Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ike Day 4

We continue to gain a greater understanding today of the impact of Ike both in terms of physical damage, but more so the emotional impact. John Horst reported in from Houma, LA, that water levels were even higher on Tuesday. water is not receding, and won’t until the damaged levees are repaired and the water pumped out. The level of despair seems to be increasing too.

In TX, we were in the home of a member of Trinity Fellowship, Friendswood, TX on Tuesday. Her home and entire neighborhood had 4 feet of water in it. an inch thick layer of slimy mud covered the floor. She was out of town on business when the storm hit, and lost all of her possessions. She tearfully told us that she knew it was going to be months of recovery.

Her neighbor Allison cried as we prayed. She tearfully told us that her 2 young children keep asking to come home and sleep in their own beds, but Allison can’t find the words to explain to her kids that they don’t have a home or a bed anymore, and won’t for long while. Scott gave us a tour of his now wrecked garage showing us all his ruined tools, his drowned classic motorcycle, and the new lawn mower he had just purchased before Ike, now all covered in mud. All these things we mixed in with the now ruined kids toys.

We met with an EFCA pastor of a church plant in the impacted area last night. He was visibly distraught from the stress of evacuating, the stress of getting desperate phone calls from his congregants who were living w/o power and water and literally trying to survive, while he was helpless evacuated out of town. He has returned to find only an inch of water in his home, but he got the call today from two of his families that their homes had been condemned, and they had to out of their homes that same day, yesterday. He was trying to find a place for them to stay. The one family was a grandmother, who now raising 5 kids, some of which are foster children.

He teared up when I asked him how he was holding up. He said he had no idea what the future held, even tomorrow (now today). They spent all the funds they had personally to help people and evacuate themselves. They have emptied the meager church plant account trying to meet needs in the church body and community. He has no idea if his church, which he said was just in the last 2 months really starting to come into its own, would survive this. We gave him a generator, prayer, encouragement, and a testimony that God could be using this time to help grow the church even more so. I stressed to him the need for him to do what he needs to to be cared for well and physically, emotionally and spiritually strong, to serve his body and community. I gave him some money I had just to help with his personal expenses and are delivering more funds from the Hurricane Relief account to him today to enable him to function function in ministry and help in the community.

We had previously also dropped off a trailer load of supplies that he distributed Tuesday to those in need. Lord willing, God will provide more supplies for us to help him help other in that way again.

He wrote this to me later last night… “Crystal and I just continued to be in disbelief over your compassion and generosity. The generator is working incredibly well. I’m not sure you know how much of an incredible impression you have had on both of us….thank you sincerely. We feel so blessed to be a part of the denomination. You and you’re team are an incredible asset to God’s Church. The people of GulfBay EFC are overwhelmed by the generosity of the EFCA and the compassion of the Crisis Response team.

City of Baytown estimates that 1/3 of the city was flooded due to Hurricane Ike. One hugh school was severly flooded and the other severely damaged so the school district has suspended school indefinitely.

Although some members have flooded, and/or have had their homes condemned, and all of us are without power, we have hope. Our hope and compassion demonstrated to us through the Crisis Response ministry from the EFCA must be shared to the thousands of others impacted in our community by first working with the EFCA Crisis Response and other services in town in met peoples.

We distributed the donated supplies to help meet basic needs in the community, but then began to share with them the lasting hope of Jesus Christ and how Gulfbay can continue to be a place of care and compassion and hope in to the future.”

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