26 September 2005

Eye Of The Storm

You have to read this.

This is the account of a journalist who has been covering Hurricane Katrina. Most of his blog is photos, but this is straight from him. This is why I am going. The people he talks about are living miracles. Can you even imagine?

22 September 2005

Break Out the Holy Boldness!

As I have been following the news of Hurricane Rita, I have felt so powerless and fearful for those who are in it's path. Today, I started praying: Lord, spare your children. It seems like such an inevitable, horrible tragedy.

But then I remembered this--Moses reasoned with God. When God got upset with the Israelites, Moses boldly talked GOD out of punishing them to the extent he wanted to. And, I too, can approach God with this HOLY BOLDNESS. I can ask God to do something miraculous. I can ask God to calm the winds, turn the storm or simply take it away, off the radar, as though it never even existed. I urge you to come to God with all the boldness you can muster. He WILL listen to you. And He WILL hear your pleas. God answers his people and He is merciful and just. Remind him of his promises to us.

God, This Hurricane is so frightening! And two hurricanes so forceful, one following another, seems like too much. Please, I beg you, make it go away. Have mercy on the people of this country. Don't just turn it the other way--cause it to disappear. Baffle the meteorologists. Show them your awesome power. And in this time, remind us to keep our eyes on you and not on the wind or the waves or the rain, but on your powerful plan for us. Whatever you do, show us your love and glory and mercy. Help us to respond to it and pass it on to those who don't yet know you. You are mighty and worthy, Lord. Amen.

Will you join me in Holy Boldness?

20 September 2005

Katrina Relief Update

So much has happened (Wow, my blog title is boring) since I last posted here! So many people responded to the call for clothing and supplies to send to the Gulf Coast. I'm not going to list everything that has happened here. I hope you will go to www.ugo4god.blogspot.com to see what the 6 teams that have already left for the gulf coast have been and are doing. You can even hear audio posts from team members. And check out Jimmy's report from the time he spent there. What is happening is amazing!!!

And, exciting as all that is, I, too am going to New Orleans. I will be flying in on October 4th, and back home on the 11th. I'm one of a team of 8 (so far). I am really looking forward to it. I know that it won't be anything like any other mission trip I've ever experienced. And honestly, I don't know what to expect. I don't know what we will be doing. We just intend to go and help in whatever ways are needed. The group I am going with is pretty awesome. I am looking forward to growing closer to them and to God in the process.

Currently, there are a couple of teams from Hope Chapel in and around (or heading to and from) New Orleans. Please pray for them as they travel and serve.
Pray for Jay & Hal from Oakland (drive team); Crissi, Gary & Nancy from Santa Rosa (drive team); Marcus from Windsor driving to the gulf with supplies and then working for 6 weeks there), Patti, Maryann, Mark, Carrie, Sandie and Gina Dee from Santa Rosa (flew into Baton Rouge today).

Help Bring Hope to the Gulf Coast.

11 September 2005

Am I Desperate?

I feel almost desperate in my attempt to educate people about practical ways they can aid the victims of Hurricane Katrina. I am so grateful for people, such as Lori Gonzalez and her family for their tireless and selfless efforts to bring supplies and people to the Gulf Coast.

Following is another e-mail I sent out (a few minutes ago):

Hey everybody! The video attached was taken by the team from Hope Chapel in Gulfport, Louisiana. When they set out on Tuesday, they had no idea what to expect. They just brought what they could and now are doing as much as they can to help. Unfortunately it's not enough. You can see the devastation in the video. And at www.Ugo4god.blogspot.com there are a couple audio posts with appreciation from Pastor Troy (our team brought him and his family a motor home to live in) and local people. There is also an evident need for more! One man was simply appreciative for dry shirts, but also explained some practical items they are still going to need for clean-up and rebuilding. Such as chainsaws, shovels, trashbags, gas and oil. Rudy (one of team members) called his wife during the church service tonight and when she asked if there was something she could relay to the rest of the congregation from him, he said "(Tell them to) Get Here!" The other thing they have seen is that the Red Cross is nowhere to be found in Gulfport, but the relief effort is being done by churches from all over the country who have rented RVs and trucks and trailers and brought as many supplies and workers as possible. (I also heard from my sister, Heidi, in Robertsdale, Alabama, that the Red Cross came and opened up shelters for refugees in her town and then left--the churches are truly doing the relief work: housing refugees, laundry, offering supplies, sending supplies by the truckload to other areas--she says that all the churches are coming together in this effort.) Hope Chapel intends to continue to send more teams as possible. If you can, GO!
Please check out the blog (www.ugo4god.blogspot.com). There is so much still needed. Not just clothes, but all sorts of everyday practical items, such as diapers, carseats, chairs, toilet paper, feminine products, sheets, garbage bags, towels, soap, shampoo, brushes, gas cans, and the list could go on and on. Also needed desperately: people and vehicles (please let me know if you can or know somebody who can donate or drive a vehicle or trailer with supplies).
If possible, I think I will try to go.
If you can help in any way, please contact me, I will be glad to connect you with the appropriate person, pick up donations, whatever.
Continue to pray, please.

God, continue to rain your blessings down. Lord, we are amazed that even what we normally think of as set backs, are blessings in disguise. Lord, we are so amazed that so many people have given that we are desperate to find vehicles to carry all the supplies to Gulfport. Please, please, please show us your way.

06 September 2005

Helping bring Hope to the Gulf Coast

This is an e-mail I was compelled to send to my friends a few minutes ago.

Dear friends,

What were your thoughts after you heard or saw the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina? Initially I wasn't very phased by the tragedy (and I'm not sure why), but as the days passed and the situation really started to sink in, I realized that this was really bad and I could not sit by and watch it happen. Of course, nobody could have prevented this, but all of us can do something to help rebuild and restore lives devastated by the storm.

A few days ago, I was excited to hear that a group from Hope Chapel (check out www.ugo4god.com) would leave today to, not only offer relief supplies and any help and support they can give, but they would also bring an RV to provide a home and a base for a pastor's family who lost their home.

"So," you say, "that's awesome! But how can I help?"

Let me tell you some awesome ways to help (there is something for everyone):

1. GO
If you are able, find a way to go and help. There will be more teams from Hope Chapel heading to help (go to www.ugo4god.com for more info on how to get involved in that). Or partner with another relief organization such as the Red Cross.

Money --- Donate money, if you are able, to this relief effort (besides supplies, they must purchase gas and return plane tickets home -- you can send or bring checks to Hope Chapel at 4983 Sonoma Hwy Ste D, Santa Rosa, CA 95409) or others you are connected to, such as through your church or the Red Cross. Please be careful to give to charities you know are legit, as there are many who will take advantage of the generosity of others for their own profit.
Clothes or other supplies --- Thousands upon thousands of people have been left with NOTHING! So many of the things we take for granted are needed by these people. If you have clothes or other supplies to donate and live in Sonoma County, contact me and I will make arrangements to get them to the Hurricane Relief Team. My sister (who lives in Alabama and has been doing laundry for hurricane refugees in her town) tells me that they are especially in need of maternity clothes, diapers and other items that may not come to mind right away, such as adult Depends. Check www.ugo4god.com and www.ugo4god.blogspot.com for other items that are needed. Clean out your closets, ask your friends and neighbors for donations. This is easy!

This is the most important thing you can do. Pray for those who lost their homes, those who are treating and feeding and protecting the refugees, and praise God for the help of friends and strangers around the world.

No matter who you are or how much you have, you can do SOMETHING to help!
God bless you!


P.S. Feel free to forward this to friends and family. I know everyone is aware of the need, but not everyone knows how they can help.

"Give Until it Hurts!!!"

That's what she said Sunday morning. And that is what God has been telling me, but I didn't do it. I gave, sure, but it was only what was comfortable. When will I learn that God didn't say "Come to me so that I may make you comfortable?" And then I came home and looked at my floor and thought look at all those clothes, you don't even wear half of them...give them away. They have NOTHING!!! NOTHING!!! Literally NOTHING! This is not the nothing you say when you look in the fridge and complain that there is "nothing" to eat. This is truly NO THINGS. So, I gave, but I still didn't give until it hurt. God is still teaching me about that. I'm still learning to trust him. I want to give until it hurts, but I'm afraid.
God, When I give, remind me to keep giving, until it hurts, and then give some more. You gave until it hurt, and then gave some more when you sent your Son to die for me. Remind me of this sacrifice daily.
While I'm on the subject I just want to commend the girls in my Bible Study (you know who you are). Sunday afternoon, at about 3 pm, I called them and told them I was collecting clothes to send with a group down to hurricane victims. When they came to Bible Study at 7 that night many of them brought clothes with them. My family donated as well. This morning (Monday), we filled Jana's trunk and entire back seat with clothes to send. Rock on!!!