Vicki was one of those who called today. She came by the church shortly after she called. We were able listen and pray for her. Her story is becoming common. She tried to do it all on her own, but is weary. We pray that God will bring workers to help us serve her soon. Please pray with us.

Pictured to the left are teams from Hilltop and Bastrop Christian Churches, who served with us over the weekend. They helped a city employee work on gutting his dad's house. It had not been touched for a month. As the team was finishing work for the day, one team member felt compelled to share his testimony and after he did so, the home owner prayed for forgiveness and surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus. Galveston Bible Church is beginning to mobilize the Body to begin to follow up on those God is bringing to them.

God is bringing many. In addition to the hundreds of home owner contacts, the church has been helping to care for the immediate needs in the community with a food dsitribution ministry. Several hundred more families have come to the church for this help, and the church members and volunteers will also be initiating follow-up with these families.

Teams from Hershey EFC, Cornerstone EFC and Coasthills Church arrived for this week. The Hershey team met Lisa today. Her home is shown here with a large tree. Lisa was very close to paying off her home when the storm hit. She now is on the verge of homelessness. She has been told that her home must be elevated 4 feet higher if she is going to rebuild it. She can get a loan to do this, but has no income. She had an interview for a promising new job on the day Ike hit. She is in a motel now, but will be forced to leave that the middle of next month. With no other opportunity apparent, her current plan is to move back into her now gutted shell of a house.

God has a house of many rooms prepared for her. Pray that we will be able to continue to walk through the door opened today, so that we can share hope and Christ'slove with Lisa. ml

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Definitely Blessed more than I ever was a blessing...

Hey Yall!

Well first off, sorry for the lack of posts this week. But just so you know since I've been here we've gotten 12 homes gutted and started another dozen....and you know what, there are about a bizillion more to go! Trust me, if you didn't think you could get down here in time to help, you are mistaken! Come now, come in a month, come as soon as you can, and see how God is using Ike to open doors for impacting people with the truth of His gospel!

This week has been great, Sarah Painter has arrived! She will be the on-site coordinator for teams and she is a sweetheart! The roof over the distribution center has now been completed and we have electric in the church! YAY no more generators! The team from Coast Hills CA has been such a blessing to work with and to hang out with! They are awesome!

For the 2 weeks I've been here I truly have been blessed more than I've been a blessing! I was telling Kelly today, the church secretary, how much GBC is a family along with a church! They really are the definition of a church family and I'm sooo blessed to have been able to get to know them. Looks like Wanda's home will be one of the first ones we rebuild (HOORAY!!) and I'm so blessed to have been a part of this process of getting her home gutted and seeing what the next step is!

God is moving here people! He is opening up doors, providing connections, getting things going to help those He loves! I pray that Galveston is not forgotten and God provides not only the volunteers but the opportunities to share His love with all Galvestonians, New Orleaners, and people everywhere!

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasureably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen." Ephesians 3:20-21

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ike Day 32 - It's NOT about the work...

Hi Everyone!

The title is the one thing God has really been teaching me this is NOT about the work! I've been thrown into an environment that does needs lots of visible manual labor and also into a position where I'm kind of in charge of the designation of jobsites for teams. I desparately want to help everyone so if a team finishes a job we can move on to the next person to help...but at the same time, I desperately want these team members to LOVE on the people of connect with them, to care for them, to put down the crowbar and take off the face mask and have a geniune conversation with them...this has to be my top priority! So if a one day job takes all week because the teams are developing a relationship with the homeowner than who am I to stop that, who am I to stop what God is doing in their lives! The desire to love others has to be for all Christians around the world one of the top priorities! To Love God and to Love others! These are the greatest commands!

So my challenge to everyone is to stop focusing on the work, otherwise you might miss the chance to share God's love with someone who truly needs it!

p.s. We finished gutting Wanda's house on Tuesday! And she came by the free store yesterday so I got to see her! I'm really hoping we can start the rebuilding process soon but I know everything will work out in God's timing.

Jesus says, "This is my command: Love each other." John 15:17

Monday, October 13, 2008

4 Weeks Later...

Hi everyone! Katie here!

I'm sitting in the office at GBC (pictured) which used to be a Sunday School room where the carpet has been pulled up and all that's left is cement. Sunday marked the one month mark of Ike hitting Galveston. The church service that morning was filled with songs of joy and songs of hope. The church body is ready to hit the ground running, getting back into Bible studies, and serving their community that is not only suffering from physical damage but spiritual as well.

I'm sure a month ago no one would've ever thought this is what this office would look like today, no one would've thought of bunk beds taking up other sunday school rooms and a distribution center being run out of a lumber mill one human would've ever seen this a month ago...but we all know God saw this from the very beginning! He knew exactly what would happen and how it would change everything for the people of Galveston and those who come to help.

It's not a coincidence that one of the church elders owned an old church (pictured) nearby that could be used for sleeping volunteers, or that a church elder owned a lumber warehouse nearby that could be used for a free store for people to get groceries they couldn't get otherwise...God had all of these things set in motion long before the storm to be used for the work He's doing now in the lives of Galveston, the church body, and the surrounding community! God is awesome!

And 4 weeks later, we're still gutting, we're still perservering, and we're still putting our hope in the God who has everything under His control! We have teams from Arizona, Pennsylvania, and California this week! Pastor Clay's house is completely gutted and we hope to start rebuilding soon! Remember you can still be a part of God's work here either through the giving of supplies and/or time. Also, please always be in prayer for us! We cannot do this without God and we can't forget that! Just today, we had deliveries of $1000 worth of groceries for our free store (pictured), and a 17 foot truck of supplies for us to use for teams and in the free store! God is good! He is faithful til the very end to provide for our needs!

"Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies."
Psalm 36:5

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ike Day 28 - Galveston Welcomes Katie

*Street down from the can see debris piled along the side of the road which is common on all roads of Galveston right now

Hi everyone!

For some of you who don't know, my name is Katie Hooks and I'm the volunteer coordinator for EFCA Crisis Response ministry for both New Orleans and if you email or I'm the happy receiver of those emails! I grew up in NC and after graduating from college the Lord opened the doors for me to come serve in New Orleans! I'm grateful to be a part of this ministry and see God working in the lives of not only those directly affected by natural disasters but in the lives of those who come to help!

I arrived yesterday and was literally thrown into the mix of helping out in anyway I can. I guess I was expecting Galveston to be some ritzy vacation spot but boy was I wrong. Galveston is not just a vacation spot but a home to many people who are barely getting by. Yesterday, I was able to walk around the church and see how the operation is set up and work with Mark Lewis who was working on where to put the 60+ volunteers on the island and the 40+ volunteers on the mainland for Saturday. I don't know how Mark does it but I'm so very blessed to work for a boss who loves the Lord and truly wants to reach out and help not only the physical needs but spiritual needs as well of God's children.

Today was just awesome! I get to meet a lady named Wanda Hayes (pictured below). Mark and I were in the office when the team leader of that jobsite called to ask a question and Mark decided to go over. Well he was already taking Emily his daughter so I asked to come too and he said sure! When we got there, we discovered she had had 3.5 feet of water and since you can only tear out either 4 feet or 8 feet of drywall, we had to tear from floor to ceiling to make sure to get rid of the mold. As Mark moves on to the next room, she looks at me and says "I love hugs!" and gives me the biggest, most meaningful hug in my life. As we're hugging, I can hear her begin to cry...I can't even begin to comprehend what she is going through right now.

Come to find out later, she is a single mom of 5 who works as a nurse's assistant at the hospital on the island. She doesn't know if she'll get her job back, she's only been in her house for 5 years but to her it was home! It was a place to raise her children away from the dangerous neighborhood she'd been in before. I was able to meet her son Jamal (aka Linky) and GG (her adopted daughter) (also pictured) and like her mom, they were throwing hammers, pulling drywall, and rolling out the wheelbarrow with the rest of the team! She said she'd had people come in before to help but really feels like she can trust us and that Jesus brought us to her! Please be in prayer for this family...Wanda was able to stop by the church later (which made me really happy) and brought her sister Sheila who needs work done on her house too! God is awesome yall! He is providing not just the workers, but the opportunities to really show the love of Jesus to the people of Galveston! Praise Him!

The Lord is definitely moving and working here in Galveston! I hope everyone no matter where they are can find the Wandas of their neighborhoods and truly love them and help them like Jesus would!

"And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast."
1 Peter 5:10

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ike Day 26 - The People

The team from Community EFC spent the early part of the week serving John, the retired police chief of Galveston. He served the community for 50 years, as well as in the Marines. Team said, "
He is a charming 73 year old gentleman who was very appreciative of our help. The home was flooded with 8 feet of water, and his insurance was canceled 4 months prior to Ike as a result of damage sustained and resulting claims from Hurricane Rita in 2005. We gutted his home completely and when we left, it was ready for restoration work to begin. He said, 'It has been a very long time since anyone helped me for free.'

The team was able to then share about the Grace Plan, how it's a free gift from God. Jeff, pictured on top, was also with the team from Shippensburg EFC. He bonded well with John as Jeff too is a police officer. John'sson JAy, who is also an offcier on the Galveston PD was grateful as well. He has been unableto help his dad as he is working 12 hours a day since. EFCA Crisis Response and Galveston Bible Church have been focusing on meeting the needs of many first responders in the community. Lisa and her teams act of service is pictured, as well as the team and John.

Jack Symmons was also following up with Bill in Houma who recently professed faith in Christ, and wrote,

"Last Friday afternoon I had a chance to pay Bill Witty a visit on my way out of Houma. When I arrived at his house his wife greeted me with the biggest smile and told me the Bill was working on the side out the house.

Well after suprising him, he began yelling I’m a sinner I’m a sinner. I was in shock at first but then he told me that he was sinning because he could not stop bragging about the team that had been at his house and the work that they had done for him.

He was so happy the he had created a wall of fame. And on that wall is all the names of the team members that help cut his trees. And with their names are their favorite bible verses. Bill told me that he goes out to that wall and reads those verses everyday.Praise God for His perfect timing.

I have been challenged to work on a list of the blessings I have seen in the last 4 weeks of ministry in TX. Stay tuned for the Blessing List, as best my memory will allow.

We have over 40 volunteers schedule for the weekend from area churches. We really need longer term staff and volunteers coming from out of the area for a week at a time. Please join us in asking God for His provision in those areas as well. ml

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A weekend of gutting

These are some pictures of the past weekend of showing the love of Christ to those in need.
If you haven't seen the video we made from the first week in TX, look to the bar on the right. ml

Patty helping to clean her house (Above).
Left and Below - 4ft of water in Tina's house. She's legally blind.

1st Free Austin with Patty, Laura and pile of debris.

Chris (Grace - Killeen, TX) showing his might on the old tub.

Sunday worship (below)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Fruit

This past week in Houma, LA, through the transformational power of the Holy Spirit, we were blessed to witness 24 people profess faith in Christ! We now have the blessing of following up!

Our team working in Houma wrote this of an experience last week....
"We went to Bill Witty house and was there to check his trees that were down. After I met Bill I looked at his trees with him and told him we should be able to do it next week or the week after. He told me “wait a minute fella how much is going to cost me” . I told him how’s about zero dollar and zero cents. He stood back and was in shock , asked where we from and who we were. After I told him who we were and what our jobs were he in Houma, New Orleans and Texas. He told me that he has been praying for God to send him some help for these tree, he had been praying almost every night asking God to please help. Well last night he said that when he prayed he told God that this was it he was at the end of his rope and that he was throwing in his chip with God. And then I showed up today and offer free help and where from a faith base group. The tears just flowed. He was thanking me and thanking Go."

The rest of the story is that the team went to serve him and connected so well. They showed the practical, tangible side of God's love, and also shared the Truth of the Gospel. Earlier this week, we got word from one of the team members from NV, that Bill had called him and told the team member " I prayed to become a Christian". God is so gracious, and we rejoice with Bill in his new life.
In TX, we had a big weekend of ministry of ministry today. Thanks for praying for workers for the harvest....keep it up. We had groups serving with us today from First Free Austin, Grace Houston, Trinity Fellowship Friendswood and Grace Bible Killeen, about 60 people total on Saturday! Teams from Coasthills Community, CA and Community EFC, PA arrived today.

I met John, pictured, who works for the sherrif. We were blessed to serve his family this weekend. He had 4+ feet of water in his home. He has been working 12 hour days since the storm, and has not been able to do much on his home. He started to tell me how he has seen God's hand of blessing on his family through this, but stopped as he was trying not to cry. ....and now I had to stoptyping for a minute as I am trying not to cry...the background of the picture is the entire contents of their home trashed on the street... John told me that they had wanted to do some remodeling two month ago and applied for a loan. They were denied, but through the process they were 'forced' to apply for flood insurance, which they got and paid for. They felt rejected and taken, as they were now not able to do the improvement, but also had paid in a lot of money for some seemingly impractical insurance for a neighborhood that never flooded. He knows it was God.

His family had wanted to stay for the storm, but he prevailed on them to leave. He again teared as he told me all he could think about was his wife and kids alone in the house the night of the storm in the dark in 4+ feet of muddy water. He knows it was God that a hotel room just happened to have a cancelation on Friday afernoon at 2pm, as the storm was already blowing in.

He spent an hour walking me room by room through the house, still finding ruined photos of his family in the mess in the rooms, keep sakes caked with mud, pictures of his now flooded police motorcycle, and the room that his wife and daughter had just so creatively painted over the last 2 months. All Gone...

We signed up dozens of more families today that need help working on their homes, and found dozens more without insurance that are going to need help rebuilding. We need workers! Pray. ml