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.
- Pictures of New Orleans, Slidell, and Covington taken by Jen Long
- Pictures of Katrina's Aftermath in the neighborhood of Trinity Church's Jeff Boran
- Pictures from Chalmette and Lakeview (taken by Jeff Boran)
- Some Stunning Katrina Aftermath Shot Provided by Jeff Boran
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!