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Top : In The News : Walking Through Katrina, Pt 1
Walking Through Katrina, Pt 1~ Lissa M. Lee
Where to begin? What to tell?
Today is the 4th anniversary of 9/11. Tonight I was honored to sing with our church choir as we ministered to the Red Cross workers serving our area. Half of these people were at Ground Zero this time 4 years ago. A few of them were at the tsunami 8 months ago. And one that I met was dispatched from Iraq to help us.
Here, in my hometown, people from Germany, Iraq, Seattle, Dallas, North Dakota, California, Virginia and all over the nation are here. Here to help us get back on our feet again. There is no way to express our gratitude and thanks.
What I discovered was "In Christ" there is unity and power. As we gathered, from all denominations and locations, we could be one under the banner of Christ. In unison as we prayed the Lord's Prayer, the words. "Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." suddenly took on new meaning.
There are so many stories pouring in of miraculous deliveries amide the horrible tragedies. Stories many of us will never hear until we are seated at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb in the New Jerusalem. But what keeps reverberating over and over again, is "In Christ" we are not alone, God is still on the throne and that people all over the world are focused on us and praying for us.
Today the head pastor of our family of churches gave the morning messages. He is so real and so honest. He said the first disaster he ever experienced was an 8.2 earthquake in 1995. All he knew to do was hit the floor and all he could say was, "BIBLE!" But God heard his cry.
Pastor Rice Broocks told us that a few weeks ago he was in Israel. He was fortunate enough to sit on the shore of the Sea of Galilee and splash his feet around in the water. As he sat there, his mind was drawn to the stories in the Gospel. It was if God showed him that the Sea of Galilee was Jesus' practice field for the disciples.
Think back to all the lessons they learned on those waters. Think of the times he sent them in a boat into those waters knowing storms were coming. As Pastor Rice said, "The same storm that rocked the disciples' faith, rocked Jesus to sleep."
Today we held two church services. Our church building was miraculously spared. On Tuesday, August 30th, our pastors were back in Covington meeting with local officials and going into New Orleans to help. That morning 125 men showed up with chainsaws to start clearing roads so rescue and relief workers could get to the hardest hit areas. By Wednesday, our church had become the official command post for the area.
Only God could have known what was coming.
Our church is only 5 years old. We held our first services in our current building on the Sunday after 9/11. At that time a gentleman named Doug was living in New Orleans dispatched here with the Coast Guard to command the New Orleans center. Shortly after that, he was promoted to the position of commander for the entire Gulf Coast and was transferred to Texas.
He retired 6 months ago.
He and his wife began to pray for direction. God told them to come back here. They obeyed and offered their services to our church. Little did he know his expertise would be in such demand within such a short amount of time? He has become the coordination director for PRC Compassion as it works to restore life in our area.
Only God could have orchestrated such a vision. Only obedient believers could have made it a reality.
Never question what God is putting on your heart. You may be the deliverer of a nation!
With Doug in place and the PRC Compassion rolling - we were able to clear the road ways for relief and government agencies to move into position to help. Wednesday our people were in New Orleans helping rescue people. Thursday, our people were going house-by-house and clearing the tree and debris from the homes of the local officials and law enforcement officers. Since they were working to take care of our families, our church went to take care of their families.
This morning in church, our Chief of Police was in tears expressing his gratitude to the love shown toward the families of his men. By Friday after 72 hours without sleep, a police force from Indiana arrived to give our officers sleep.
I can't tell you the number of ministries and churches that have flooded our area. LeSea Broadcasting's Feed the Hungry 18-wheelers were pulling into the church lot with water, ice, R.E.M. and clothing. Joyce Meyer Ministries came the day before. Truck load after truck load of provisions from people all over this country daily find their way. And the amazing thing is, with the combined efforts of the Red Cross, FEMA, local government offices and PRC Compassion - real needs are being met quickly and efficiently.
I want to assure you, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is alive and fulfilling it's role on the earth. It is in times like that these that the church is set on a hill to be a glorious beacon of light.
And people are open to the message of Christ. They are without hope and full of fear. They are anxious to know that they are going to be okay and that there is something waiting for them.
In 1906 the worst national disaster prior to Katrina hit San Francisco. That year an earthquake leveled the city and fire destroyed what remained. At that same time, on a little street named Azusa, God was birthing a revival that the effects can still be felt today.
What Satan intended as harm, God is going to use to glorify Himself, His Church and His children who will cling to Him.
This morning, as we sang the hymn, "It is Well with My Soul," I thought of the source of that great hymn. In the face of overwhelming loss and personal tragedy, one man penned a hymn that brought life, hope and encouragement to 3000 people this morning.not counting all the other churches who sang the same words in their services this morning.
But there is much sadness. Our sister churches in New Orleans are gone. Some of the pastors no longer have buildings or homes. Their staff has been displaced and their congregations scattered all over the country. Victory Fellowship's building some how survived with minimal damage. Their staff and congregations have been preparing over 6000 meals a day to feed homeless victims who are so disoriented; their eyes are glazed with shock.
For every victorious story, another tragic one follows.
I am simply overwhelmed. I am forever humbled by the favor of God to me in the midst of this.
Friday, August 26th was a typical workday. We all headed for home to relax for the weekend. I remember casually praying for the people in Florida as Katrina stormed Miami. I will never casually pray about hurricanes again.
The next morning was Saturday. As is my custom, I lounge in bed, read my Bible and prepare to lead our home Bible study group on Monday nights. Around 10:30 my phone rang. It was Greta, my choir section leader telling me to listen to the radio because if Kevin Davis, our parish president, ordered an evacuation, there would be no church this weekend.
That was my first alert to the coming danger.
Submitted on : 20-Sep-2005
Top : In The News : Walking Through Katrina, Pt 1