Friday, September 26, 2008

The Refugee Has Returned

I returned home last night after being away for two weeks as a hurricane refugee.

While waiting for the power to be restored in our neighborhood in Houston my wife and I spent a week in Northeast Texas camping out with my parents. We then spent a week in Baton Rouge and New Orleans visiting churches and seeing about their recovery from Hurricane Gustav. Those areas have been hit hard, again. After hearing from our neighbors that the power was restored on our block we gladly returned home last night and it felt great to climb back into our own bed.

Today I will begin the process of cleaning up and catching up. Our yard is a mess but we are so fortunate and grateful that we only had minor roof and tree damage. Others are not so fortunate. However, life will now begin to return to normal, whatever that is. For some, it will take much longer than others.

As I have visited churches in Louisiana this week and have talked with many church leaders in East and South Texas, there is no doubt that few people in the region have been left unaffected by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. Ministry opportunities have been huge for churches to reach out to provide help and hope in their communities. And it has been a blessing for me to personally see and hear stories of believers being the hands and feet of Jesus to their neighbors. As I now begin to visit churches along the coastal region of Texas, I am sure I will learn more.

I can’t begin to convey all of my personal experience from the last two weeks as I have seen battered homes, churches, schools and businesses and have talked to hurting people as well as those providing Disaster Relief. However, I will leave you with this video link sent to me by Dr. Mark Redd who is the pastor of the Bayshore Baptist Church in La Porte, Texas. He produced this video as a source of encouragement and hope for his congregation. Click here to watch it now and I trust you will share it with others.

Until next time…share the journey and enjoy the ride!

Pat