Sunday, August 31, 2008

Message From New Orleans

This is a message from our friend, Pastor Mike Sprague of Trinity Evangelical Free Church in Mandeville, LA. We knew Mike and his wife, Donna, from our years at our former church. They have one son who was one of my first graders! He's now in college. (I feel old, yes I do!)

Please pray for them and that the three years they have invested in preparing for such a time as this will pay off. They were in a position after Katrina to pull together resources to assist in a way only churches have been able to effectively do long-term with short-term teams in the New Orleans area. When we send teams, we send them to him.

This church has organized a Disaster Response team that will come in very handy over the next few weeks... It is a huge undertaking. Pray for safety, resources and workers. Resources most importantly as this area is just now finally recovering another hit like this may cause many to turn away.

Our prayers with them!

August 31, 2008

Gustav Sunday Night

Here we go again! I'll try to keep you posted as long as we have communication ability. Donna, Fluffy (our dog) and I rolled into Birmingham dead tired - not much sleep last night. We had just gotten to sleep around midnight when we received an emergency call from the Mandeville Mayor saying that a mandatory evacuation of our town of Mandeville had been ordered. Finally, after getting back to sleep we got another emergency call, this time from our Parish President Kevin Davis (county executive to all those not from Louisiana) at 2:30 am saying that a mandatory evacuation had been ordered, beginning at 7:00 am. Great emergency system - except for the sleep interruption. Anyway, Donna got up at 3:00 am and I got up at 4:00 am and we were on the road by 5:00, along with 1.8 million people. With all of the mandatory evacuation we decided to cancel our Trinity services to encourage cooperation with Parish officials and to promote safety.

We will be staying with EFCA District Director, Ed Kaylor. We are very appreciative for the hospitality. John Gerhardt's entire church (73 people) from Castlerock/Urban Impact is evacuating today to the Birmingham area as well. The city of Birmingham is expecting 4,000 refugees from the Gulf Coast. Mark Lewis and our disaster relief staff have evacuated to Pensacola, Florida.

At this time, we hope to be back early Wednesday. Donna and I, as well as a few key disaster responders at Trinity, have the Homeland Security clearance required to get back into the Parish anytime as first responders. My heart is to be back as soon as possible in order to be ready to serve.

We just saw the latest Fox/CNN report that Gustav could be bigger than Katrina. We watched reporters showing the 9th Ward, Business District, and referring to Lake Ponchartrain and New Orleans East. We heard Senator McCain commit to making a significant portion of the Republic Convention focused on service and resource raising for New Orleans. We got here, shaking our heads at how much attention our little neck of the woods receives. It is nice to know so many people care.

Right now, the need of the hour is prayer.

1. Pray now for our new Governor, Bobby Jindal and all the emergency personnel - National Guard, Fire, Police, Red Cross, Military, etc. They are heroic folks.

2. Pray for God's Kingdom Soldiers from churches across the country to come in droves to New Orleans and serve with our disaster response ministry. We need cooks, counselors, evangelists, skilled tradesmen, encouragers and lots of plain old servants. Pray for an abundance of financial resources to lead the ministry into the fall. Please pass the word to your friends and church leaders.

3. Pray for the ministry of the gospel. This, I believe - "The hope of this world is a blood-stained cross and an empty tomb." One man's death 2,000 years ago on an old tree, in an obscure part of the world impacts the destiny of every person who has ever lived. Some call this foolishness, but I am confident it is the power of God to salvation to every person who believes in Jesus Christ as Savior. This we believe - this we live - this we share - this is what it is all about.

Betting the Farm on God,


P. S. - You can sign up teams, or get additional information at and (this one may not work for a couple of days).

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