Wednesday, April 5, 2006
Completing the Circle
Many of you know that in August I was blessed to be in just the right position to help start, from the ground up, a non-profit ministry serving the families staying at Reunion Arena who had been forced to leave their homes in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. We thought we understood how amazing an experience that was at the time.
Only a few days after the Reunion shelter closed its doors I received a call from my dad to go to New Orleans and work as an insurance adjuster. I know that many people think that the term "insurance" is inherently vile in those parts...and maybe now it is. However, because I had the benefit of working for an independent firm which paid me depending on what the insureds received, I was actually encouraged to find every single penny I could. When people learned that we were on the same side, walls and defenses came crashing down. This time was indescribable. I was able to minister in ways I'd never before experienced. The homeowners would often ask just the right questions which revealed that I was a "minister in disguise" (obviously proselytizing was discouraged by the adjusting firm who hired me!) and we would end up praying in their front yard...I saw unbelievable faith in the faces of these people who had nothing else left. We thought we understood how amazing an experience that was at the time.
And now I'm returning. I've accepted a job with the Tammany Oaks Church of Christ in Mandeville, LA - just north of New Orleans. God has used this small congregation to create a life-giving disaster relief ministry. (I recommend checking out the disaster relief blog, here and there is one article in particular that really gives a great synopsis, found here.
I've been asked by this congregation to work with the pastoral and relational aspects of the relief efforts as the Outreach Minister. Looking back over the last 8 months, I believe that God has not only been using me for his kingdom, he has been preparing me for this role...I'm not sure that I would have been ready to accept this position otherwise.
To those who have been praying for us during this wilderness experience, we thank you. We have truly discovered the blessing of community and hopefully will never again take this gift for granted. And to my friends in ministry, I think I know about some potential mission trip/service weekend experiences!
I look forward to seeing many of you as you make mission/service trips to southern Louisiana. Please keep praying for our family as we have no idea what this position will lead to for the long term.