Sunday, August 31, 2008


For 1.1 million people, the thought of a picnic and fun filled three day holiday weekend, disappeared Friday as Hurricane Gustav became a real threat for the Gulf Coast. This is the largest evacuation in history in Southern LA. No one in the lines of traffic on I-10, I-55 and I-59 was cooking out on the grill, swimming, or playing. The fact that it was even a weekend escaped many. Now all are glued to the weather updates and news reports.

After 2 long days of preparations, our team started evacuation on Saturday evening and into Sunday Morning. We have now all safely relocated to Pensacola, where we have been warmly received by Grace Community Church.

Our team met late this afternoon for two hours to start working through the logistics of our return plan, and the response to the aftermath. We will be posting details tomorrow morning on our response plan, including how you can participate by giving, serving, or mobilizing needed supplies. We don't know what we will be going back to, but we know that there will be significant needs in Southern LA. We made contingency plans for our response, which we'll post tomorrow morning. As you watch the news report, please consider how you might be able to help. For more info, email

Late last evening the forecast looked liked it was going to come ashore as a '4', with storm surges in our home town of 15 feet. Our home is 8 feet above sea level. Mandatory evacuation was issued for areas south of I-12 effective 7am Sunday. Denise had already moved as much of our things as practical 'up', assuming we may see a foot of water in the house. As we heard of the pending evacuation and conditions, we told the kids to be sure that they had the most special of things with them, as we could not be sure what our home would look like when we came back. We then hit the road about midnight, in order to get ahead of the wave of traffic.

We stayed off the interstate highways, which we saw were clogged with cars heading out of town. We were fortunate to have timed things well. We got to Pensacola at 6am, with several stops and a brief sleep break. We were welcomed into a friends home, who had beds ready for us to crash.
After some rest, we met as a team for lunch, then some relaxation, as we expect that we will have some very long days ahead of us.

Mark L.
EFCA Crisis Response

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gustav Preparations

We started early this morning with serious packing of our response trailers with chain saws, generators and everything you'd need for an evacuation and a hurricane aftermath. Our team met at 9am this morning for prayer and spent about an hour and a half finalizing our logistics. We expect to send an advance team to Grace Community Church in Pensacola later this afternoon, and then the bulk of the team will head there Sunday afternoon.

We believe that there is a mission field that follows every crisis. Pray for the harvest. pray for workers. pray that we would be the eye of the storm, a place of calm and peace for those around us who are in turmoil.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Three Years Later... Gustav

Three years ago I, along with many of you, was watching the most devastating storm in our country's history tear through LA. Today, on Katrina's anniversary, it is a very eerie feeling to be deep into preparations for a hurricane evacuation, and for our team, preparing for the aftermath.

For even if Gustav bypasses New Orleans, it will hit somewhere, and we expect that our team will be impacted, as the aftermath will result in despair in peoples live. There will be a mission field created in the wake of Gustav, somewhere on the Gulf Coast, on Tuesday morning.

We have been spending the last several days in preparation mode. We are in high gear today. We are expecting that even with a glancing blow to N.O., that there will be street flooding from the rain. Some heavy summer rains have resulted in as much of 3' of flooding in the city. We headed into the city early this morning to secure all of our job sites, retrieve tools, and move supplies up. We also stopped at Pastor Gerhardt's house (Castle Rock Community Church), to help get things out of their lower level. This afternoon, we will secure all our tools and equipment in containers and then get trailers restocked with tree cutting and gutting tools and equipment. We also have a lot of equipment to repair.

People here are very nervous at best, many are fearful and a few even heading towards panic. The scars of Katrina run deep. Lines in stores are long. Gas prices jumped 15 cents at one station we passed over a two hour period. Everyone is glued to the storm track websites. Traffic leaving N.O. at noon was like rush hour.

*Pray for people here.
*Pray for wisdom for our team in making evacuation decisions and planning for how we respond to the aftermath.
*Pray for our sovereign God to accomplish His perfect will and purposes in the storm.

Mark Lewis, Director
EFCA TouchGlobal Crisis Response