Today marks the end of year one. The first year of our lives that Katrina became a reality, a milestone, a nightmare, and a blessing. I struggled to know the best way to mark this time. The news is full of retrospectives and information about current status. My good friend Clif suggested I interview people and make an auido blogpost for today. I liked the idea, but didn't do it. So it's almost lunch time on this day when we revisit what happened to all of us here on the Coast...and rippled across the country.
My friend Al Sturgeon decided to commemorate this day by releasing his 150 page e-book called Katrina: A Spiritual Journal
free of charge. I'll be happy to send you a copy via attachment if you request it by writing me HERE
. It is in WORD format. Thanks, Al!
I decided that I would share with you what you shared with me. In the days following Katrina, I was so blessed to have the blog readers send me so many messages of encouragement. I think it will be a blessing to see those encouragements. These were from the days when data was scarce, cell phone connections were non-existent, and we were still dazed by the nearly knock-out punch we received from nature. But you wrote ... and I will never forget the way you supported me then, and continue even now. Here's how they read:
Tommy said... I feel for you brother, and I'll say I hope it's better than expected.
Chris said... Glad you made it through. We've been praying...
Raymond Fleming said... Good to see that you posted and that you and your family are ok. Sorry to hear about your home. My prayers are with you still.
BR-549 said... I've been checking your blog about every hour, it seems. So, I'm glad to see that you are OK physically and so sorry to hear about what you may have lost. My prayers are with you!
JD said... Thanks for your swift responses. I'm at my brother-in-laws at the moment...cannot check again until tomorrow afternoon if then. Knowing that you are all praying and wishing us well means a lot. Anyone heard from Kenny or Dee? Take care, everyone.
k2 said... jd, i am praying that you will be comforted. (that sounds so bland, but what else can i say.) i, too, am not able to see my home. i am in fredericksburg, va, for business, and d1 and my daughter are at the house. they stayed with 'family' while i had to go to work. i can just about bet that our cat is smothering them right now. i will be returning on friday. God kept them safe, and you. ....i am not sure what else to say, other than, you and your family are in my prayers.
Falantedios said... Praise God you're alright, JD. You WILL get through this. Prayers rise to the Father for you and yours, continued safety and comfort. Nick
DJG said... JD, I have been praying continuously for you and yours. I am so glad you are OK. All that physical stuff can be replaced, but you know that. Praise God you are OK.
Bobby Cohoon said... Hey John; Like you I love on a coast; I have seen devastation many times, but never on this scale or magnitude. I am praying for you brother. God be with all y'all. If anyway I can help contact me. Bobby
Soren said... JD, I've been trying to call you, but I can't get through. I know you're busy. Just wanted to give a word of encouragement.
Praying for all of you. Soren
GerryParker said... We as a family have been praying for you and other folks we know know down in the Mobile area. We love you brother! Good to hear from you! In HIM,Gerry
Keith Brenton said... Dee hasn't checked in since Sunday, but has a desktop with her; not a laptop. JD, you and yours remain in my prayers.
LVM said... I join all the others in prayer for you and your family.
James - Biblesays said... John,Got your e-mail. Do you know how I can contact Les? I know "it's just stuff" is supposed to be comforting, and though it is true that "stuff can be replaced" and "it could be worse" and all that, it does not take away from the fact that things like this are difficult to deal with. I do hope it turns out to be better than you anticipate, but if not, please let us know what we can do to help. I mean that. Brothers and sisters in Christ are here for each other, and we will be glad to do whatever is needed we can do. For now (and later) you are in our prayers.
Hoots Musings said... JD,God has you in the palm of His mighty hand. You and yours have been prayed for and we will continue to do so.
You have NO idea how relieved you are to see a post and to know you and yours are safe.
Dusty said... JD,May the Lord bless you with peace and faithfulness in the moment. I'll be praying. Dusty
john alan turner said... Devastating. Shocking. Horrible. And yet ... somehow ... out here hope remains.
Bill Denton said... JD,Hey, if you're still in Cleveland, give me a call!
Auntbee said... My Dear Pastor John,I am so saddened to hear of your lost. Please know that you are not alone. God is there and He will sustain and my prayers are there with you,Maggy and your family. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. When you only have God, you have enough to get you through!Love & Prayers to you and your family, Auntbee (Betty)
Brian Burkett said... JD, you and everyone down there are in my prayers. I wish there was something I could physically do to help. Keep us updated, and stay strong. There are a lot of people that are going to be looking to you in the coming weeks and months. I know God will give you the strength.
TCS said... JD,Glad you posted. I had heard you were in the Delta. If you come east call me. You have of course been in my thoughts and prayers. I am worried about Dee's husband Tom. I think he stayed at the paper. Seriously call or email of what we can do when we are able to get down there. I know it will be a while before they will let us in. I will gather a group to come and help. my number is six one five five five eight eight....maybe that will not get mined. I assume you know the area code.
I really mean that we will come do whatever. So let me know.
Jim Martin said... So glad that you are ok...What a nightmare...I have prayed for you.
Jovan said... JD. I'm glad to hear you are ok. I tried calling Steve Martin in Ocean Springs. Have you heard from him?
TCS said... JD, I don't know if you are checking your email... so I will post this here. I have a contact with Bread for a Hungry World who would like to get in contact with you.
Karen said... Dear John...I have been so worried about you and your family. It wasn't until just a few minutes ago that I thought to check out your blog to see if you had "reported" in. How relieved and happy I was to see that you had!!! :) I am deeply saddened to hear of what you may have lost...but praise God that you are safe!!! You are in my thoughts and prayers, my friend. Sending great big, warm, comforting Canadian hugs your way. Take care and God bless!!! Love and hugs,Karen :)
Olivia Christine said... John,I was so sad to hear your news, but glad that you and your family are safe. Dad was trying to get in touch with you, I hope he was able to. You have his email at crossties, right? If not I'll send it to you. We've been praying so hard out here for all of you. I am so sorry. I can not imagine how hard it is to lose your home like this. I just don't know what else to say. We love you, man. We'll kep on praying.
DJG said... I didn't think about you not being able to access your e-mail...If you cannot just know that I am with Tommy, I really want to help. You know how to contact me. Still covering you with prayers.Donna
Jason Retherford said... JD, Know you are in our prayers.
Tommy said... Good to hear from you again JD. I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers over the days to come. Any way I can help please let me know.
Hoots Musings said... Ditto what Tommy said.I am awestruck at the devastation in Mississippi and how so many of the refugees thank Jesus Christ for sparing their lives. Please let me know if you need anything... we are praying for you and your family and your church family.
TCS said... JD,I am at home now and don't have the name of the guy from Richland Hills who wanted to get in touch with you. They are looking for contacts locally in order to help with food distribution.
I understand that the gas shortage here is due to panic, but non the less there is NO gas here tonight. I spoke tonight after bible study to a old college friend who is an engineer in Picayune. He has civil defense clearance but was afraid to go back due to being advised by another fellow college friend who works for MDOT that Hattiesburg and south are suffering from desperate people, looting, robbing anyone with gas, water, etc. So even if he could carry enough gas to get back he might loose it. So be careful. It looks like they are calling in more guard troops. We are expecting swarms of refuges here. I don't know about from all locations but for anyone interested, the red cross is taking teams from here on a 4 day committment. You are gone 4 days and then brought back. I will know more tommorrow. Hang in there John! Oh and cellular south said they expect to have some signal in each county on the coast by tommorrow. So IF people's cell phones are arround and charged then you can try to contact them. They recommend text messaging.
trophydave said... John, This is trophy man in Oxpatch. You are in my prayers. My partner and his family were in Long Beach. Have not heard from them. Very scarey. Please know you are in my prayers. Dave
dwhitetn said... Dobber, this is David White, formerly of Orange Grove. Have anyone that you can reach to contact Disaster Relief at 615-833-0888. Our prayers are with all who have felt the effects of this storm.
Danny Sims said... JD... Shoot me an e-mail at dannySims@altamesa.org
if you can or call me at my church at 817-294-1260... We're praying for you.
BR-549 said... You continue to bless me with your faith and perseverance!
Olivia Christine said... Thanks for your update JD. Just know that there are a ton of people out here in California and around the world that are praying for YOU by name. Please let me know what people are needing, our church womens group wants to send care boxes. We love you.
Dee O'Neil Andrews said... Dearest John - I just now for the first time (it's Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m.) have had time to come read your blog to get updated with you and your family. I have been all OVER the country since Saturday evening and have ended up here out in hot, dry, blessed (!) Abilene with my mom. Probably for the duration, which may be two or three months or longer - who knows????? NO ONE can make plans or know WHAT to do beyond one day at a time. I am keeping everyone informed about Picayune and Mandeville and the church with all information I get in on my blog, "Finding Direction, as you know. I am beginning to be in contact with a lot of people and groups who are coming to the disaster areas of Mississippi to help. However, as you all know, the situation is dire and seemingly beyond hope for so many thousands of people across Mississippi and Louisiana. Yet, we must keep our hope and remain calm. I understand completely how you feel in not knowing what to do or how to act next or where to go or what. I feel exactly the same way. But I am being uplifted by all of the many prayers I know have been sent to our Father on our behalf and rest assured that all of our blessed brothers and sisters in Christ in other places will do everything in their power to help us all out any way they can. I personally send all of my love to you and your family and have kept you continually in my prayers as I have endured the past five days, wondering where you were and how you were. I'm glad to have word you are safe. May God show mercy on all who are so terribly suffering and dying.
Jon Mark said... John,What can be said?! We are praying. We've got 160 people living in our church building classrooms and are continuing to take in more...so if anyone you know needs any extra help, let us know. I've been in contact with the Kosciusko church and they are trying to be a 'financial distribution point' for anyone looking to donate money for the hurting church members on the coast. We are blessed enough in the Desoto County area to have a Superintendant who is a Christian and is allowing all of the children displaced by this tragedy to enter the school system without shot records or proof of residency. If we can bless you, John, or anyone you know, come our way. Jon Mark SmithWorship & Involvment MinisterGoodman Oaks Church Southaven, MS
Allen Coker said... John, it was good to hear from you today. I wanted to call but was afraid that you were getting a lot of calls from a lot of places. I love you and your family. I want to help in any way that I can. Our prayers are with you.
dwhitetn said... Jon Mark and John Dobbs, have the evacuees come to Nashville that can make it. We will find a place for them to stay. The Mayor has pledged to help in whatever ways possible. Les Jr. has my phone number.
LC said... We are with the Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team out of Somerset, Ohio. We've been wondering how to get ahold of you. We are currently at the Creekwood COC helping them set up a relief effort. We are wanting to help you in any way we can. Some of the things we do are: help and guide local congregations in setting up a relief effort, bring in volunteers. (we have many volunteers who have signed up all across the US), we bring in tool trailers loaded with generators, chain saws, shovels, etc. We would be glad to send volunteers your way. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org
You are in our prayers
Russ Sharp said... Hello there again, Brother!Thank you for taking the time to reply to my E-mail earlier. My wife didn't realize that one of the very areas that was hit the worst was where I actually was in March of last year. Having witnessed firsthand how intertwined the congregations are in the Mississippi Gulf coast area--and how quickly you draw in someone who is only a visitor, as if I were a permanent resident, it just breaks my heart even more to learn of the widespread disaster, and the effects felt in the Gulfport-Biloxi-Ocean Springs area. All of your congregations are in my thoughts and prayers. This weekend, I plan--along with my wife--to explain to our 6-year-old daughter about what's going on there, so that we can begin to pray as a family for you. It's amazing what comes out of a child's mouth when she hears how much people are hurting...and to know that her daddy was among you and brothers you are acquainted with during that time I was away from her and her mommy last year. If I EVER forget to mention you in our bedtime prayers, I am confident that she will interrupt to remind me.Please remember that I will be praying for your strength as you go through times when you feel as if you don't have time to go through your own grief, because of being there for your brothers and sisters.I hope to connect with members of the Rodenberg congregation during all that will be happening. If you communicate with Brother Roger Mills, please tell him to pass on our best wishes in this trying time.God bless you, Brother!As Paul said to the brethren in Philippi--"I CAN do all things through Him who gives me strength. Neverthless, you have done well that you shared with me in my distress..." He experienced firsthand the fact that Christ is not the only thing God sent to us--he sent us each other!Take care, Brother! Your Oklahoma brothers and sisters are with you in spirit!
yayaJill said... My heart cries for all who are in need at this time, Thank You Lord for this servant and His family May You Lord Keep Pastor, and his Church family in You'r Loving arms.As you know Brother John, my Husband is a Trucker, and some of the Drivers are offering place to stay in Miss.. I am just now learning of this. When I find out more I will be sure to pass this on to You.Your sister in Christ Jill
DJG said... Thank you John for giving us specific ways to help you and yours specifically! Please do post the pictures and keep us updated.
Hoots Musings said... JD,Please continue to let us know what we can do to help. You are loved dear brother!
BR-549 said... I'll be praying for you -- or I should say, I'll keep praying for you -- as you go back "home." May God be bless you and your work. I know your presence -- not to mention the physical goods you're bringing along -- will bless many people.
Thurman8er said... JD, those of us way out here on the west coast hardly know what to do or say to help. Of COURSE you and your church are in our prayers. Thank you for keeping us informed.
evonne6kid said... I am from Tn and am looking for a church that needs our help with immediate needs, food, water, etc. Please email me if there is a known church in crisis.
Dawn said... Brother, our hearts and prayers go out to you and the rest of our hurting church family right now. I am the preacher for the Northside church of Christ in Butler, AL, about 3 hours NW from Biloxi. We would love to help a family in need by accepting them into our home until they can get back on their feet. Please, e-mail us if there is any way we can do email@example.com
God bless,James and Dawn Pasley
TCS said... JD,Just now had a chance to check in on you. I know tommorrow will be tough. That is a hugh understatement. We are praying for you and everyone displaced by this. We are headed that way soon not sure where yet. But so glad that you will be there for others.
Falantedios said... Dear John,Thank God for positive news. Carly and I are praying for you, as is the congregation at Myrtle Avenue. One of the other blog comments asked for information about affected churches. Here are a few that I have gathered so far.
Ocean Springs Church of Christ 1116 Washington Ave. Ocean Springs, MS 39564
Slidell church of Christ994 Old Spanish TrailP.O. Box 130Slidell, LA 70459(985) 643-4826 church(985) 641-6383 fax
Chalmette (New Orleans) church of Christ Assistance being routed through:Cordova church of Christ7801 Macon RoadCordova, TN 38018(901) 754-9893 (Office)(901) 751-2117 (My home number)Website: www.cordovacoc.org
Pam Dobbs said... We've been praying for you all day knowing how difficult today would be. I am sure you are exhausted and overwhelmed. In the midst of all this, God is good. May we share God with others as we go through this ordeal. Let me know if you hear any news about Charlene and the kids. I am worried sick. My love to you and yours, Pam Dobbs
k2 said... jd, give me a call if i can help. you got my number. i mean that! k2
BR-549 said... Met your good friend Paul Franks in Baton Rouge yesterday. He spoke highly of you, which of course did not surprise me. (I posted a picture of Paul on my blog.)
TL said... I've thought of you often. I'm very glad to have my bed. I know that God will get all of you through this and I'm hoping it will go quickly and as painlessly as possible!
k2 said... OH!!! i wish i knew you were coming! i would've liked to see you and maybe even come to life group with you! i wanted to come with cl and the rest of our church group, but my boss had other plans for me that day. i still want to come and help. sorry, but my family is not in a place to help financially right now, maybe in the near future. i'm prayin' for ya'!!!
Cecelia said... I still pray for you and yours daily, John. I love you guys so much my heart hurts. Just know, you know where we are should the need arise. Your sister in Christ....
Dee O'Neil Andrews said... John I have been thinking about you and your family SO much because Tom and I have flooded twice (in 1995 and 2001) and had to do all you're doing (nearly) in your home and move out the first time for three months and the second time a month. It was extremely difficult for us and especially with me being diabetic and having so many medical needs. But, both times we were just one of a few neighborhoods, at most, who suffered the losses, so were able to get all the help we needed from church friends at first and then a home builder out of Picayune to come down with his crews and complete all repairs in an effecient and timely manner. This time, as with you, it will all be a completely different story for everyone involved. I am still out in Abilene at the moment with my mom, but we were extremely blessed this time in that our home did not flood and only received minor water damage from overflowing commodes and AC drain pipe in one bedroom, where Tom was finally able to rip out the carpet today for the first time in the past two weeks. He called me this afternoon to tell me of the even more wonderful blessing that our power is now back on to our house in Slidell, so I can COME HOME!!!! He was bringing all of his stuff down from his office in Picayune, where he has lived since the hurricane, and bringing a "house guest," a young reporter from Oklahoma helping him out for a while, to live with us for a while and he was very happy to be doing so.
I am planning on getting a lot of odds and ends done and together tomorrow (like some Rx's I need, etc), my stuff all packed in the car and my mind together so I can get up very early Tuesday morning to start the long 10-11 hour trip home from Abilene back to Slidell. I want to ask you (when you see this) and all your readers to pray for me as I do all these things and head out on the road because I am not well, as you know, and it is going to be a very long, grueling trip at best. Please pray that I will feel well, can travel well and safely and arrive home safely where Tom is waiting (impatiently, I might add) for me to get back. It has been a very hard two weeks and will be a hard drive home, but I'm just thankful, as you, for all the blessings we have experienced thus far and hope that we can share a generous portion and measure with so many around us less fortunate than we. I just wrote down your cell phone number and will call you really soon to see if we can be of help. Tammany Oaks in Mandeville is engaged as a staging area for everyone else and has undertaken a huge effort to warehouse supplies and to "house" workers in our building to help others. So, if y'all need anything more in Pascagoula, let me know and I will get word to them. Much love to you and your family and may God continue to give you peace and rest as you toil so hard to restore all you've lost.
DJG said... Still in my prayers. I am glad you have a place to go to get away from it all... I hope you feel all the love and prayers being sent your way.
LVM said... Often I gripe and groan over absolutely insignificate little problems that are just normal and that all of us face daily. What you and others in the path of Katrina are enduring at the present time certainly gives me a different perspective of what real problems are, and how ridiculous it is to worry over small stuff. Like you mentioned; most of us take for granted that our lives are safe and we have a pillow to lay our weary heads on at night. While I'm ever thankful to God for His care and abundant gifts on a daily basis, I too often forget it's possible to wake up to total chaos and confusion. God bless you in these difficult times.
Armaedes said... I think it's great that you are keeping up with the things that are important to you even in all of this badness, like continuing church services and this blog. That's very inspirational.
Amanda said... Hey, JD. I got word yesterday that Otter Creek is going to start sending some groups down to southern MS. Are they working with your church? I'm so bummed I can't go--classes are in full swing and I can't afford to miss any. I do send prayers your way.
Raeann said... JD,I just stumbled across your blog as I was looking for further information to share with my home church. I just returned from Ocean Springs last night. I was blessed to be a part of filling grocery / supply orders at the Chruch of Christ there. I came home with the same feeling, the supplys are much needed but the manpower is in desperate need. I am on a mission to motivate our church and hope to return to continue to provide support for those in need. I will add your blog to my daily read and your family and church to my prayers.
Miss Angela said... John and family,My heart goes out to you all, I know you are tired...every day is filled with more cleaning, it seems it will never end. I do appreciate you taking the time to blog, as those of us who know you and know the area are most concerned for all who were affected by Katrina.I have sent money to Gateway for Central, and sent an email to everyone I know asking them to help in the same way. When I was younger, my house flooded, not once but twice. A large section of Tulsa was affected, but of course, nothing of this magnitude. I'll never forget total strangers showing up at our door to help, volunteers bringing food and water and medicine. They are answered prayers. I'm sorry I can't be there to help you, the USAF has other plans for me at present. I'm certainly with you in prayer and spirit. My parents are in Slidell, LA helping with the church there. I told them to come on down to Pascagoula and help YOU.Much love, Angela
BR-549 said... I will thank God for the blessings we take for granted! Thanks for reminding me. John, if phone service is working well again, would there be a good time when I could call you Wednesday? I would like to interview you if possible before the Chronicle's October issue goes to press this week. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
if you are up for an interview. Thanks, Bobby
Well Woman said... Thanks for the reminder to never take for granted the many blessings we have from hot water to a roof over our heads to a place to call home. Praying for all of you,Layla
Danny Sims said... We're praying here. I hope to come see you and help soon.
DJG said... John, I tried to call you but I guess the service is sporadic. I will be back in office on Monday. Take care till then. Donna
Thanks again, my friends. Every word is precious to my heart.