Thursday, March 5, 2009

Eternal Life Transformation

Hurricane Katrina: Still Saving Lives...

Hurricane Katrina stormed across New Orleans more than 3 years ago and people wonder why we're still here...but we're still here because God is still using this natural disaster to bring His children back to Him. The team from Summit EFC in Alta IA has been coming down ever since the storm hit. They've seen the faces of those without hope and those regaining their hope due to God's provision of volunteers to help them get their homes back.

I became especially close to this team while they were here and was able to call them after I had finished my half marathon to tell them their prayers had helped me finish the race! Pastor Kevin (or PK) answered his phone to not only wish me congrats but to tell me of another amazing story that had happened since they left. Andy and Allan, two team members, had both accepted Christ on the drive back! PRAISE GOD!!

I've been able to speak to both Andy and Allan since they've been home. Andy didn't even attend Summit EFC. He was invited by his boss who at the last minute couldn't make it. Tempted to drop out himself, Andy still felt like he was suppose to be on this trip and now we know why. Andy was able to open up to the people on his team and told them he was raised Catholic, spent 15 months in Afghanistan in the military, been through alcohol treatment, and tried Promise Keepers but none seem to fill him...he said, "I just felt like I was missing something." He said his team was just amazing...they weren't just a team but a family which was definitely evident to even us on staff. On the way to New Orleans, PK asked him where he'd spend eternity but Andy didn't have an answer. So when PK asked him on the way back he wanted to know more and there on the bus, accepted Christ. Now being back at home, him and another team member Clayton are going through a Bible Study together. When I called him at work, he was even carrying his Bible with him and shared with me Ephesians 4:29-32 that has really touched him:

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

He feels like this is what he saw all week in New Orleans and wants to live it out! He calls it his slogan! Andy has yet to tell his mom about what has happened in his life on the trip. He would like prayer for God to give Him the words to say to his mom and that she would come to know Christ like he has.

Allan's trip down is another God story. Allan lost his job in December. He has been a carpenter for the last 30 years. He told PK in December that he didn't know if he'd be able to go on the trip but God was already working. PK told Allan that someone had already put up the money for Allan to come on the trip. Allan was shocked and very thankful! This was Allan's third time down to New Orleans...he said "I wanted to give my life to Christ last year on the trip but didn't feel ready." He said after seeing Andy accept Christ on Saturday on the drive back, he couldn't sleep that night. So Clayton, a team member he had just met on the trip, came up to him at breakfast and asked him where'd he spend eternity and right there accepted Christ. Allan and PK are now meeting up and encouraging each other to stay on track with their walks with God. Because of someone providing for him to go on the trip, when Allan heard that a homeowner, Ms. Lee, needed a stove, him and his team immediately came up with the money. He said these trips down always allowed for him to be more connected to people he'd never even met at church. So because of someone providing for him to go on this mission trip, Allan will now spend eternity with Christ!

Allan is also wondering if maybe God is calling him back to serve the people of New Orleans on a longer stay. Just be praying God would give him direction during this time and that He would be able to grow closer to Him!

God is sooo good! He is still using this ministry to not only rebuild homes but to bring people to Him for eternity! So yes in a way, Katrina is still saving lives...saving people from eternal separation from Christ to eternal fellowship with Him! And all God's people said..."AMEN!" -Katie :)


Heather said...

As part of the Summit team, I can testify to God's presence every trip down to New Orleans. Thank you guys for all your help when we are there. It's such a pleasure to serve with you and the amazing people of New Orleans.

Joyce said...

Katie, I am so glad you are telling that great story of Al and Andy! I know it will be an encouragement to all who read it! God is so good!!!
As a memeber of Summit, it is fun to see God work!!

Anonymous said...

Great news!

Thanks for sharing!!

TSN Ministries said...

There is no mystery to how God works! Thanks for your continued committment to Christ and re-building lives and homes for His sake. You always have our prayers and support. We can't wait until our next trip down to NOLA.

We love you all!