Tuesday, December 19, 2006

KatrinaGrace Team X (aka Habitat II)

KatrinaGrace Team X (aka Habitat II) left for New Orleans on Sunday 3 December 2006 and returned to us on Saturday 9 December. Blair and Ann Nordvedt write:

"Here are a few pictures of our trip to Louisiana. We had a truly great week. It was unusually cold for Louisiana, in the 30's at night and some days only in the 50's top. We did not take enough warm clothing for the mornings. We stayed in Covington, LA at Trinity Church, sleeping on the floor and they fed us. We drove about 30 minutes to Slidell and worked with Habitat each day. The stores and roads and infrastructure are basically fine after one year from Katrina but there are thousands and thousands of homes that are untouched. FEMA trailers are everywhere in front yards until the homes can be rebuilt. We learned much about the storm and what God is doing. Clearly the storm and faith based relief has had a great impact on many many hearts. We mostly worked on a house for a lady named Ruby and her family. We hope her home will be ready for her by Christmas. Two of the other homes that Ann helped finish will be dedicated and turned over to the homeowners next week. Habitat has a commitment to build 100 homes in Slidell in one year starting last July. Slidell took the eye of the storm and was mostly under water afterwards" (links added)

KatrinaGraceTeam X was

  • Bill Morgan
  • Yvonne Smart
  • Brad Wine
  • David Mazzuca
  • Blair Nordvedt
  • Ann Nordvedt
  • Glenn Cook (Team Leader)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Final Report from KatrinaGrace Team VIII

from Liz Beachum:

Wow! What an amazing week we've had! I can't believe we are home again! It has been a great experience working with the local Habitat for Humanity in East St Tammany Parish and also with Trinity Church in Covington who gave us a home away from home. Everyone was friendly and hospitable, and we've met some new friends.

We spent our last 2 work days installing laminate flooring at the house in Lacombe. They told us ahead of time that if we did not know a skill when we arrived, we would definitely go home having learned a new skill. Many of us learned to install laminate flooring for the first time. A few of the men went to another site in Lacombe to do some foundation work and also in Pearl River to hang insulation.

Someone asked me who qualifies for a Habititat home. Basically, they complete an application and attend an orientation meeting that is held twice a year. They must have a steady income. Since Habitat does "not give a hand out but a hand up", the prospective homeowner is required to complete 200 hours of "sweat equity". Sweat equity can be earned by working on a job site and/or working in a Habitat kitchen to provide meals for the volunteers. After they complete the first 50 hours, the process for building a house begins. Then after they've completed 100-150 hours, they can move in when the house is completed. They are also given a 20-year interest free loan.

Early Thursday evening we drove down to the Lower 9th Ward to see some of the devastation from Katrina. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. What once used to be vibrant neighborhoods, with kids playing outside and riding bikes up and down the streets, have been abandoned to a great extent (understatement).

We saw many houses and businesses that were uninhabitable. Some houses had been swept off their foundations and were no where in sight. Some of the empty parking lots have been converted into FEMA trailer parks. We met a man named Keith who was living in a FEMA trailer parked next to his house. He was so happy to see us and he gladly shared his story with us. Most of his neighbors live elsewhere, and sadly some have drowned. He said the flood waters rose
2-stories high. He lived in a 1-story house. Thankfully, he was able to stay with his brother down the street who lived in a 3-story house. At the end of our visit with him, we joined hands in a circle and prayed with him. He prayed too and, wow, can he pray! As we listened to his story, we were hoping to be an encouragement to him. Ironically, he was an inspiration and an encouragement to us. ln spite of his great loss, he had great faith, a positive attitude and a hopeful outlook on the future. As we drove out of the city to go back "home", the van was very quiet. No one was talking. Everyone was reflecting on what they had seen and heard. The need is truly great here.

We had a great team of 14 volunteers that came with us. Most attend Grace Community Church but we were delighted that some folks from 3 other churches came with us, including members from Calvary Community, Living Hope Presbyterian, and Cedar Ridge Community Church. Everyone came ready to work, willing to be flexible, and eager to make a difference. We are the 8th team from Grace that went down to the Gulf Coast region to help with the Katrina recovery. More teams are preparing to go down in the months to come. The KatrinaGrace web site is an excellent resource for all the great work that is being done by Grace Community.

Thank you all for your prayers this week. Everyone stayed healthy and safe this week. Please continue to pray for us as we return to our own reality.



I will be uploading more pics in the days and weeks to come here.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Team VIII: Report from Day 2

Team VIII gets the Award for Best Communication with the Mothership!

This from Liz Beachum after Day 2 working with Habitat for Humanity in Louisiana:

Hi, everyone!

We had another great day in N.O. on Tuesday. We went back to the house in Lacombe to do some more inside painting. We should finish the painting tomorrow and still have time to hang the inside doors and trim before we finish for the day.

Lunch at the sites are provided by the eventual homeowners of the houses. This is one of the ways they can earn their 200 hours of "sweat equity" toward home ownership.

Trinity Church, where we are staying, cooks breakfast and dinner for us each day. The cooks are volunteers too and they are good cooks! There are several teams from around the U.S. that are staying here. But we are the only group staying here this week that is working with Habitat. The others are going into the city to do gutting and cleaning.

When we signed up for this, we were told how important it was to be flexible...which it is because things can change. But what is amazing to me is how 14 strangers can have so much FUN working together.

I uploaded some more pictures.

That's it for now...


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

On-Site Report from Katrina Team VIII

Liz Beachum writes:

"Hi, everyone!

We all arrived in New Orleans safely and ahead of time (yea! Southwest) on Sunday. There are 14 of us. Click here to see a picture of our team. This picture was taken down at the French Quarter on Sunday. That's the Mississippi River behind us. I'll upload more photos as I have time.

The weather is beautiful here, 80s during the day and 60s at night. On Monday we went to Slidell to help frame a house. We actually put hurricane staps on the outside frame and also inside where the roof is going to put on. This is part of a new building code for N.O. After lunch, we went to Lancomb to paint the inside walls with primer.

We are having a blast! We are having alot of fun getting to know each other as most people don't know each other. Everyone on the team is working together very well and everyone is constantly looking to stay busy at the job site. We leave at 6am in the mornings to be at the HFH headqtrs by 6:50 in Slidell. Then we head off for the job site. There are several groups from around the US that are working with the local HFH chapter here and there are several houses that are currently being built. Thankfully all 14 in our group are able to work on
the same house. More later..."

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Please pray for KatrinaGrace Team VIII

Our 8th Team took off this morning to Louisiana to work with Katrina relief. This team will be staying at Trinity Church in Covington, LA but will be building houses in Slidell, LA with the East St Tammany Habitat for Humanity! They'll be returning next Saturday. The Team is

  • Roger Beachum - Team Leader
  • Liz Beachum
  • Matthew Guy
  • Len Thompson (his 2nd trip)
  • Jeanne Springer
  • Stacey Spione
  • Tony Kim
  • Peter Lee
  • Dana Honda
  • John Albert
  • Kerry Rye
  • Steven Lilly
  • Russ Dickens
  • David Kapuscinski
Please pray for them this week!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

2 Books on Katrina

I'm mostly done withTulane professor Douglas Brinkley's massive treatment of Katrina - The Great Deluge. His menu of stories is well-worth reading, if a bit all over the place.

Tim Challies also brings our attention to a new Marvin Olasky work called The Politics of Disaster and provides a fine summary.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

"faith in action" - one year later

Nice article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about what faith-based orgs have done and are still doing in areas ravaged by Katrina and Rita.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Building 100 Homes in Slidell, LA

The East St Tammany Habitat for Humanity has decided to build 100 homes in 2007 in Slidell, LA, a town on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain that was devastated by flooding after Hurricane Katrina.

KatrinaGrace plans to help by sending down 6 or 7 teams of 20 folks between now and the end of 2007. We are partnering with Trinity Church in Covington, LA in this effort and this is where our folks will be staying when they're in the New Orleans area.

If you are interested in working on one of these teams, please email Beth Shields or Sandra Clabough.

Pictures of Trinity and Compassion Staff in Covington, LA

can be found here!

We've also linked to these under "Links and Information" in the right-hand column of this site for your future reference.

Most of our times have stayed at Trinity Church and worked thru Compassion Ministries as we've worked in the New Orleans Area.

Biloxi 1 Team from November 2005

  • Adam Fry
  • Craig Wampler
  • Sarah Wampler
  • Gadget Ambuel
  • Chad Manifold
  • Jeromy Smith
  • Kim Smith
  • Karen Royer
  • Nicole Ambuel
  • Steve Royer

Bilox 2 Team - April 2006

Gadget Ambuel
Larry Ambuel
Margaret Ambuel
Nicole Ambuel
Chad Manifold
Matthis Wecker
Brett Wiuff
Karen Royer
Steve Royer

Monday, August 21, 2006

katrina by the numbers, part 2: 1 year later

USA TODAY poll in today's paper:

  • 16% - those who say that their lives are back to normal one year later
  • 56% - those with kids under 18 who say that their kids have been negatively affected by the storm
  • 25% - those who have not moved back
  • 20% - number of those who have moved back but believe they may need to move out again
  • 14% - those currently unemployed

  • "those who say they are experiencing a great deal or quite a bit of"

    • anxiety - 27%
    • trouble sleeping - 26%
    • depression - 23%
    • "difficulties in marriage or other family relationships" - 18%

  • Top 5 Most Difficult Things to Deal with Since Katrina:

    1. damaged property
    2. financial problems
    3. mental or emotional sate
    4. "getting our lives back on track"
    5. "no longer having a job"

  • Top 5 Types of Help Most Desired to Recover from Katrina

    1. $
    2. help with damage or contractors
    3. more FEMA help
    4. "a place to stay"
    5. a job
Recent stats from Compassion Ministries which works thru Trinity Church in Covington, LA. This is where we've sent most of our Work Teams:
  • # of volunteers: 5,458
  • volunteer work hours: 206,350

- USA TODAY related story.

- katrina by the numbers, part 1: the impact of the storm

Friday, August 18, 2006

New KatrinaGrace Resource

The Evangelical Free Church of America Katrina Project has launched a new website in support of their Katrina relief efforts in the New Orleans area. Most of our Teams have been working with this project and Trinity Church, which is an Evangelical Free church.

It features:
  • the Latest Stats of the effort (now current thru 7/21/06):
Work Hours: 206,350

Volunteers: 5,458

Sunday, August 13, 2006

"Churches battling post-Katrina depression"

"But only 22 of the 196 psychiatrists who practiced in New Orleans have returned, according to a report published this month in the
Journal of the American Medical Association.

A state-run psychiatric hospital re-opened last week with 10 adult beds, a fraction of what was available before the storm.

As the city waits for its share of $80 million in federal relief funds allocated for rebuilding the state's mental health care infrastructure, local pastors are being called upon to fill the void."

- link

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Katrina By The Numbers

While we were in Covington, LA in June, I picked up Tulane University's Professor of History Douglas Brinkley's The Great Deluge where he chronicles events surrounding Hurricane Katrina from Saturday 27 August (Katrina hit LA and MS on the Monday 29 August) to Saturday 3 September 2005. As I've been reading, I've been jotting down some of the numbers (some of these numbers are from other sources as noted, primarily the wikipeida article on Katrina):
  • 90,000 - the number of square miles declared a federal disaster - this is almost the size of Great Britain
  • 1836 - estimated deaths
  • 705 - number of still people missing as of 19 May, 2006
  • 460,000 - the population of New Orleans before the storm
  • 230,000 - estimated population of New Orleans in June 2006 [from Reuters via Wikipedia]
  • 125 miles per hour - top sustained winds when Katrina hit the Louisiana coast
  • 150 miles - the number of miles inland Katrina traveled before she lost hurricane strength
  • 80% - percentage of New Orleans that was flooded (Daily Kos)
  • 23,000 - estimated number of people who took refuge in the Superdome (ABC News)
  • 34 - height in feet of the storm surge in Western MS (ABC News)
  • 10 - number of miles inland reached by the storm surge (ABC News)
  • 2,430 - number of children separated from their parents
  • 112,000 - the number of New Orleans residents who didn't own cars
  • 1,500,000 - the number of folks who requested FEMA assistance after the storm
  • 27.9% - percentage of New Orleans' population below the poverty line before the storm
  • 11.7% - percentage of New Orleans' population 65 or older before the storm
  • 181 square miles - size of New Orleans
  • 50,000,000 cubic yards - estimated amount of Gulf Coast debris (equivalent to 400 football fields stacked 50 feet high)
  • 350,000 - number of automobiles destroyed in New Orleans by Katrina
  • 35,000 - number of boats destroyed in New Orleans by Katrina
  • 230,000 - number of Katrina evacuees who went to Texas
  • over $150 billion - possible total economic impact
  • 500,000 - number of people govt officials estimate "may need mental-health assistance to deal with higher rates of anxiety, depression and hostility" (Charity Navigator)
  • 1.3 million - acres of forest lands that were destroyed (Charity Navigator)

NASA image courtesy the MODIS Rapid Response Team at Goddard Space Flight Center

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Recent Video and Pics of New Orleans

Parnell Goodyear and some friends just got back home from New Orleans. Here, Parnell links to blogpost and a video of what they saw and experienced.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

from Mark Lewis

Mark is a Director for Compassion on site in Trinity, where we have sent most of our teams.

"I had to share with you a few things from the last 2 days. I had the
privilege of hearing Sara's story tonite on how she got here. She is a
late teen/early twenty something from IN, here with a group of teens and
college/carrers. she shared that when she saw the opportunity to go on
the trip a few months ago, her heart jumped. she got an application and
signed up that day and was thrilled that she was going to be able to
come and serve God and help people. but as the summer wore on, and the
deadlines approcahed for paying the costs for the trip, she realized
that maybe she wasn't to come, as she was working to save money for
school, and really could not afford it. so one nite as she was
waitressing, a group from her sunday school class came in for dinner. it
was a slow nite so she was able to vist with them a good bit. she went
back to the regsiter to ring up the bill, she turned and found her
friends were gone, without a goodbye. bummer. she went to the table and
under there was a note that said how much God and her friends valued her
and special a person she was, and under the note was the exact amount of
money that she needed for the missions trip, her tip.

i held back tears then as i heard this story, and now as i type the
story, of God's faithfulness, His provision, and a caring, supporting
christian community. it's only tuesday, and her testimony was that she
will never forget this experience, 'it has changed my life'....and maybe
mine a bit too.

another young lady came up to introduce herself to me and give me ahug.
she wanted me to meet her specifically because she wanted me to remember
her when she came back, because she tols me, 'i am coming back'. she was
with the same group. she did not want to come. she said no 4 times to
the team leader when he asked her to come on the trip. she had had bad
experiences in high school in some church youth activites, not being
accepted, and confessed that her family has really not been going to
church with any regularity. she told me that she had never really read
the bible. she had told her team leader all the resons that she could
not go, the main one being that she could not get off work. but he was
persistent and called her at work one day and had her ask her boss, even
though 2 other s were already off work at that time. the boss listened
and then went to one of the others who had asked off, told the guy what
this gal was going to do, and the guy gave up HIS week of summer
vacation for her, so she could come. she lsot her last excuse, so here
she is. she confessed that she has made some of the best christian
friends, in 3 days time. as i left tonite, she was sitting down with
her group for a bible study time...with her bible open!

it is awesome to see what God is doing in people here, much less
through them.

for those of you in the harrisburg area, i wanted to let you know that
denise and kara and caleb will be at community free church on sunday for
the 930 and 11 services, emily and i are here in la. they would love to
see/meet you guys if you could make it. denise will be sharing for a
brief time in the service. just what she like to do, stand up in front
of people and talk...now me on the other hand... the church website
for directions/addr if you think you can make it.

we are working a lot now on planning for the next year of work and
ministry. we are doing a more focused training and equipping cirruculum
for the evenings in the fall for teams to learn more about issues of the
poor and the need for ministries of compassion in our own neighborhoods,
as there are hruting people all over, not just here. although they sure
are messed up here. we got a call today from a very upset lady who had
a good friend of the family working to rebuild their house, which was
now going to be a double wide on a slab. the guy was to pour the slab
next week, but the family found out yesterday that he hung himself.
they lost their home in the storm surge, and now they lost a friend and
the person who was going to get them back into a new home. we have not
had a skilled concrete guy in for months, but as the Lord would have it,
we also found out today that we may have a skilled guy in that area
coming next week. it's amazing how God show's a need and then provides a
way to meet it, and why he frequently seems to do it here on like the
same day is beyond me, but it sure is awesome to sit back and watch.

we are really looking for folks who will pray earnestly for workers to
keep coming here to do the cleanup and reconstruction. (it's a biblical
command for us to ask this of the Lord...see mt 9:38) the volume of
volunteers for the fall seems to be slowing some, as i'm sure most folks
think there's nothing or little left to do as it is out of the
news.amazingly , we got a call today from slidell from a lady who needs
her home gutted. this area had gutting mostly done by last november. we
are also getting an increasing rate of calls again for gutting in new
orleans. so many folks still have not even gotten the contents out of
their homes, and fewer and fewer churches are continuing to do this
work, as they are not having enough volunteers, or are just wearing out,
or are running out of funds to sustain the recovery efforts.

but we are planning for ongoing efforts well into 2007 in the area
around covington, and beyond into 2008 in central city new orleans, and
need you and your teams to come and be a part of God's work here.

we are also going to be doing lots of planning for the ongoing crisis
response ministry too in the next 2-3 months. thanks for being a part of
it all and for your care for us... ml"

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Pictures from KatrinaGrace Team VII

This Work Team left on Sunday 2 July and returned on Saturday 8 July. They were:
  • Eric Heflinger
  • Terry Gallion
  • Jeff Maddock
  • Daniel Rizza
  • Gregory Klassen
  • Jeff Klassen
  • Matt White
  • Robert Flowers - Leader
Pictures from the trip can be found here!

Lower 9th Ward Gets Mail!

USA TODAY reports that the Lower 9th Ward has finally gotten mail!

KatrinaGrace Team VI was just down there about a month and a half ago (pics here) and the place looks like a nuclear bomb went off. Though the area was very poor, 60% of Lower 9th Ward residents owned their home.

This is another step of the region back to normalcy.

image courtesy of stock xchng and melvinpiro

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A Katrina Survivor's Tragedy

Mark lives in a FEMA trailer in Slidell and was helped by Trinity and Compassion with some work on his house in October of last year. He's still waiting for an electrician to become available to finish work on his house so that he can move back in. A tragic accident 6 years ago when he was a paramedic has left Mark barely able to walk.

The day after the storm, Mark was slapped in the face by a tree branch which did extensive damage to his teeth. But dentists are telling him that FEMA hasn't been paying them and so they're not taking FEMA patients.

Members of the KatrinaGrace Team VI were able to visit him while we were in Louisiania in June.

We've been able to connect Mark with a dentist, Dr. Shannon Allison, who attends Trinity Church. He's graciously agreed to take a look at Mark's teeth and to see what he can do.

When we were contacting Mark about this tonight, we learned that about two weeks ago Mark's 15 year old son was tragically killed in a car accident while riding with a non-licensed 16 year old. We contacted Trinity and they've agreed to send someone out to visit Mark next week. Mark is divorced from the boy's mom and they also have a 17 year old son.

Please pray for them.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

"Katrina shocks New Orleans visitors 10 months on"

"Bill Friend thought he was ready to go home again. He had read the newspapers, watched TV and talked with friends about the devastation wreaked on New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.

Still, he was shocked.

"You go down street after street after street and see nothing -- wreckage," said Friend, 80, who grew up in New Orleans and now lives in the Washington area. "The overall impression of it is how much of it there is."

Katrina hit New Orleans on August 29, flooding 80 percent of the city and killing more than 1,500 from Louisiana in one of the worst natural disasters the country has seen. So far, only about half the population has returned and vast stretches of the city are nearly deserted and still full of debris."

- the full reuters article

Thursday, June 29, 2006

KatrinaGrace Team VII

On Sunday 2 July, the KatrinaGrace Team VII will be traveling to Trinity Church in Covington, LA to work with Trinity and Compassion Ministries in Katrina Recovery.

Since the storm, KatrinaGrace has sent down 1 Reconnaisance Team, 2 Supply Teams, 1 Cooking Team, 2 Work Teams, and 1 Pastoral Team. Team VII is a Work Team.

KatrinaGrace Team VII is
  • Eric Heflinger
  • Terry Gallion
  • Jeff Maddock
  • Daniel Rizza
  • Gregory Klassen
  • Jeff Klassen
  • Matt White
  • Robert Flowers - Leader
Please pray for this team that
  • they would have travel safety in flying and driving
  • that they would be safe while they work - some Work Teams are sent to hazardous situations.
  • that they would have a chance to spiritually connect with Katrina survivors
  • that they would get the amount of rest they need in unusual sleeping situations
  • that they would work together well as a team and with Trinity and Compassion Ministries

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Katrina Kids

"Children at a day-care center in Gautier, Miss., ask their caregivers every day: "Did you watch the Weather Channel? What does the Weather Channel say?" In a New Orleans trailer park, a 12-year-old boy who spent five days outside the convention center after Hurricane Katrina and saw a woman in a wheelchair slowly die pleads with his mother to buy a car so they can escape the next big one. An 8-year-old girl is convinced that another hurricane will hit New Orleans -- she is even sure it will be on June 15 and a Category 8 (a rating that doesn't exist)."

Washington Post article on Katrina's effect on the young (free registration required)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A New Letter from Michael Sprague

Michael Sprague, Trinity Church's Senior Pastor, posts a new letter in which he talks about KatrinaGrace Team VI which visited Covington, LA at the end of May.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Explaining How the New Orleans Flood Happened

The Times-Picayune has a wonderful site that does a great job at graphically depicting how New Orleans was flooded as a result of Katrina.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

A New Site on Katrina and New Orleans

Grace Community Church's Peter Moulton has offered a wonderful new site on New Orleans and the saga of one of his best friends there.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The New Face of New Orleans

USA TODAY reported today that

  • "the New Orleans area...became 73% white in the months after the hurricane Aug. 29, up from about 59% before the storm."

  • "The median age increased by about four years, and the median annual income rose from $39,793 to $43,447."

  • "The Louisiana Recovery Authority estimates about 200,000 homes were destroyed."

  • "Katrina and the subsequent breaching of the levee system flooded 80% of New Orleans..."

  • "The city of New Orleans lost about 64% of its residents after the storm, going from 437,000 in July to 158,000 in January, the Census Bureau says.

    New Orleans demographer Greg Rigamer says the city's population has risen to 200,000 since the Census survey. "

  • "Along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where Katrina hit directly and swept away miles of coastal homes, the population has dwindled 17%, from 363,000 to 303,000."

  • "The black population rose from 17% to 28%, while the white population declined from 80% to 71%.

    whole article

Monday, June 05, 2006

Report and Pictures from the KatrinaGrace Team VI - the Compassion Team

"You have to be our hands & feet."

Kathy Boren
Covington, LA resident &
a member of Trinity Church
Friday 2 June 2006

If all you want to see are the pictures, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Early Sunday Morning on May 28th, the eight members of KatrinaGrace Team VI, dubbed "The Compassion Team," boarded a plane and flew to Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. After reviewing some of the damage near the Marina, the Team continued their journey across Lake Pontchartrain to Covington, LA. There they intended to follow up on just some of the over 4000 folks that the over 3000 volunteers working through Trinity Church and Compassion Ministries had reached out to with practical assistance since Katrina. The KatrinaGrace Team VI consisted of

  • Allan Kiang,
  • Becky Rocco,
  • Douglas Morin,
  • George Murrill,
  • Jessie Royster,
  • Mary Lou Gradisek,
  • Sandra Clabough, and
  • Stephen Shields

  • The Group rented four cars and divided into twos to visit as many households as they could thru Friday, June the 2nd.

    We were able to reach out to somewhere between 35 and 40 households during our trip. Every morning the Team rose at 6 AM, breakfasted at 6:30 AM with several other Work Teams who had also slept overnight in the church buildings, heard devotions at 7 AM, and then met to pray and strategize the day. Most evenings we regathered for supper at 6:30 PM. Individuals were there this particular week from Colorado, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, New York, and North Carolina.

    It was a rich, humbling, sobering, and wonderful experience.

    In New Orleans East, you can drive for 10 to 15 minutes on Interstate 10 and see nothing but devastated neighborhood after devastated neighborhood on your left and right. One mall there was completely submerged and it's still not open. We spent a lot of time in Slidell where entire communities were flooded. Many folks are still in FEMA trailers, which can be found lined up beside each other on street after street. One resident shared with us that calling and visiting insurance companies, the Red Cross, FEMA, etc. and working through all the red tape is a full-time job on its own. And if you didn't lose most or all of your house, you might have lost your job. Or maybe you lost it all and a few friends and relatives besides. The people there are shell-shocked and in need of lots of attention, care, practical help, prayer and counsel. Many have compared the area to a war zone. One former war zone television correspondant said that it was worse than a war zone. The death toll is currently over 1800 with over 700 still missing. The total economic impact in Mississippi and Louisiana is estimated to exceed $150 billion. The storm left 500,000 homeless and destroyed over 150,000 homes in the New Orleans area alone. As Kathy Boren, also quoted above, commented last week, "The city died and there's no one to bury it."

    One of the main things the Compassion Team did was to listen. Some don't wish to burden their neighbors with their hardships because their neighbors have enough hardships of their own. And many locals are so caught up in resolving their own challenging situations that they simply don't have the time, energy, or even the inner strength to reach out to those around them. People expressed gratitude that they could tell their story to someone. One thanked one of our Team members because she said that it was the first time anyone had listened to her. Another said that it was the first time she had cried since she lost her house. As we had opportunity, we shared God's love and the gospel of Jesus Christ with the folks we visited. Team members also brought to the area a number of $25 WalMart Gift Cards to give out as they saw the need during their visits.

    And there were so many stories.

    Before we came down we received a list from Trinity/Compassion of some of the folks that needed the most follow-up. One was an elderly lady that supposedly lived in a bus. The information was dated and we found it hard to believe that someone could thrive in a hot bus for this period of time. There was a phone number contact for the lady named Donna and we called and left a message. No one called back. Finally, one day I suggested to my team partner, Douglas, that we just try to find her. We drove to the provided address and - sure enough - there was an old Bluebird bus that looked undrivable. I still did not believe that anyone was in that bus. We walked up to the house beside it and let the resident know that we were looking for Donna.

    "She's in the bus."

    Sure enough, she was.

    She greeted us, directed us to pull up a couple of chairs outside, and said that she was so glad that she could tell someone her story. The room that she and her sister had built on the back of her sister's house where Donna was going to spend the rest of her life was destroyed by Katrina. Donna, who had suffered 2 heart attacks and was blind in one eye, eventually ended up in this bus. The good news was that the bus had been turned into something of a converted camper with a sink, a bed, most critically air conditioning, and - even - a 20 inch TV with, unbelievably, cable! Donna had been a gospel singer and indicated that she still had faith. We gave her four $25 WalMart Gift Cards before we left and that evening we picked her up to attend Trinity's weekly 5:30 PM Community Dinners.

    Jessie Royster and Becky Rocco comprised one of the four Compassion SubTeams and were given an address to visit where an earlier Work Team had done some roof repair. When they pulled up to the address at the end of a dead end street, Jessie - who's African-American - noticed that the man had a Confederate Flag flying. She and Becky looked at each other but Jessie felt that God was telling her, "This is not your doing; this is not Trinity's doing; this is my doing. Trust me. I've got your back." They proceeded.

    The large and muscular home owner greeted them wearing a Confederate Flag belt buckle, a ZZ Top beard, a pony tail, and a t-shirt that said, "Wife Beater."

    And he was a perfect gentleman to them.

    Jessie, who's originally from Mississippi, and he talked about the South and about Conservative Talk Radio, to which they both listened. Becky shared later that she wondered if Jessie, who usually asked if she could hug whomever they were visiting as they were leaving, would ask to hug this man. Becky thought Jessie wouldn't because he was a guy and because of the whole Confederate flag thing.

    Becky was right.

    Instead, the man asked Jessie if he could hug her.

    And there were many other stories.

    In addition to followup work, we were able to serve in a number of different capacities while in Covington. Allen Kiang worked one day with one of the Work Teams from Colorado gutting out a home. When one of Compassion's key staffers fell ill, Sandra Clabough and Mary Lou Gradisek worked for most of the week coordinating the Work Teams and contacting area residents about their Work Requests. We were also able to provide Compassion staffers with a training sesson on Suicide Prevention and Compassion Director Mark Lewis indicated that he was going to include the literature we provided to all future Work Team Leaders.

    The crew returned to Baltimore-Washington International Airport on Saturday, June the 3rd and began their re-integration back into their pre-Katrina trip lives. Honestly, we all continue to process all that we saw and experienced.

    Some time ago someone asked me if we were making much of a difference. I responded that the need was so great that our efforts were just a drop in the bucket. Later, my wife Beth properly corrected me with this comment: "For the folks we're helping, we're making a world of difference."

    Of course, there's still a lot to be done. And KatrinaGrace plans to do more as God gives opportunity. We've already met with Habitat for Humanity about the possibility of jointly executing a rebuilding initiative. But, for now, there's still a large need to clean up, gutting houses, etc.

    If you'd like to participate in this relief effort you can:

    - Educate yourself on Katrina and Katrina relief efforts. The ever evolving Wikipedia article on Katrina is a great place to start. The many news links listed under "Katrina News" on the KatrinaGrace website is a good source of information. And Douglas Brinkley's expansive The Great Deluge is a helpful first out of the gate overview.

    - Pray.

  • Ask that God would help Trinity and Compassion staffers as day after day, week after week, and month after month they work together with those whose lives have been turned upside down by the storm.

  • Ask God to give Compassion wisdom as they prioritize Work Requests.

  • Ask that God would help those whom Trinity/Compassion are practically helping would turn to God and rely on Him more fully.

  • Pray for the people of Trinity Church and for their recovery from this trauma. Their pastor, Michael Sprague, says that they've lost 30% of their members who evacuated and will never return. One church member shared with us how hard it was for friend after friend after friend to leave in the weeks and months after Katrina.

  • Pray that the leaders of KatrinaGrace would have the wisdom for the most optimal and effective use of the funds that the people of Grace Community Church and others have provided.

  • Ask that God would protect the New Orleans Metro Area and the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama Gulf Coasts from hurricanes this season. The season began while we were in Covington and ends in November.

  • - We still have July and November teams heading to Trinity. It's likely we will do two more trips this year at some point before November. If you are interested in any of these trips, please email Stephen. It seemed that most of the folks on the Work Teams last week were repeats. Once you go, you'll want to go back.

    - The Team V Leader, Patty Westland, and her husband are donating a trailer to Trinity and driving it down in just a couple of weeks. They are accepting donations of much needed materials that can be used by the Compassion/Trinity Work Teams that they plan to take down with them or buy there. Click here for more information if you'd like to help.

    - If you'd like to donate money that can be used to send more folks to Louisiana to volunteer on Work or Compassion Teams, just send a check to

    attn: Treasurer

    Grace Community Church

    8200 Old Columbia Rd

    Fulton, MD 20759

    and in the note space just put "for KatrinaGrace"


    if you go to Grace, you can put the check so noted in the offering basket when it comes around. Additional money enables us to send more folks on more trips to help and so far we've not only filled every announced trip but have actually had to turn some folks away.

    Pictures from the Trip

    Lower 9th Ward Pics

    Slidell, LA Pics

    New Orleans Marina Area Pics

    Louisiana People and Visitors

    Misc Pictures

    If these links don't work, try

    Lower 9th Ward Pics

    Slidell, LA Pics

    New Orleans Marina Area Pics

    Louisiana People and Visitors

    Misc Pictures

    Saturday, June 03, 2006

    Help Relief Workers in the New Orleans Area!

    We just received this from Patty Westland who was the Team Leader of the April 2006 KatrinaGrace Team V (a Cooking Team) who travelled to the New Orleans Area:

    Patty & Perry Westland
    P.O Box 143
    Fulton, MD 20759
    (301) 604-5420

    Dear Family and friends,

    I’m writing to tell you about my latest adventure in life.

    I went on my first mission trip to Covington, Louisiana to help Katrina victims. It is about an hour from the French Quarter.

    I volunteered to be the team leader (surprise!) of a 5 man cooking team. We fed 66 workers that were there to muck houses. Mucking is the emptying of ones home of all its mud, personnel belongings, walls, and flooring that has been rotting there for 7 months (including, freezers and refrigerators yuck). It was a trip, a real eye-opener for all of us.

    Everyone here seems to think that because Mardi Gras and the Superdome are operational, life is back to normal. Well, it’s far from that! It is just getting started. It is so difficult to describe what these people are going through. You just can’t imagine it, until you have walked the roads of the destruction. It is now 7 Months later and community after community, after community, is still in ruins. It looks like a war zone. I still can’t believe it looks like that. It is unbelievable that, here in the USA, people are struggling to put their lives back together. People all around me ask:”Why would they want to go back?” All I can say is, it’s their home. They are fighting with the insurance companies to see who will pay. “Oh no!” says the hurricane insurance company, “it was caused by a flood.” And of course the flood insurance says it was caused by the hurricanes. ... It is an unending mess.
    We worked with a non-profit organization called “EFCA- Compassion Ministries-Katrina Relief” that works with Trinity Church in Covington, Louisiana. People volunteer from all over the United States and Canada to help. Trinity is where the supplies are kept, the food is cooked and volunteers sleep. We slept on the floor and showered in the portable outdoor showers. Volunteers who stay here must pack up their belonging twice a week, for scheduled meetings in the building... Some people find a new calling in life and stay to help. They realize the depth of the devastation and the great need for help.

    Perry and I along with my parents Jack and Dee have decided to donate a travel trailer that we own together. The trailer will provide desperately needed sleeping quarters for people who stay long term. I am writing to ask you to help us fill the trailer. We will be taking the donated items to Louisiana. If you are able to help fill the trailer- it would be great. The easiest thing to travel with is gift cards from Lowe’s, Home Depot, Sam’s Club, Shell gas and Wal-Mart. We are also looking for the following items:

    · N95 dust masks with exhalation valve Safety glasses
    · Duct tape/Drywall tape Hand sanitizer
    · Work gloves/ladies work gloves Heavy duty forks, knives, spoons
    · Paper towels in bulk Septic approved toilet paper
    · Heavy duty paper plates Large tarps

    I will be collecting items the week of the June 5th thru June 11.

    Call for pick up.

    You can mail checks made out to EFCA Compassion-Katrina relief and gift cards to

    Katrina Bound
    Po Box 143
    Fulton, Md 20759

    If you want more information about the organization go to [the EFCA Compassion Katrina Page].

    Please keep us in your thoughts.

    Yours truly,

    Patty, Perry, PJ and Kris

    Thursday, May 25, 2006

    KatrinaGrace Team VI - The Compassion Team

    Please pray for Team VI that's leaving for Trinity Church in Covington, LA early Sunday morning 28 May and returning on Sat 3 June. The Team is
    • Allan Kiang
    • Becky Rocco
    • Douglas Morin
    • George Murrill
    • Jessie Royster
    • Mary Lou Gradisek
    • Stephen Shields - Team Leader
    This team is called The Compassion Team because they are going to be spending 5 days doing pastoral follow-up meetings with just a few of the over 4500 people that Trinity Church and Compassion have helped since the storm.

    Wednesday, May 24, 2006

    Suicide Prevention

    I've built a new page on faithmaps.org that focuses on Suicide Prevention as a resource for those who go to LA and MS (or are there already) to work with survivors of the storm.

    Friday, May 19, 2006

    "Number of Deaths From Katrina Rises"

    "Louisiana raised its Hurricane Katrina death toll by 281 Friday to 1,577 after including more out-of-state evacuees whose deaths were deemed related to the storm or its grueling aftermath."

    - full Associated Press Story

    Photos and Thoughts from the April Cooking Team

    Len Thompson recently sent us some pictures of the April Cooking Teams trip to Trinity Church where they cooked for the many volunteers working in the Covington, LA area. They were down in LA April 16-22. You can see the pictures here.

    Len also shared some of this thoughts about the trip:

    I stayed at a church in Covington, LA, which is across Lake Ponchatrain
    from New Orleans. There were about 60 folks there from all over the US.
    It was a light week because of Easter; normally they have over 100. The
    women slept on the floor of a Sunday School classroom and the men on
    the floor of the sanctuary. We all ate at a makeshift cafeteria on the
    other side of the sanctuary. I was part of a team that prepared and
    served the meals.

    The effort is coordinated by Compassion Ministries in cooperation with
    Urban Impact. .

    Most striking, and appalling, was the lack of progress in the clean-up,
    and the extent of the damage. Of the thousands of destroyed homes, only
    a handful have or are being rebuilt. Large neighborhoods are utterly

    I did get to go out one day with a work crew. The work right now is
    entirely demolition. Before a home can be rebuilt - assuming it's in
    good enough shape structurally to be rebuilt- it has to be stripped to the
    two-by-fours. First they haul out appliances, furniture, and personal
    possessions (everything is just piled up outside). Then they tear out the drywall, carpeting,
    and linoleum. It's hot, dirty, and dangerous work. Shots for Hepatitis
    B and tetanus had been required, but now only tetanus. Most work sites have no
    electricity and no sanitary facilities.

    A tough week, but I'd be willing to go again.

    Friday, April 28, 2006

    "The Saints Go Marching Back"

    Lucas and Davis endorse a bold game plan: Encourage a local pastor to return to New Orleans from the Katrina diaspora. Local leaders help that pastor find a short-term job to pay the rent and also help him bring back other ready-to-work church members.

    Just 10 tithing church members plugged into good wages can jumpstart a congregation that's been non-operational since Katrina. That pastor in time could quit his "day job" and return to full-time ministry. "The idea is to help get people jobs so their pastor can do the work of the ministry," Davis said.

    Christianity Today article on efforts to bring working folks back to the KatrinaZone.

    Friday, April 21, 2006

    Trinity Stats

    The church we work with mostly in the KatrinaZone is Trinity Church. It's an Evangelical Free Church and most of the work we - and many, many others - have done there has been in conjunction with EV Free's Compassion Ministries. This AM they released the latest stats on the amount of work done in and around Covington, LA where Trinity is located:

    Trinity Church

    • Total work requests: 1,588
    • Completed work requests: 1,174
    • Volunteers: 2,676
    • Volunteer hours: 109,995

    Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    Please talk to God About...

    ...our two teams that are in the Gulf this week!
    The Biloxi group is a work group led by Randy & Nicole Ambuel. They're helping Bay Vista Baptist Church in the continuing cleanup.
    Our other group is being led by Peggy Westland and is at Trinity Evangelical Free Church in Covington, LA, cooking for the teams that are fulfilling work orders in the community.


    Meet Mark Lewis!

    My name is Diane Schoolfield. I attend Greenridge Baptist Church in Germantown, MD. Our church has gone on two mission trips to Trinity and will send a third during spring break. We have really been affected by what God is doing through Trinity and the Katrina disater.
    I am hosting a "meet the missionary" for Mark Lewis on Tuesday evening, April 18th, 7:00PM at Greenridge Baptist. Anyone from your churches are welcome to attend.
    As you know, Mark went to Trinity, felt called to change his job, move his family, and go full time with Compassion Ministries. He has not had the chance to raise support for this life changing call. The dessert will be a time for him to update us on what is happening at Trinity, get to know him, and offer financial support for him and for his family.
    Feel free to contact me with any questions and for directions to our church(it is right off of I270).
    I am excited to see how God will provide for Mark that evening.
    In Him,

    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    On Mark Lewis

    We've worked a lot with Mark Lewis down in Covington. Michael Sprague of Trinity recently posted this:

    I have never been a fundraiser and perhaps never will be. I don't know that I ever want to be a fundraiser. I am simply a pastor of a local church, in the middle of the finest movement of the Spirit of God that I have ever seen. One of my dear friends, and now colleagues in ministry, is raising support to provide for his family to continue to help lead the work of outreach here in the Gulf Region. I am referring to Mark Lewis, our Crisis Response Director for EFCA-Compassion. If you have been to Trinity, you know Mark as our Field General, Mastermind of the operation and the man who loves Christ and teams.

    Mark and his wife, Denise, were faithfully serving Jesus in Pennsylvania when Katrina hit. Mark was an engineer, and Denise a stay-at-home mom with their 3 wonderful kids. Mark called Jim Snyder of Compassion Ministry and was told, "I need someone in Louisiana tomorrow." Mark's one-week trip to Louisiana turned into a long-term, life-changing opportunity! Mark and Denise's passion to help people impacted by disasters had been growing for some time. Since 1993, this couple has participated in crisis response ministry following floods in the Midwest, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, an earthquake in Turkey, a devastating tornado in Campbelltown, Pennsylvania, Hurricane Ivan and now Hurricane Katrina. For an equally long time they prayed for the EFCA to start a crisis response ministry. In fact, Denise wrote an undergraduate thesis on this very topic in 2000!

    I can tell you the call of God is upon their lives. They are choice players in the Kingdom and are bearing incredible fruit. In Luke 16:1-10 Jesus tells a story about how the children of light should practice shrewdness with money in accomplishing Kingdom exploits:

    "Now He was also saying to the disciples, "There was a certain rich man who had a steward, and this steward was reported to him as squandering his possessions. "And he called him and said to him, 'What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.' "And the steward said to himself, 'What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg. 'I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the stewardship, they will receive me into their homes.' "And he summoned each one of his master's debtors, and he began saying to the first, 'How much do you owe my master?' "And he said, 'A hundred measures of oil.' And he said to him, 'Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.' "Then he said to another, 'And how much do you owe?' And he said, 'A hundred measures of wheat.' He said to him, 'Take your bill, and write eighty.' "And his master praised the unrighteous steward because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light. "And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the mammon of unrighteousness; that when it fails, they may receive you into the eternal dwellings. "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much." (Luke 16:1-10)

    I cannot think of an investment that has greater Kingdom potential than strategically investing in helping Mark and Denise Lewis get up to full missionary support. They are currently at 25% support. Would you pray about this opportunity? If you are associated with a church with a missions committee, would you ask them about the possibility of the church adopting the Lewis family? Mark can be reached at: The Lewis Family, 1183 Springwater Drive, Mandeville, LA 70471; phone: 717-439-3138; e-mail: mlewis@efca.org.

    Sunday, April 02, 2006

    Sleeping Arrangements While @ Trinity Church

    Some folks have been asking about sleeping arrangements while at Trinity Church in Covington, LA. Here's a description from the Evangelical Free Compassion Ministries Katrina Site (Trinity is EVFree):

    Teams are housed at Trinity Church in Covington, LA. All facilities are modern with electricity, AC & heat. Trinity Church hosts volunteers on the floor in both the sanctuary and youth room (men and women are separated). Shower facilities are available for men and women with changing areas in both. Subject to space availability, RVs may park in a field adjacent to Trinity Church. Limited electric hook-ups are available.

    If you have any other questions about this, please shoot an email to beth.shields@gmail.com

    image courtesy of stock.xchng

    Tuesday, March 28, 2006

    Can you Help Volunteers Fly?

    If you have any Frequent Flyer Miles that you might be interested in donating to folks flying down to LA or MS this year to help with Katrina Relief (we have 5 trips slated so far this year - click here for more info), please send an email to beth.shields@gmail.com


    graphic courtesy of stock.xchng

    Monday, March 13, 2006

    Baltimore Sun: "6 months later, area is still reeling from Katrina"

    *click here for KatrinaGrace
    2006 Trips Information*

    The Baltimore Sun ran a story yesterday giving a few details of what's been done and what remains in the Katrina-affected area that's received the most attention - New Orleans:
    • "...vast stretches of the city -- 100 square miles or more -- are still abandoned and rotting."

    • " Fewer than 15 percent of 15,000 businesses are open."

    • " But about two-thirds of the city remains uninhabited."

    • "Reconstruction officials have picked up about 33 million cubic yards of debris, but they're only halfway done, and piles of fetid mattresses and moldy drywall still line many streets."

    • "The new hurricane season is fewer than 100 days away, and repairs to the city's levees are 40 percent complete, federal officials said recently."
    What's even more sobering is that New Orleans is just one area in a 90,000 square mail zone that was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

    Saturday, March 11, 2006

    Updated KatrinaZone Team Plans for 2006

    updated on Sunday 2 April 2006

    Here's where we are on 2006 Trips

    If you have a group that would like to volunteer separately from any of these planned trips, please email Stephen at sshields@faithmaps.org.
    • KatrinaGrace Team V

      • Leave on Sun 16 Apr & Return on Sat 22 Apr
      • Cooking for 60-80 people Monday thru Friday from 8 AM to 5 PM
      • Update: This Team is Now Filled
      • Team Consists of:
        • Peggy Westland - Team Leader
        • Peggy Wortman
        • Len Thompson
        • Bill Tagalicod
        • Lynne King
        • Steven Lilly
        • Odin Worthman

    • The Biloxi Team (NEW TRIP)

      • Work Team
      • Bay Vista Baptist Church - Biloxi, MS
      • Randy (Gadget) and Nicole Ambuel are the Team Leaders
      • Leave Easter Weekend, Return the Following Weekend

    • KatrinaGrace Team VI

      • Trinity Church - Covington, LA
      • Stephen Shields will lead this team.
      • Leave Sun 28 May and Return on Saturday 3 June
      • Trinity has reached out to 4,600 folks who could use some "so how's it going?" followup. This will involve those who are good listeners and an empathetic ear. This would be a good trip for those who are, as Trinity's Volunteer Coordinator says, "mercy-focused."

    • KatrinaGrace Team VII

      • A Work Team
      • Trinity Church - Covington, LA
      • Date Change: Sunday, July 2 - Saturday, July 8th

    • KatrinaGrace Team VIII

      • Work Team
      • Trinity Church - Covington, LA
      • Specific dates to be set for one week in November 2006
    As always, for all of these trips we are looking for donated frequent flyer miles. If you have any miles that you would like to contribute, please email Beth Shields at beth.shields@gmail.com.

    Thursday, March 09, 2006

    Pictures from Tuesday 7 March 2006

    It's hard to believe that after half a year there should still be so much devastation in New Orleans and Mississippi.

    Benjy Oliver posts about his tour this week of New Orleans and Katrina Damage and has created an online album where you can see all of his shots.

    Monday, March 06, 2006

    Forcey Memorial Church

    Our partner in the Baltimore-Washington Corridor who has worked with us in the past with our Trinity trips is Forcey Memorial Church in Silver Spring, MD. They have a nice website they've set up supporting their efforts.

    Saturday, March 04, 2006

    Sat 4 March 2006 Presentation to Grace's Men's Breakfast

    I had a great opportunity today to speak to
    Grace Community Church's Men's Ministry about

    Stephen Shields

    Slideshow here.

    Thursday, March 02, 2006

    Residential Construction Project Manager Sought

    All - I am asking you to specifically pray and help us seek at least two
    individuals that could serve as a construction pm. We really need to be
    moving to construction at this time, and will not be able to do so
    effectively without a good residential construction project manager.

    Please ask your churches and friends for any ideas of names, and
    forward them to me to follow up with. We should be able to provide
    housing and possibly some form of per diem. this is such a great
    ministry opportunity.

    Mark Lewis, who coordinates volunteers in Covington, LA for Trinity Church and Compassion Ministries, asks for suggestions for this position.

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    Compassion Ministries Katrina Page

    I've added a link to the Evangelical Free Church of America's Compassion Ministries Katrina Page under "Links and Information" on the right-hand side of this page.

    Trinity Church, in Covington, LA, with whom KatrinaGrace has been working since the storms, is an Evangelical Free Church and Compassion coordinates the volunteers from all over the country working through Trinity.

    Tuesday, February 28, 2006

    The Katrina Volunteer Phenomenon

    Tens of thousands of volunteers from hundreds of faith-based groups have poured into the region.

    AP runs a story on the amazing number of church folks volunteering in the Katrina Zone.

    The Washington Post ran a similar story earlier in the month (free registration required).

    Monday, February 27, 2006

    Word and Deed, Again and Again

    The collaboration between Christian groups has impressed Pass Christian's politicians. Christians represent 95 percent of relief volunteers, said Lou Rizzardi, Pass Christian's Ward 1 alderman who coordinates them.

    "Faith-based organizations come in here much more organized, ready to go to work," Rizzardi said. "They don't ask for anything." Mennonites re-roofed Trinity Church, an Episcopal congregation. The Assemblies of God donated a huge tent to shelter Crusade volunteers. Pass Christian's largest volunteer presence is Campus Crusade. Of Todd's efforts to mobilize manpower, Rizzardi said, "I don't know what I would have done without him."

    Christianity Today article posted today

    photo from http://www.dbooth.net/ed/album/index.htm

    Positions Available @ Trinity Church in Covington, LA

    Trinity's Michael Sprague announces that they are filling some positions in Covington, LA. Specifically:

    Associate Pastor of Adult Ministries

    Trinity Church is a growing, vibrant, grace-centered, Evangelical Free Church of about 700 Christ-followers. The candidate must love Jesus and be a strong leader who is able to lead, train, and motivate volunteers and oversee a wide array of adult ministries spanning small groups, men's, women's, discipleship and care. This family oriented community is located on the Northshore of Lake Ponchartrain, where you will find some of the best schools in the state. Better yet, we are experiencing revival, renewal, and an Acts 2 kind of experience in the aftermath of Katrina. A 15,000 square foot educational building will open in April. If you have been hearing the "still small voice" say "I've got a new adventure for you" please apply.

    Pastor of Children's Ministry

    Trinity Church in Covington, LA, is a contemporary EFCA church with an average attendance of 700. Of this 700, 140 are children from birth through sixth grade. We are looking for a dynamic, creative, fun loving person who is passionate about Jesus and able to create environments that are irresistible to children and their parents. The ideal candidate must be able to cast vision, recruit, train and mobilize volunteer staff. A new $1.5 million dollar state of the art children's building will open in April 2006.

    If you are interested in applying for these positions or if you know of anyone who might be interested, please email Michael Sprague.

    Tuesday, February 14, 2006

    work, work, work

    Trinity's Michael Sprague reports that as of 2/12 Trinity Church has seen 1,898 volunteers from all across the country forming 153 teams investing 72,810 work hours completing 834 work requests

    See his most recent letter here.

    photo courtesy of stock.xchng

    New Orleans Times-Picayune Article on Trinity Church

    Volunteers working through Trinity Church in Covington, LA - including those from KatrinaGrace - have invested over 52,000 work hours assisting Katrina-affected LA residents.

    The Times-Picayune recently covered the church's efforts.


    Monday, February 13, 2006

    KatrinaGrace Team IV Dec 2005 Trip and Pics

    In late Dec 2005, Jen Long and Beth Shields travelled to
    Covington, LA to meet with Trinity Church's Michael Sprague and Mark Lewis to plan KatrinaGrace activities for 2006.


    The Trip

    In December, KatrinaGrace decided to bring Christmas to Covington, so on December 17th, Jen Long & Beth Shields flew down to meet with pastor Michael Sprague and team leader Mark Lewis to deliver $15,000 worth of gift cards for Trinity to distribute and to discuss Grace’s role in the continuing rebuilding effort. During this meeting, we learned a number of new things, not the least of which is the extent to which suicide is an issue at this time. Michael said that the effects of the storm are being felt more than ever by those who must rebuild their lives in a dramatically different world than what they knew before. Michael had spoken to someone dealing with suicidal thoughts every day that week. We also found out that our teams need to stay for a week in order to be effective, and that tearing down and rebuilding homes is not the only type of team we can send – cooking teams, counseling teams, and daycare teams are all possibilities - which opens up the number of people from Grace who can be an effective part of this ministry. We talked about the possibility of planning eight trips this year as opposed to the four we had originally planned – a major difference in what we had discussed (the leadership team needs to sign off on this first). In addition, Johnny & Jen Long are hoping to start an adopt-a-family type program, where Grace families can “adopt” families through Trinity. Michael informed us that moral support and encouragement may be even more necessary than financial support. Mark Lewis is contemplating an adopt-a-house type program, where individuals and/or organizations would adopt a particular house to renovate or construct. Mark said only 10 percent of the work has been completed so far. He and Michael also put a bug in our ear about incenting the Howard County community to help raise money and support for the rebuilding effort. The true rebuilding effort will probably not be into full swing until the spring of 2006. Michael also informed us that Compassion is looking to hire a retired contractor who can work for six months as a project manager to aid in the rebuilding effort. Price gouging is a problem now with the market demand being so high for construction and roofing companies. Finally, we discussed the staff of Trinity, a total of eight people who are working more than full-time to bring hope and healing to Covington and the surrounding communities. These amazing people are overworked, overstressed, and overtired and need special support and encouragement from our community.

    It's not known at this point how many of these needs KatrinaGrace can specifically address, but the trip definitely gave us a lot to think about as we finalize plans for 2006. And, of course, with God's help, we will pitch in in 2006!