Monday, September 12, 2005

Michael Sprague Update #3

What I learned today

What I have learned today is ask and it shall be given to you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give hi a stone, or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:7-11

Today I spent my life at two ground zeros. Half my day was spent at ground zero in New Orleans with nineteen helicopters hovering above my head, scores of mobilized military units patrolling, 60% of the city under water. Dear people who rode out the storm asking for nothing but ice, treasured well know sections of the city have become ghost towns, there are flipped cars, and building that have been turned to rubbish. A hellish scene to be sure. My heart breaks for the residents of New Orleans yet there is a remarkable determination by everyone to rebuild.

My personal ground zero centered around the command center of trying to pastor a local church in a devastated community on the Northshore of New Orleans. the needs are overwhelming and resources so seemingly inadequate. The situation is so impossible that we who are used to trusting in our own strength, wit and resourcefulness were forced to trust God totally. What a noel idea to depend on the God who provides manna from heaven and the God who raises the dead.

Here is what I learned today

1. We decided we needed 5000 to 10,000 square feet of warehouse space to accommodate truckloads of disaster supplies over the next six months. What does a pastor know about warehouse space? In fact, someone said, “You’ll never find it around here.” We decided to ask the Father specifically. By the end of the day we had secured the space.

2. We needed a semi truck trailer on sight immediately. What do I know about semi’s? I told my associate to get us one. He looked at me like I was crazy. I said, “Go into town and find someone with a semi and tell him God needs a truck.” He found someone and asked and he said, “Well Okay, take it and by the way, do you have a cab and truck driver to get it to the church property?” His answer was, of course “NO” but the man standing next to him had a cab and time to do it. WOW – what a novel idea to ask the Father.

3. We started to make this a habit during the day. It seemed like the Father wanted us in New Orleans. We went to military check point after military checkpoint without official credentials and only a credit card of a food relief worker. At six checkpoints, hardnosed military gatekeepers with machine guns mysteriously waved us through so we could assess needs and talk to the remnant who rode out Katrina. It was the Father again.

4. I had no firm place for my family and three sets of missionary guests to spend the night and plan for food for dinner. I told my wife to take care of it. How? Ask the Holy Spirit to supernaturally provide- Oh? Oh, Okay. Within a few hours the call came that freed a house for one more night. What about dinner? Donna literally bumped into a woman who had just brought food to feed 12 emergency workers who were sleeping on her floor. Yet she was disappointed because they were called out on a security detail in Slidell from 6 pm to 6 am. What would she do with the food? Donna said to her friend, “Michael said the Holy Spirit would provide us dinner for tonight so I guess all that food was designed for us.” Our wonderful friend smiled and provided us the manna God sent from heaven.

5. I needed a generator so I was now getting into this “asking the Father” approach rather than the figure it out myself approach. Within hours I had one generator at my house and another at my office with an A/C window unit thrown in. WOW! But what does a mechanically challenged klutz like me know about installing generators? Call came in, “Michael my husband can stop by and get it set up. Wow again!

6. We needed someone to clear the big pines that had fallen all over the church property covering sections of the parking lot so truck loads of supplies could come through. When I returned 12 S.W.A.T. team members from Indiana had totally cleared the lot, stacked the wood and debris. They thought their mission was to provide security in Gulfport, but FEMA kicked them out. Them someone else didn’t want them. I guess the Father wanted them at our place. We bunked them all in a house where the sign entering the neighborhood read “Looters will be shot.” If looters tried to get into that house last night, WATCH OUT! You should have seen their arsenal of weaponry.

7. I still pondered throughout the day, “how will Trinity Church survive financially?” No offerings, people scattered, many jobs gone, some already not planning on returning, new building under construction, etc, etc. Right at midnight I opened an email. I read it and cried. A young girl in Maryland overheard her mom and dad discussing our plight. She went to her room and brought back her entire piggy bank and said we could have all her money and if they could remove her loose tooth there would be enough money to buy one Barbie doll for a little refugee girl. Again the Father showed He would provide.

I could go on with more stories but you get the point, I trust. This pastor is learning a new approach to living. I’ve gone each day at my ground zero without touching any money, seeing one newspaper and seeing very little news. Yet I have had all I’ve needed and every meal has been provided by the Father. Yeah God! At 10 something at night someone came and asked me for 2 workers to do some tree work in Mississippi tomorrow. My first thought was, “what do I know about tree workers in Mississippi?” Yet what I said was, “I think we should ask the Father for 2 laborers to supernaturally show up tomorrow.”

Whatever your need is today, you might try asking the Father. What a novel idea!


P.S. This really did happen in one day.

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