september 20, 2005
'Lord, Send Me': Help Flocks to New Orleans
The sign in front of the large suburban New Orleans church read, 'Closed Today,' but the cars kept pouring into the parking lot looking for food, and water, and someone who would listen. This was a 're-stocking' day in the gymnasium-turned-warehouse -- a time to prepare for the influx of people returning to their homes in the city. But volunteers did not turn anyone away. Instead they loaded the cars with water and directed people to a sister church that was distributing food and other necessities.
I talked with the workers as they unloaded trucks filled with food, water, and relief supplies from Operation Blessing and other donors and ministries.
"We're with Church of the Redeemer in Gaithersburg, Maryland," one young lady told me. "We're here to help the people that have suffered losses to their houses and families from Hurricane Katrina."
The volunteers were from various walks of life -- they varied in age from 20-something to 60-something. They worked in the blazing Louisiana sun wearing hats, sunglasses, and bright orange shirts with the letters PRC. I asked what the letters stood for.
"Pastors Resource Council," the volunteer told me and introduced me to Jessica, the daughter of Dale O'Shields, the pastor who sent this group of 40-plus volunteers from Maryland.
"Churches around the country are funneling their resources through PRC. Because they have so many churches in the Louisiana area involved they're able to get a real feel of what the needs are and communicate those to pastors all across the country. And then the churches funnel their people and resources through PRC to have them distributed."
"There are hundreds of churches and ministries in PRC. Some of the people who are sending resources through PRC include Joyce Meyers, Ron Luce, Matthew Barnett, and the Family Research Council. Their Web site is www.prccompassion.org."
"PRC wanted send our team to different places that had a lot of needs. So some of our team is at Celebration Church on the other side of New Orleans. They've had the opportunity to minister to a lot of people over there. When we have a chance, we take the opportunity to pray with people and talk to them about the Lord."
"We've also had the opportunity to take some of our teams into neighborhoods that still have people. For a couple of days we went into a primarily Spanish neighborhood -- we took some Spanish speaking team members and reached out to them, and provided food. Our doctor who is here with us, she was able to give them shots, like tetanus and Hepatitus A. We've sent some people out to put tarp on people's roofs."
"I think the thing that stands out to me the most are the people who have come through the line because they've lost everything. It's hard for them to know where to start, where to pick up again, because they don't have anything. I had one lady that came through the line twice. She just cried and was broken because she had just lost everything. I was just able to reach out and give her a hug and she just held on to me -- that's really the hardest thing to see because people are so broken."
"But what is amazing to see, and what really touches my heart, are the many people who have lost everything are out there serving at the same time. They realize that there are so many people hurting -- and even though they themselves are hurting as well, they're stepping beyond their pain to help somebody else. We've had people come through this line who have asked, 'Do you need help? Do you need any volunteers?' It blesses me to know that people are able to see beyond themselves to the needs of others."
"There are other people who come through here saying, 'I don't to take something I don't need. That needs to be for somebody else." She smiles and looks out over the long line of cares, then continues. "Of course, you have other people who aren't like that. But the people that are giving of themselves really bless you -- and they help you to prepare to respond the same way if you are ever faced with that kind of circumstance."
How You Can Help
You can take part in Operation Blessing's ongoing disaster response efforts by making an online donation to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina.
For information on Project Church Welcome, click here or call 1-800-700-Club (2582).
Give to help the Victims of Hurricane Katrina through Operation Blessing
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von Buseck on CBN.com