Monday, September 1, 2008

Monday September 1- 7:30 AM

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

As I sit with a few folks watching Gustav make landfall. I must admit that it is a surreal moment. It is hard, if not impossible, to explain the range of emotions we are going through, as you watch the city that you love get hammered by wind and rain. Some of our folks who live on the west bank are very concerned about their homes as this area is in danger from the storm surge. That was not the case with Katrina.

A total of 70 of us have evacuated to Birmingham. We left in 5 waves with the first leaving at 6:30 AM and the last leaving at 11 AM. Before I left in the last wave, I took a drive around the neighborhood with our shuttle bus to see if anyone needed a ride to the city assisted evacuation pick up points. We helped two men. One needed a ride to a friends to ride out the storm. I encouraged him to leave town. Another, named Jerome, stopped by the church and got a bible. He is a mentally disabled man that has been around the church various times. I took him to the evacuation point and asked another gentleman to help him get on the bus. As we drove away, he left. I stopped the bus and asked where he was going. He mumbled something about his mother and walked away. It was clear that he didn’t understand what was going on and that there was no way to persuade him to get out of town. My heart sunk as I watched him walk away.

After parking the bus and praying with the six of us left, I walked through the church one last time and wondered what we would come back to. Emotion welled up as I cried in the kitchen. At times it is hard to contemplate going through all this once again.

The evacuation went fairly smooth. By going in waves we were able to advise the next waves of alternate routes. The advance team ended up getting overtaken by wave A even though they left 3 hours earlier. But their sacrifice was a great gain for the rest of us. The last wave left at 11 AM and got to Birmingham at 10 PM (a normal 6 hour trip)

We are being hosted by Shades Valley Church (EFCA) and Mountain Brook Community Church, the church we are staying at. They have over 100 volunteers, 70 beds for us. God is amazing. He has taken great care of us once again.

We will evaluate the damage over the next few days and make a plan for our reentry. We are also in the process of evaluating each family’s needs so that we can best care for them.

Prayer Requests:

  • Thanks to God for his provision and protect as we evacuated.
  • The city and its protection. Especially for people who stayed behind like Jerome.
  • For our folks as they deal with all the emotion.
  • For wisdom and discernment as we minister to one another and make our plans for re-entry.
  • For policeman Michael Franklin from our church (see yesterday’s blog)

    Sunday August 31 – 6:30 AM
    The Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and they are saved” Once again we are on the evacuation trail. Our advance team just left for Birmingham, AL where we are being cared for by Shades Valley EFC and Mountain Brook Church. We have a total of 73 signed up right now. At a Prayer and Protein Party (we all brought the meat from our freezer so that it wouldn’t wreck our freezers… ohhhh that smell) we gathered to encourage one another and to pray for our city, family and friends. We had the privilege of praying for Michael Franklin, a young man I coached when he was 16, who today joins the New Orleans Police Department (baptism of fire) and for his wife and 2 children.

    Please pray for us. For safety in travel, for wisdom and discernment as I lead people, for sparing of our city, for people to leave and for God to be glorified. You can follow things on my blog at My goal is to update it tonight upon getting settled in.

    Wendy and the kids are doing ok. It is hard to do this a again 3 years later but God is faithful and has already shown Himself worthy of our confidence. - (100 beds are already waiting for us in a church we didn’t know existed before Friday)

    I sign off with this encouragement from God’s word that saw us through Katrina and the rebuilding.

    Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9


teri veith said...

Hi John. We are thankful for the updates on your blog. We have been praying for you. Thanks for keeping us posted on how you are doing. Dan and Teri Veith, Brainerd, MN

eunice said...

Hi Pastor John, I am member of past Canaan Church Teams from California. Please let me know if there is anything we in CA can be doing for you and Castle Rock.

Praying for God's overwhelming peace and protection,
Eunice Kim

TSN Ministries said...

This is our verse that encouraged us to leave our jobs for mission life (Joshua). You have our prayers and committment to come and help ASAP. It will take time to gather funds and a team, but you have our prayers, tears, and love!

Jerry and Tamara
TSN Ministries