Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Gustav Assessment - God hears the prayers of his people.

We are rejoicing in God today and thankful for your prayers. We have seen His hand of mercy in sparing our region from overwhelming devastation from Hurricane Gustav. God listened and turned a Cat4 into a weak 2, and none of the rainfall, storm surge, wind and tornado projections for the storm ended up being as bad as the forecasters thought. But even in a 'not as bad as expected' storm, there are hurting people in need of hope and love. (Please read to bottom)

Tuesday started very early. We left at Pensacola at 4am, leaving our families and the Crisis Response Operations team behind. God was with us on the trip back, as the tire on the skid loader trailer shredded, without John Horst, the driver, even knowing it. It was a terribly dangerous situation, but God gave notice and allowed for a safe exit from the highway and a speedy repair.

As we returned to Trinity Church and checked on our homes, we found no significant damage. We did see flooding on along the lake front in Mandeville, and many branches down, some trees as well, and a few trees on and through homes. We were without power for the day, but that is just a temporary inconvenience. After starting generators to protect freezers at the church, we made preparations to head south into the lower Parishes to assess the damage there, and see what we could do to help.

Again God was with us, we were waved through several check points for which we had proper credentials, and then at the first one where we did not, we watched the state trooper turn away other vehicles. When it was our turn, I rolled the window down and he simply asked us if we knew we were going. Of course, being secure in our eternal destiny, truthfully answered, 'Yes!', and then he waved us by.

We knew we were heading to Houma, but had no specific destination, and in fact had never been in the town before. We also had no idea what we would do, but had prayed for God to show us where He wanted us. As we got into town, we saw that the storm had ripped off the canopies of most service stations, caused a lot of minor and some major roof damage and blew over trees. As we wondered where we'd work, we caught a glimpse of a man up in a massive tree that had fallen across the road, trying to saw it with a small bow saw. We knew God had picked the place for us.

We turned into the neighborhood and found many neighbors who had stayed through the storm, out trying to do what they could. They told us that we were the first people from outside the neighborhood that they had seen, who had come to help...and help we did. We were able to cut trees, provide gasoline for generators (there is no gas in town), and water. We worked until early evening, then again God supplied our needs perfectly. Though we had plenty of supplies at the church, ended up coming to Houma with no food. I knew God would provide, as we we're so warmly connecting with people. as we finished up the last yard, a neighbor lady who we had not helped, asked us if we were hungry. at the time there were just 2 of us in sight, so i told her yes we were, but we were too many. She insisted, and when i told her we had a dozen people, she said, 'Perfect, that's about how much food i have cooked.' We had a delicious chicken, venison and ham barbecued dinner. Very Good!

Our plan is to return to Houma and stay over night on Wednesday into Thursday to continue ministering in this neighborhood. We will also assess more areas for needs for the coming weeks.

1. We really need some new replacement chain saws. See the needs list on the blog.
2. We need funds for buying gasoline for these people for their generators. They are not expecting power for 2-3 weeks, and it is hot!

1. That God would take us to the right places to serve.
2. We have 4-6 people who have dropped everything and are planning to fly in Sunday to help next week. Pray for their ministry.
3. It appears that there is an openness after the storm to connect with people. If it is God's will to raise up more volunteers, How could we best serve this community to demonstrate and proclaim Christ.
4. Continue to pray for wisdom and direction as we show the love of Christ to those in need.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mark, We are behind you guys, and working to see how we can help in short-term, both with teams and financially. I will be in touch. Doug T

EFCA Crisis Response said...

Thanks Doug! We appreciate support and prayers. ml

TSN Ministries said...

We continue to pray for you all and plan how we can be of assistance. In the mean time, we're diligently planning the trip down in December.

Keep safe and continue to bring Christ's love to the hurting.

Jerry, Tamara, and friends in Maryland

morningdovesings@hotmail.com said...

We are on our way...Our team from Gettysburg, PA, is planning to be there for you in mid-Oct. God prevails. DO NOT FORGET THAT.