Monday, December 12, 2005

Thanks from the Batiquins

KatrinaGrace recently helped the Batiquins with $250 to help pay for a mobile storage unit for their belongings while they replaced their roof which was destroyed by Katrina.

They sent Grace this note:

We wanted to thak you for your prayers and the check you guys sent to us through Kathy Boren. It really blessed our hearts and our lives that day! We moved back into our home last Friday and today we are busy counting our blessings!

Thanks and blessings back on you! You have served us well!

The Batiquins - Tony, Dawn & kids

image from stock.xchng

Friday, December 09, 2005

Forcey Provides Updated Information on Upcoming Trips

We have officially scheduled 4 trips to Louisiana. If you are interested in participating in any of these trips, please contact me directly.

Trip #1: Led by John Riston is scheduled for January 14-22 – it is completely full.

Trip #2: Led by Gary Williams is scheduled for January 28 – February 4still has room for about 17 more people. Included in this group is a small group of men led by Grove Teates who will be driving down to Louisiana and hauling a number of large pieces of landscaping equipment. This group of men will be staying from January 28 – February 10. If you have a desire to stay that long as well, let us know.

Trip #3: Led by Sam Barrow is scheduled for February 11-19still has room for about 22 more people

Trip #4: Led by John Heater is scheduled for April 8-16 and is geared for teenagers. The plan is to take about 6 adults and 27 teens and drive down in three vans. If we do not get enough teens signed up, then we will open it up to more adults.

All of these trips are open to those outside of Forcey but Forcey-ites get priority placement.


John Heater

(cell) 301-928-8060

Thursday, December 08, 2005

KatrinaGrace Plans thru 2006

As you've probably picked up from media reports, there is still a lot to be done in Louisiana (and Mississippi) to aid the region in its recovery from Katrina. In addition to the remaining need still for massive cleanup and rebuilding all through the region, there is now additional concern for increasing depression and more suicides.

KatrinaGrace is planning to continue to partner with Trinity Church in Covington, LA in reaching out to Katrina Survivors in the area for many months to come.

This past Sunday, the KatrinaGrace Leadership Team met to establish focuses for 2006. Here are some of our plans for the next several months. And some of this will likely change:
  • On Saturday 17 December, Beth Shields and Jen Long, two members of the Leadership Team are flying to Covington, LA to meet with Michael Sprague, Trinity's Senior Pastor, Mark Lewis, who coordinate's Trinity's Katrina Relief Efforts, and Jim Warren, who is taking a leadership role in Trinity's efforts to aid the community in rebuilding. The meeting is to discuss how KatrinaGrace and Trinity might most effectively partner to serve the community in the coming months. Michael has also asked Beth and Jen to speak to the church on Sunday and then they're flying back.

  • Because of your generous giving for Katrina relief, KatrinaGrace will also be providing Trinity with several thousands of dollars worth of Christmas Gift Cards to be distributed to Katrina Survivors. What's really cool is that independently of us, Trinity had already decided to do the same thing themselves. There's enormous need in the area and this will only be a drop in the bucket.

  • In addition to the small planning trip mentioned above, and participating in the Forcey trips mentioned yesterday, KatrinaGrace plans to sponsor at least four trips in 2006 to Covington, LA in Feb, May, August and November to work with Trinity in cleanup, rebuilding, social work, etc. The plan is to use donated frequent flyer miles and rent trucks in the area once we arrive. Beth Shields will be coordinating these trips and establishing team leaders, so if you're interested in participating in any of these, please email her.

  • In October, KatrinaGrace decided to directly support Trinity's Katrina Relief efforts with $1000 monthly payments through March of 2006. This past Sunday, the Leadership Team decided to extend those payments through September of 2006.

  • One of the focuses in 2006 that we are most excited about is the KatrinaZone Family Adoption Initiative, that will be led by Johnny and Jen Long. Michael Sprague of Trinity loved this idea when we recently shared it with him and this is one of the items on the agenda for further planning when Jen and Beth fly down in a couple of weeks.

    The idea is that Grace individuals and families get personally involved with one particular Katrina surviving family in Trinity's community. They can exchange letters, assistance, advice, money, fellowship, friendship, whatever. KatrinaGrace allocated $3000 for this but we are also encouraging folks to establish their own monthly amounts, giving thru Grace (which makes it tax-deductable) and with the entire amount going to the selected family.

  • We haven't gotten as involved with Katrina Survivors who have ended up in the Baltimore-Washington Corridor as much as we originally hoped. It seems that most of them have connected with family and friends and have flown under the radar. Nevertheless, we've earmarked $3000 for supporting these kinds of folks as they hit our radar screen. If you learn of particular cases that could use our assistance, please email Stephen Shields.

  • A KatrinaGrace Community Event. Not sure what this looks like yet but we've a lot of pictures and some video and - more importantly - some good stories. We are seeking the best forum in which to share these with whoever is interested.

    So this site will be the best place to learn about how all this unfolds and to discover where you might fit in!

    Possible Action Steps

    If you have any frequent-flyer miles that you'd like to donate, please email Stephen Shields.

    If you are interested in going on any of the KatrinaGrace trips, pls email Beth Shields.

    If you'd like to go on any of the Forcey Trips, email John Heater.

    If you'd like to adopt a Katrina Survivor Family, email either Johnny Long or Jen Long.

    If you'd like to contribute financially to any of these initiatives, just give a check to Grace Community Church and designate it for "KatrinaGrace."

    More to come.

image from stock.xchng

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Upcoming Trips to the KatrinaZone

Forcey Memorial Church is inviting interested Gracers in participating in one of their several upcoming trips down to work with Trinity Church in Covington, LA. Forcey folks participated in KatrinaGrace's last trip to LA. KatrinaGrace is willing to contribute to Gracers' costs on these trips. Here's their announcement:

Forcey is planning four trips down to Trinity Church in Louisiana. We are opening these trips up to those outside of Forcey but we are giving Forcey-ites priority placement.

Trip #1: January 14 – 22: Team Leader is John Riston – this team will be driving down in two church vans and a pick-up truck. The maximum they can take is 25 and as of this past Sunday, Dec 4, 15 people have signed up to go. Forcey is providing the vans and the fuel costs for this trip. We are looking for laborers, workers for the free store, and cooks/bottle washers.

Trip #2: January 28 – February 4: Team Leader is Gary Williams – some of this team will be driving down and some of this team will be flying down. Grove Teates and crew will be bringing several large pieces of earth moving equipment on this trip. We are looking for laborers, workers for the free store, and cooks/bottle washers.

Trip #3: February 11 – 19: Team Leader is Sam Barrow. Details are still being worked out for this team.

Trip #4: April 8 – 16: Team Leader is John Heater – this trip is geared for teenagers but we will have need of some adults as well – we will be working with Urban Impact in downtown New Orleans. Urban Impact is connected with Trinity.

More details will follow as we get them. Let me know if you are interested in any of the above dates.

If you are interested in participating in any of these trips, send an email to John Heater ccing Stephen Shields.

image from stock.xchng

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Local KatrinaGrace Survivor: Trinell Goodley

You might recall an earlier post regarding Trinell Goodley and her family. She writes to let us know:

...Walter Reed Medical Center formally offered me a position on last week, still under consideration due to the hours 5am-1:30pm. Interviewed today with Anrundal Hospital for a part-time position in the Wound Center.Kids are fine, I'm doing well, due to the concern and kind hearted people like you. Thanks, keep in touch.

Thank you Grace!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

An Around the Room on Christian Charity

With his usual thoroughness, Christianity Today editor Ted Olsen provides us with a helpful journalistic around the room of various views on Christian charitable organizations and their response to Katrina.

photo from stock.xchng

Saturday, October 22, 2005

KatrinaZone Team III Log and Pics

KatrinaZone Team III served in the Zone during the week ending Saturday 15 October in the area around Covington, LA, the location of Trinity Church, our sister church with whom we are partnering in reaching out to those effected by Hurricane Katrina. The team returned with a lot of great stories and pictures.

Ron Warrenfeltz put together a very interesting and detailed log that's great reading and a slideshow of the trip that's now available online. You'll get more out of the pics if you peruse the log first.

KatrinaZone Team III was
  • Tim Hardman (team leader)
  • Shirley Highfill
  • Leslie Mansfield
  • Ron Warrenfeltz
  • Claudia Cortes
  • Jessica Alston
  • Ben Alston
  • David Hull (from Forcey Memorial Church where Michael Sprague served for many years before serving Trinity)
  • Sam Barrow (from Forcey)
  • Chris Hart (from Forcey)

Katrina Jobs

A great site for Katrina Victims looking for new jobs.

image courtesy of stock xchng

Disaster Mental Health Training for the Spiritual Caregiver

The Parish Nurse Health Ministries of Howard County - through a grant by Columbia, MD's Horizon Foundation - presents a free day-long workshop for those involved to those recovering from a natural disaster called

Disaster Mental Health Training for the Spiritual Caregiver

on Saturday 5 November.

This seminar has only 100 seats avail on a first come, first serve basis.

Those who wish to attend should mail their registrations to

Lynee Karanfil
6242 Deep Earth Lane
Columbia, MD 21045

before Sat 29 Oct 2005.

Questions? Contact Kristine Holmes @ 443-803-1560 or by email here.

Find more information here.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Trinity's Michael Sprague Posts Another Update

Always good stuff.

Update from KZ Team III

We spoke to Tim Hardman, team leader for KZ Team III currently on the ground in Covington, LA, last night. The team has been working for the past two days on gutting a house. Tim said he thought their part of it was done last night. They removed all drywall, every appliance, everything but the outer walls. It's a shell now. This was for a man whose son called Trinity EFC to ask for help. When I asked Tim how they were, he replied "Exhausted!" But he said it's a really good team, everybody gets along well, they can give each other a hard time and take it in stride.
The recon team was out for about 5 hours yesterday, so we're hoping they'll return with some critical information on how to use the 18-wheeler that's been donated to us. .
Tim also said they had driven into New Orleans (which was something you couldn't do when KZ Team I was down there) on Monday. He said it was really creepy, because there was about an 8-mile backup leaving, and they were the *only* ones driving into the city! They are witnessing firsthand the devastation.
So that's all the news I have from KZ Team III. They're all returning home tomorrow evening. I expect to speak to Tim again sometime Saturday morning, so I'll let you know any more information. Thanks so much for praying. He said the weather had not been bad at all, and not as hot as it was for Teams I and II.
We'll let you know as soon as we know what the next phase is for Katrina Grace. Thanks again for all the support.

Monday, October 10, 2005

KatrinaZone Team III Has Launched

Part of KatrinaZone Team III - from left to right:
Ron Warrenfeltz, Leslie Mansfield, Tim Hardman, and Shirley Highfill

Our third team left *today*!

Tim Hardman, Leslie Mansfield, Ron Warrenfeltz, and Shirley Highfill left bright and early at 3:30 this morning from Grace's parking lot. Beth saw the team off this AM and took the picture above. This part of the team left from Ronald Reagan and arrived at Jackson, MS, and then drove the rest of the way to Trinity Evangelical Free Church in Covington, LA. They were able to procure two pickups and a cargo van, which was a total answer to prayer.

Also joining our team today from Forcey Memorial Church were Chris Hart, David Hull, and Sam Barrow. These three are long-time friends of Michael Sprague, the senior pastor at Trinity, and each has considerable experience in carpentry and home-building skills.

Tomorrow, Ben & Jessica Alston and Claudia Cortes will join the team, rounding out the final 10.

KZ Team III participated in two orientation meetings today. They are going to LaCombe, LA on Tuesday, and will be doing either tree removal or gutting houses (mold is a serious issue now). Our recon mission for the anticipated 18-wheeler trip will happen on Wednesday. Please pray they'll get enough information to let us know how best to use the donated truck & driver.

Please pray for the team's safety, unity, and effectiveness. The team will be working to fill the work orders Trinity church is receiving from their community.
Finally, we have been getting requests for how to help. This team used up the frequent flyer miles that had been donated. We could certainly use more for future trips. I think the days of kamikaze driving the 18 hours it takes to get to Covington are behind us. So, if you would like to donate frequent flyer miles, please email Beth at

Thanks again for all the support you've been giving this mission. The work is far from over, so we'd like to encourage you to keep it up! We expect to hear from Tim Hardman, the team leader, Wednesday night, and we'll update you then.

New Pastoral Letter from Trinity's Michael Sprague

October 8

Dear Friends,

Let me start with an offer to help you visually see what is going on here. Wayne Rogers, our worship pastor, has produced the first in a coming series of DVD’s to chronicle God’s work here. You can order a copy at The DVD will help you understand things that could never be communicated with words.

Tonight I just finished addressing a large group of our volunteers. We almost hit the 200 level! These are the best people you could ever meet. Let me tell you about a few:

1. One man came to serve even though his stepson died last week in a car accident. His stepson wanted to come with his stepfather to serve in New Orleans. Though grieving, he and his wife decided God had called them here. The stepfather brought his stepson’s boots and laid them before the cross located at the front of the church. It is amazing how this family is sacrificing for us and our community. This man, a career military man, said he stood in shock and awe when he saw New Orleans. It is worse than anything he has ever seen in battle. He is making a difference.

2. Another man stood and shared that he was from Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago. Through his tears he shared that he had learned to trust the Lord daily at the intercity mission for food and life sustenance. He could see that we were doing the same and tears came for the overwhelming need here. Here was a man with so little, giving so much to us.

3. One group from Illinois cancelled their “men’s advance” (retreat) this month and brought their men here to serve us instead. They forfeited money through the cancellation, but felt this was a great opportunity for their men to give of themselves.

4. Church after church verbalized that they were committed to us for the long haul. This is so encouraging, for the needs are so great. My observation is that life is getting harder for people, not easier. Power is coming back on, schools opened Monday and FEMA is clearing the debris, but I am seeing the magnitude of the problems growing wider and deeper by the day. The props that got us through the first month are going away (Red Cross, National Guard, delayed mortgage and credit card payments, etc.). Very soon we will face the realities of life and in many cases it will not be pretty. Job lay-offs are reported every day and this will have a spiral effect. Bills will come due soon and many will collapse under their weight. Many homes have 2-5 families living in them. Imagine the pressures living with several of the families who have lost everything. I predict a tidal wave of human devastation in the next 4-8 weeks as pressures mount. I met with a family yesterday who lost their 14-year old in the hurricane. They had two trees crash through their home, yet three families were now living in it. $60,000 worth of tools were stolen and the man’s employees were gone. The tears that flowed could have formed a puddle by the time we finished praying and helping them out financially. It will take years to put the community back together and see lives rebuilt.

In the middle of all this chaos, people are being helped one-by-one. That is the way of Christ. Hundreds of people have come into the free store. They are helped both spiritually and physically. Some of those helped in the free store now also work in the store and have begun attending church. Some have come to Christ within the last three weeks and have given testimony in our services. At least 52 new families have signed our visitor book at the church over the last few weeks. Opportunities abound to share the message of the love of Christ. Good rumors about the church are circulating everywhere. Wouldn’t it be great if people didn’t think of Christians as angry people carrying placards of protest or as self-righteous finger-pointing people? What if they saw a new humanity that displayed the fruits of the Spirit? What if Christians displayed both truth and grace in a way that reflected the real Jesus who came to seek and to save those who are lost? This is what I long for and am seeing. Please pray for a great revival.

Last Sunday I encouraged Trinity church in three ways: First, prayer…no revival has ever taken place without surrender and dependence upon God. Second, consecration…no revival in scripture or church history has occurred without repentance and coming clean with God. Third is love…we need to practically practice a supernatural kind of love so that there is not a needy person among us. Pray for revival and renewal in our lives.

On a personal note, Donna and I had our roof rebuilt this week. The skylight from where the tree hit the house was huge. One day soon, three rooms in the house will need to be rebuilt, along with new carpet, and a new kitchen countertop. A new fence is being built tomorrow and FEMA just removed the debris from our 10 trees. Pray for Donna. As someone observed, Donna went from the empty nest to no nest in a week’s time. She is back in her nest, but it has been messed with greatly. Donna continues to be a choice servant of Christ. Daily she ministers to others and enables me to focus on ministry. Her love for Christ and for me is outstanding. I am very grateful. We are bringing Jonathan back from Texas for a three-day weekend in two weeks so that he can get a firsthand look at our house and his room!

Well, the clock just struck midnight, so I’d better wrap this up. The Lord is good. I’ve got a great staff and a loving church. My wife is the best, and we cherish our son. I’ve got the best friends in the world who are all over this country. I’ve got a purpose to live for, enough problems to keep me dependent on God, and enough joys to keep me going. As I go to bed tonight, I realize that there is nothing I’d rather do than follow Christ.

Betting the farm on God, Michael

all Michael Sprague Letters

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

KatrinaZone Team III

Announcing the final roster for KatrinaZone Team III and a request for your assistance.

First of all, the request:

Please email Beth Shields if you can do either of the following
  • take 4 people to Dulles Airport on Monday 10 October very, very, very, very early.
  • pick up some folks at Dulles Airport in VA on Sat 15 October around 10:45 PM.
This is a great way to serve the folks in the KatrinaZone if you can't go to LA. If we need to, we'll pay for shuttles, but we'd rather use that money in other ways.

And now about our team:

We now have a full contingent of folks for KatrinaGrace's third Team to visit Trinity Church in Covington, LA. Michael Sprague - Trinity's Pastor - called us today and is so excited because three members of our team who go to Forcey Memorial Church in Silver Spring, MD (where Michael used to pastor) are friends of his. Here's the complete list:
  • Tim Hardman (team leader)
  • Shirley Highfill
  • Leslie Mansfield
  • Ron Warrenfeltz
  • Claudia Cortes
  • Jessica Alston
  • Ben Alston
  • David Hull
  • Sam Barrow
  • Chris Hart
As of today, Trinity is letting us know that our team will likely be tearing out drywall, cutting trees, and cleaning up debris - thought the situation on the ground is highly fluid and could be changing. We are urging Team Members to visit the Evangelical Free's Crisis Response Team Preparation page to orient themselves to the trip (Trinity is an Evangelical Free church).

Please be in prayer for our team members!

Monday, October 03, 2005

New Update from Trinity's Michael Sprague

Trinity's Michael Sprague has posted a new update.

Trinity's also prepared a 10 minute tape of the results of Katrina and of the chances they are having to serve in their community. I've let Michael know that we wish to get a copy to possibly show at Grace.

image from stock.xchng

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Volunteer Slot Avail

If you have 2-3 hours a week that you could give to KatrinaGrace making phone calls following up on details, pls email Beth Shields. This could be a valuable contribution to the effort from folks who can't go to Covington.


New Update from Trinity's Michael Sprague

Trinity's Michael Sprague has posted new pastoral letters to Trinity's site:


What strikes me once again today is what an incredible “God Thing” is happening at Trinity Church . We did not make this up! We are not the one doing the internal “heart transformation” work. He is! We are amazed and thankful.

Here’s a sampling from today:

1 In the hallway today a Trinity family returned to church after being a refugee family for weeks. Trinity is cluttered with people everywhere. The son said, “This isn’t our small cozy church!” The mom said, “No, isn’t it beautiful!!”

2 Seekers are showing up at our free store and are helped. This week some came back. They started offering, “What can I do? I just want to do something to help. I’ll mop floors, anything. I am so grateful to you for your help. Please put me to work.” Another said, “I’m just at home during the day. What can I do to help?” (Her husband is away from home days at a time due to his work.) Yet another said, “We can help while we are here. Put us to work!”

3 Another woman who came back to the free store was also introduced to the “bridge illustration.” She affirmed faith in Christ, wants to be part of the church, have her child dedicated and get married. Pray.

4 In the services this past week a family walked in who had never been in a church before. They asked, “What do we do?” They had no idea. We helped them on their first day with God’s people. Pray.

5 At the service last night the sharing time was electrifying for me. The first man to share stated he was from a different religious background but people from Trinity had helped him, encouraged him, and prayed for him. He was trying to understand what God was all about and doing in his life. Pray as we follow up.

6 Another lady from Ireland was here last week just after her husband died. She and her son had nowhere to go and nowhere to sleep. She saw the sign for Trinity and has now moved in with a family at Trinity. They are amazed by the love of God’s people and they are hearing about our beautiful Savior.

7 Another man last night shared how his home flooded and a Christian got him a 32 foot trailer to live in. He praised God.

8 People are e-mailing us and telling us God is changing their lives by hearing the stories of God. Others come and work and go back and tell the story. Only God could do this.

I could go on and on…….

I would like to ask you to pray for us. Remember in Exodus 17: 8-16 Israel was attacked by the Amalekites. Moses’ strategy was to deploy Joshua to lead the troops and Moses would pray. Moses went up on the hill and prayed. He raised his hands signifying dependence on God. When Moses’ hands were raised, Israel prevailed in battle. When his arms got weary and he put them down, the enemy made gains. All this happened before his eyes. Prayer turned the tide and Israel prevailed in the end.

The point, I think, is that God’s power comes through prayer. Prayer is not the preparation to the battle but it is the battle. The prevailing power of God flows not through our wisdom, strength, or riches but through people who pray (Zech. 4:6). In fact, in Moses’ situation he had two prayer partners to hold his arms up – Aaron and Hur. We need Aarons and Hurs! I would like to read to my staff some e-mails or letters tangibly allowing them to know they are being prayed for! My e-mail is My staff’s pictures can be viewed on the web at Would you do that for us?

Please pray for:

1. A great outpouring of the Spirit of God upon our region. Pray for revival and a new New Orleans .

2. Pray for the gospel to be spread more powerfully than ever and for thousands to walk through the doors of faith.

3. Pray for breakthroughs in marriages, wayward children, and with addictions.

4. Pray for finances and organizational wisdom. Teams are coming and 200 people will be here next week. This will tax us to the limit. Pray for the support systems to deploy these good, zealous, wonderful servants.

5. Pray for Wayne Rogers, my worship pastor, who is producing a video to capture what God is doing and what the opportunity is.

6. Pray for stamina, strength, and wisdom for my staff. They are courageous heroes who God will reward in His due time.

7. Pray for the people of Trinity Church . Every person’s life has been impacted. Things will never be the same. Imagine the hundreds of different responses and emotions that people are wrestling with. Pray for people’s jobs, families, and finances. Pray for kids as school finally starts in our community on Monday.

8. Pray that we honor Christ. This is a time where great honor can go to Jesus or great dishonor. Pray that this will be the church’s finest hour.

Betting the farm on God,


image from stock.xchng

Thursday, September 29, 2005

KatrinaZone Team III is On!

We currently have 6 people flying down to Trinity Church in Covington using donated frequent flyer miles on Monday 10 October and then returning on Thursday 13 October!

We have 4 slots left; if you are interested in going, please email Beth Shields.

UPDATE: We've spoken with someone at Enterprise Corporate and have also gotten up to 5 rental cars (hopefully trucks) to use for our Team.

image courtesy of

Sunday, September 25, 2005

KatrinaZone Team III

We are planning our third trip to the KatrinaZone. If you would be available to leave on Monday 10 October and return on Friday 14 October, please email Beth Shields at

If you would be interested in being a Team Leader for this trip, please let Beth know.

The KatrinaGrace Remote Reconnaissance Project

We're looking for volunteers to make phone calls.

Someone has just donated to KatrinaGrace the use of an 18 Wheeler and a driver to take supplies to the KatrinaZone. In partnership with Trinity Church, KatrinaGrace wishes to identify and contact Katrina Victim Relief Centers (Red Cross or not, official or not) that are within a 45 mile or so radius of Covington, LA, which is where Trinity is located.

We're soliciting volunteers to join The KatrinaGrace Remote Reconnaissance Team that would call Area Churches that fit this geographical criteria. Click here to see that list (many thanks to KatrinaGrace Leadership Team member Johnny Long who let us know about Google's powerful local search capabilities that enabled us to develop this list in seconds). We would be asking these churches

  • Are you aware of any Katrina Relief Centers in your community?
  • Do you have any contact information - names and/or phone numbers - for those Centers or individuals working there?
Then the Team would contact these Centers and ask them what they need for us to bring.

If you would like to volunteer to make these calls, please email Peter Moulton, who is the Project Lead, at

Peter will be

  • assigning different volunteers to contact various cities (we don't want to call the same place 2x) -
  • then compiling the information into one document for the KatrinaGrace Leadership Team. The document should have

    • name of the Relief Center
    • the address
    • City
    • State
    • Individual(s) working there
    • phone number(s)
    • Any organizational affiliation (Red Cross, church, etc)
    • how long they intend to be operating, if they know
We are aiming to send the truck down in mid-October.

We are also exploring the idea of sending folks down to do local on the ground reconnaissance to identify specific individuals or communities that need assistance.


image courtest of

New Update from Trinity's Michael Sprague

Covington, LA's Trinity Church's pastor Michael Sprague has posted a new update.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Helping a Local Katrina Evacuee Family

Hi, everybody.
Just went and delivered the $250 Walmart card to Trinell Goodlee and her two kids, who stayed in a number of shelters In Louisiana for 15 days, before finally coming up to Maryland. They are living in Odenton temporarily.

Trinell told me how horrible the shelters were, how scary and how one had an entire section of a warehouse labeled "lost kids." Apparently, rescue teams took children but not their parents out of the Katrina zone.

Trinell is a licensed nurse -- and quite a comedienne, too -- who worked in hospice care before New Orleans got clobbered. She has applied for a job up here, but everyone's asking for references, none of which exist now, because everyone in New Orleans is gone, and the only possible connection Trinell has is cell phone numbers, many of which don't work. If you know of a good nursing job that's available, please email me, and I'll give you her phone number.
Need still very much exists in all of this recovery effort. Thanks for your continuing support, prayers, and involvement. You guys are awesome.
Beth Shields :o

We are working now on planning future trips to Covington, LA. Stay tuned.

image from stock.xchng

Friday, September 23, 2005

Rita - Katrina Emergency Prayer Meeting TONIGHT

At 2 p.m. ET, Rita was centered about 190 miles (305 kilometers) southeast of Galveston, Texas, and 175 miles (281 kilometers) southeast of Port Arthur. It was moving to the northwest at about 10 mph (16 kph).

The storm's maximum sustained winds weakened slightly to 125 mph (201 kph), making it a Category 3 storm.

"We still think that the storm will make landfall on the upper Texas coast, potentially as far east as southwestern, Louisiana," said Ed Rappaport, deputy director of the National Hurricane Center.

But he said that the storm could still shift south toward the Galveston/Houston area.

Everyone is invited to meet with us at 7 PM TONIGHT in Room 100 at Grace Community Church to pray about the Katrina and Rita situations.

image from noaa

Local Katrina Assistance

Some folks (including Beth) are helping Katrina Survivors this AM in an East Baltimore Center. We'll post their experience here.

We also are providing financial assistance for a family in Anne Arundel County.

If you happen to find a Howard County Katrina Evacuee, you can send them here for assistance.

We've also added this to the Links on the right hand side of this page.

image from freefoto

Thursday, September 22, 2005

New Michael Sprague Update

I finished a meeting on how we would operationally continue our “Free Store.” We were discussing the supply process and as soon as the meeting was over, a woman we helped with food the day before walked in with God’s answer – a Christian group who will drop off supplies daily. Yea, God. (Note: Pray for our “Free Store.” There is a steady flow of traffic all day long. As folks fill up a box, they tell their story. After three minutes they start to cry. Life is so overwhelming. Yesterday, I helped a woman who lost her home totally and her business. Her 3 and 5 year old grandchildren are missing. She was at Trinity Sunday and has moved in with one of our families. She is making Trinity her home church. Pray for Michelle but realize there are thousands of Michelles.

from Trinity's Michael Sprague new pastoral letter that was posted today

The "free store" that Michael mentions is the warehouse that KatrinaZone Teams I and II have been bringing supplies to and then taking material from to deliver to various locations around the area. Nichole Tiede just shared with us that the material Grace donated last week increased the warehouses supplies by about 300%!

We hope to post pictures soon from the trip and more information about what Team II experienced in Covington.

image from freefoto

Rita and Covington, LA

Hi, everybody.

Right now, Hurricane Rita is scheduled to pummel the Gulf Coast sometime early in the a.m. on Saturday. I'm sure many of you have heard, the storm is moving toward our friends in Louisiana, and the possibility of them getting hit *twice* in one month is overwhelming to them. I've just spoken with a friend down there, Kathy Boren, and she said the sense of de ja vu is eery. They're not so much worried about trees -- they're all gone -- but losing electricity, water pressure, toilets, etc., is very real and scary for them, especially since they're just getting back on their feet. If Lake Ponchatrain gets as little as three inches of water, New Orleans and Slidell (on the opposite side of the lake) will flood again. Imagine how devastating this would be.
Please -- PLEASE -- pray for God to stop this hurricane or at least bring its power down to the level of a storm instead of a hurricane. God is the only one who can do this, and we need to ask Him to! God has done so many amazing things through this, let's just ask Him to do one more amazing thing.
Thanks to everybody for pitching in. This has been a heartening project to be a part of.

Beth Shields

Rita and Covington, LA News

We've added some newspaper websites with news from some of the cities in the general Covington, LA and North Shore area under Katrina News on the right-hand column of this site. We've also a new section for Hurricane Rita news.

We've also divided up the section into geographical subsections:

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Rita is now Category 5

Hurricane Rita is the seventeenth named storm, ninth hurricane, fifth major hurricane, and second category five hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. The storm has already impacted Florida and Cuba, and currently threatens Texas and Louisiana. The system reached category five strength on the afternoon of September 21, 2005, the second such storm of the season to do so (the other being Hurricane Katrina) and is expected to make landfall sometime on September 24, between Galveston and Corpus Christi in Texas.

full Wikipedia article

Please keep praying.

image from Wikipedia

Pray for Folks' Protection from Hurricane Rita

Updated: 10:01 a.m. ET Sept. 21, 2005

KEY WEST, Fla. - Rita intensified into a Category 4 hurricane Wednesday with wind of 135 mph, deepening concerns that the storm could devastate coastal Texas and already-battered Louisiana by week’s end.

- full MSNBC story

Please pray for protection for folks in the Gulf Coast from Hurricane Rita.

- Wikipedia Link
- Rita Storm Tracker (NOAA)

image from Wikipedia

Trinity's Michael Sprague's Updates

I found this page on the Trinity site where Trinity's Pastor is placing his updates. And here the updates are dated.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Immediate Need for Katrina Relief Volunteers in Baltimore

KatrinaGrace has just been advised that an East Baltimore Katrina Relief Disaster Center needs folks on Thursday and Friday Morning to help feed Katrina Survivors. If you are itnerested in volunteering for this, please email me and I'll email you back the cell phone of the individual running the program so that you can find out more information.

image from freefoto



- a coalition of Columbia, MD Area churches - announces that on Tuesdays through October the 11th, "there will be a special time of Katrina-related prayer ... from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Family Room of Bridgeway Community Church. At the intersection of Little Patuxent Parkway and Harpers Farm Road, turn away from Howard Community College onto Harpers Farm Road and take the first right. Enter 10910 Little Patuxent, cross the lobby, and go left down a half-flight of stairs."

There will also be prayer on Tuesday Evenings at Grace Community Church in room 305 from 7 to 8 PM every Tuesday from 27 Sept to 11 Oct. Click here for directions.

Kids are welcome!

KatrinaGrace encourages participation in these events to support this Kingdom work. We need prayer support!

image from freefoto

Monday, September 19, 2005

New Update from Michael Sprague

Dear Friends,

Donna and I just returned from the town next to ours called Slidell. Maybe you have heard it mentioned on the news. We have numbers of people attend Trinity from Slidell. By phone I have interacted with a few who had their homes destroyed. The reports I was receiving were dire. However, it is one thing to hear about the devastation and another thing to see it.

We observed community after community of total loss. Imaging home after home with everything in the home piled into the front yard 8 feet high – beds, baby dolls, chairs, boats and clothes – EVERYTHING in a junk heap. Imagine this continuing mile after mile after mile. Imagine communities with signs at the entrance that read, “Come in and die!”

Donna and I both were left with headaches and feeling sick to our stomachs, totally drained. Think of what these folks are feeling. I saw New Orleans early on with miles and miles of homes underwater and that impacted me. The impact of today’s visual was far worse. I shudder to think what New Orleans will be like when hundreds of thousands of people return and will have to likewise, pitch everything they own, creating mountains of loss and misery. I know our lives do not consist of the things we possess but people are hurting. Please pray.

Now for the good news. Trinity has become a major mobilization center. Teams of workers have come in from about 15 states over the last two weeks and have been deployed to do the “Father’s” work. It is amazing the vibrancy and zeal of these servants. They have come from Evangelical Free churches and a few others. Teams are deployed to deliver food, work with our free store, cut trees, mop black mold out of homes, deliver medical supplies, and consult with hospitals, shelters, local pastors, mayors and community leaders. In the process of letting their light shine, people see the good works and glorify the Father in heaven. In the context of servanthood and love everyone asks, “Who are you?.... Why are you doing this?” The answer is the “Love of the Lord.”

A couple of stories may help you to see. For months, one man has been prayed for and has always resisted the Lord because of his involvement with the occult. He talks to ghosts. This man had a tremendous need at his home since 150 trees had fallen on his property. Our teams cut them up and helped him clean up. For the first time he allowed people to pray over him and was so emotionally moved he couldn’t talk the whole afternoon. A door is open and it was a privilege to serve him.

Another 78 year old man had to be rescued off of his rooftop from the flood waters. After a few days he returned to his home distraught and hardened. Our team helped him, showed love and he bowed his head and trusted Christ as his savior. Yea God!

The church is being the church. Opportunities are endless. One by one people are being met and helped in the name of the Lord. God is bringing beauty out of ashes. Praise His name.

Betting the farm on God,


p.s. Pray for our 10:00 am Sunday service and 11:30 a.m. lunch together as a church family. Some of our people are just returning to town and everyone needs the healing touch of the Lord. Pray for many displaced people and neighborhood people who will join us for the first time.

Click here for all of Michael's Katrina Updates.

link to Slidell Sentry-News

New News Links

I've added a number of news links under "Katrina News" from the affected areas on the right hand column of this page:

  • Mississippi Coast Area News
  • Biloxi Sun Herald's Katrina Page
  • New Orleans Times-Picayune
  • Baton Rouge 2TheAdvocate
  • Hattiesburg American (MS)
  • Picayune Item (MS)
  • Jackson Clarion-Ledger (MS)
  • The Montgomery Advertiser Katrina Page (AL)
  • Pensacola News Journal (FL)

  • image from freefoto

    Sunday, September 18, 2005

    Metapost: Michael Sprague Updates

    We thought it might be helpful to accumulate Trinity Church's Michael Sprague's published updates on the situation in Covington. Many of you know that our initial connection with Michael was that he was a pastor in our area for many years before moving to pastor a church near New Orleans, LA. All of these updates were originally made in the comments of the one post on Trinity Church's News Blog which was set up as a means for Trinity Church community members to communicate with each other. The Updates are not dated.

    Reading these updates gives you a chance to hear snippets of some of the amazing events taking place in that area. We'll keep adding Sprague Updates to this metapost and we'll keep this post listed on the right hand of this page under "Important Posts."

    More Pictures of Damage from Covington, LA

    More pictures of the damage around Trinity Church, in Covington, LA with which Grace Community Church in Columbia, MD is partnering in the KatrinaGrace Project.

    Covington, LA was also the destination of KatrinaZone Teams I and II.

    Saturday, September 17, 2005

    Now Over 4000 Katrina Survivors in Our Area

    The number of Hurricane Katrina survivors in the Washington region has tripled since Friday, swelling to more than 4,000 through a steady flow of displaced people, according to Red Cross and local officials.

    The Washington Post runs an article on Katrina Evacuees in the Washington-Baltimore Corridor (free registration required).

    However, the DC Govt has announced that they are no longer accepting volunteers (they received over 10,000 requests to volunteer) at the Armory and they have all the donations they need!

    So our focus continues to be on our friends down South though we are always open to better ways to connect with local evacuees.

    photo by mamanance

    Update from Trinity's Pastor Michael Sprague

    "I got a note from a friend yesterday who was hit hard from the hurricane. His wife was living in a different city and he was here on the Northshore digging out. His words were written this way, “No Electricity but we have power! (in the Holy Spirit).” I trust you can say “Amen” from whatever the part of the country you reside, because the people of Trinity Church are experiencing this.

    It’s amazing how doors of opportunity are flying open as we serve people.

    1. One woman I talked to had lost three children in the last few years and now lost her home. We helped her with supplies and as I prayed that God would put her tears in a bottle as the scripture states, she wondered if God’s bottle was big enough. She needed a church home and said she would come Sunday. Another man had his wife leave him this week and he is homeless. Another woman lost everything.
    2. Our “Free Store” has a constant flow of visitors. Each has a story of brokenness, hurt and perplexity. Every encounter is a chance to share Christ, food, prayer, and love. What a ministry!
    3. Last night, we served a free dinner and had a powerful sharing service. The testimonies of God’s faithfulness in the midst of pain were Job-like. God’s interventions are marvelous. Work team members have been transformed. People from the neighborhood stood and expressed astonishment that total strangers would clear their lots for free. The Holy Spirit was moving powerfully. Several people confessed that they may have caused the hurricane. They had been praying for the last year that revival would come to Trinity Church and New Orleans….they prayed “God, whatever it takes”….after observing the last week they were convinced the revival had begun.
    4. Imagine another set of work teams going into Slidell with buckets, mops and bleach willing to scrub out black mold that is everywhere. All kinds of people are asking “Who are you? Why are you doing this?” Of course the answer is Jesus Christ has changed their lives.
    5. It’s hard to describe the joy and exuberance of Trinity folks and team members from 13 states knit together in a purpose far bigger than we can describe. Though we are weary in body, we are not weary in zeal and devotion. There is nothing more important to invest our lives in. The cause of Christ is worth it.

    In closing, a thought about those who are saying this is God’s judgment of New Orleans. Someone told me this a few days ago and I’m sure many are thinking this. Far be it from me to fully know the mind of God. He is both righteous and loving. Yet in Luke 13:1—5, I find a similar train of thinking 2000 years ago. It seems Pilate killed a bunch of Galileans and 18 people were killed when the tower of Siloam fell. As usual, religious folks assumed that this calamity was God’s judgment upon the unrighteous. Jesus seems to think they had missed the point. Anyone can be killed. The worst thing in the world is not dying; it’s dying without Christ, our Savior. Jesus is saying during devastating times, “do not point the finger of condemnation at others but check your own heart.” Do you have peace with God? He, of course, is the source of that peace.

    My observation is that when people throw rocks at so called sinners, those people get driven farther away. When people get loved and shown grace they are drawn to the One who saves from sin. I believe the people of New Orleans and the Northshore matter to God. I hope you do too!

    Betting the farm on God,


    photo from

    Please Talk to God About...

    • Trinity Church in Covington, LA.
    • Good information about the upcoming KZ Team IV visit with an 18 Wheeler. We want to be efficient and wise about its use.
    • Wisdom for the KatrinaGrace Leadership Team as they plan next steps.
    This post will be continually updated and always linked to on the right hand side of this page under ""Important Posts"

    image from freefoto

    Grace in the Storm

    Beth Shields posts her thoughts about KatrinaZone Team I's trip to Covington, LA.

    Friday, September 16, 2005

    Grace Doctor Travels to KatrinaZone

    Doug Mayo, MD - a Grace regular attender - called tonight to let us know that tomorrow morning he's flying out as a part of a State of Maryland medical mission to work with Katrina victims in the Jefferson Parish. He's joined by 6 other doctors in their efforts.

    Please remember to pray for Doug and his team.

    The State of Maryland's Website that summarizes Maryland efforts on behalf of Katrina comments:

    The Ehrlich Administration has deployed roughly 250 medical professionals to Jefferson Parish, one of the hardest hit regions in Louisiana, to staff a school-based medical center to help victims in need.

    photo from e3ashig

    National Day of Prayer and Remembrance

    President Bush has declared today a day of National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the victims of Katrina.