Category Archives: Hurricane Isaac

Faith-In-Action in Response to Hurricane Isaac

Hurricane Isaac was a non-news maker for most of the country, but devastated a few of our communities in South Louisiana. Here’s the story of the faith-based communities response in Madisonville, Louisiana.

Video by Matt Marrs, of Harmonic Films.

One Year After Isaac

Isaac was a non-newsmaker for most of the country, but devastating for a few of our communities in the Greater New Orleans area. One being the town of Madisonville where our church is currently located. I’m grateful for a strong recovery for our community, for a tremendous surge of Disaster Relief Volunteers from September-December. Then for the opportunity to bring a few folks back home January through August. A few pics:

Intersection of Hwy. 21 & Hwy. 22 in Madisonville.

Intersection of Hwy. 21 & Hwy. 22 in Madisonville.

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As usual, tree damage was significant on the Northshore.

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Volunteers pray with an elderly homeowner after cleaning up his yard.

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The Jenkins family moved home January of 2013, thanks to the work of volunteers from Hosanna Lutheran, FBC Mandeville, & Bridge Church.

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Laura Mae Chatallier, 97 years young, had repairs completed in March 2013.

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Our last project is getting Ms. Pat Stein back in her home. Should happen any day.

Thanks to the volunteers that gave time, talent, money, materials & more to these projects. And glad the sun is shining outside on August 29th, 2013.

 

Uprooted

A common sight around SE Louisiana in my 11 years here has been the uprooted tree. Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, & Gustav were the worst¬†culprits. A few thoughts that have informed my faith as I’ve experienced trees in a Hurricane Zone:

  • Trees that fall often have shallow root systems. Like the tree in the picture, root systems can be wide, but depth can be noted as shallow on many of the trees that fall. This may be no fault of the tree itself, because its planted in an area where water is near the surface so it doesn’t have to dig much for nutrition. And then the ground it’s rooted in may be muddy and soft instead of solid giving it even less stability.
  • Trees that don’t fall are less likely to fall next time. As a matter of fact, an arborist told me after Katrina that if you could see underground during a storm, that scientists say you could visually see roots going down and trees digging in for all of their lives. So many trees that are leaning are unlikely to fall, because the catastrophic wind pushed them to develop stronger roots.
  • Trees that fall are often standing alone. If you walk into a wooded area after a storm, unless there were tornadoes ripping trees apart, you’re not likely to see many trees blown over. They help each other shield the wind and their roots are intertwined in such a way that they help hold each other up. The most common site is the lone tree in the yard blown over. It simply had no help and had to try to stand on its own.
  • Dead trees seldom fall. One thing a lot of folks were shaking their heads about after Hurricane Katrina, was why the dead trees seemed to be still standing. An arborists gave me a simple answer: there’s no fruit or produce on them to catch resistance. The wind has little to utilize in pushing them over, so they tend to survive catastrophic wind events, but fail because of their own death and decay.

Trees and Faith:

  • When it comes to spiritual growth and surviving the storms of life roots are most important. Deep roots. And what kind of substance that root system is built in. Colossians 2::6-7 says, “as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, ROOTED and built up in Him…” Is your faith shallow, surface level, easy? Are you’re roots in something that’s not substantive? For the real Christian, storms serve a valuable purpose in helping our roots strengthen in Christ.
  • When it comes to spiritual growth and surviving the storms of life having other strong folks with deep roots around you matters as well. How many strong people are you intertwining your roots with? How many people do you have that you can rely upon to help hold you up when things get windy?
  • And what about the person that’s not trying, or is doing things dishonestly, or isn’t walking with the Lord at all? Why do they seem to make out ok against life’s storms? There’s no resistance. If you’re walking with God, bearing spiritual fruit, expect storms and wind and opposition. But also expect the God in whom you are rooted to hold you up in the midst of the storm.

Being Present in Crisis

The most deformative experiences in life often turn out to be the most formative. In times of crisis, we can help people see this as we are present with them.

What can I do? 

  • Be a NAP. Non-Anxious Presence. Be there in some way. Make that call. Send that note. Share that picture. Help move that debris. Listen to that story. Ask, “How can I help?” “What do you need right now?” “How can I pray for you?”
  • Go. If you are able, go. “I’m not sure if I should.” A little saying that I heard years ago that has never let me down: “If you don’t whether to go or stay, Go. If you don’t know whether to go now or later, go now.” I’m always glad when I’ve applied this.
  • Be present. Aloneness and Isolation are among the most painful emotional & spiritual experiences. Yesterday, we made assessments of property damage in one of our hardest hit areas, and we found broken people that feel alone. And when you’re alone, small issues get bigger & bigger & can overwhelm the heart. Do what you can to be present.

Today, we’ll be working on removing trees from homes of some elderly residents, purchasing grocery store gift cards for people who are returning home to spoiled¬†refrigerators, & doing what we can to be present for those hurting in our community.

You can give to the Hurricane Relief Efforts of Bridge Church here.

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