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 beth.shields@gmail.com.

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 Trinitychurchonline.net. 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 MDSprague00@bellsouth.net. My staff’s pictures can be viewed on the web at trinitychurchonline.net. 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