A welcome back to North Carolina from Florence is not the greeting we were hoping for. Hurricane Florence started making waves for us (rain and heavy winds) September 13th as she made her landfall less than ten miles from our house. Although we have experienced many hurricanes over the years this one was different in many ways. First, it dropped from a CAT 4 (utter devastation) to a CAT 1 (100mph winds). Her decrease in power was a huge blessing. Second, Florence moved at a snail’s pace which means we got hammered by driving rain and strong winds for about 60 hours. Third, Florence dumped 9 trillion gallons of water on NC according to the National Weather gurus. That’s a lot of water! Fourth, Florence made the town I live in inaccessible by road. All roads (small and interstate) were closed due to flooding and damage. No way in and no way out. Fifth, she caused so much devastation that the Coast Guard and other responders spent days rescuing people…..I watched the helicopter fly over our house on multiple missions. We had never seen that before.
As for our home; we came through the storm with minimal damage. This statement is even truer when you consider the many homes and whole neighborhoods that had water up to the second story. There has been significant property loss and the number of trees that are down is staggering. Just on my little road of nine houses, there were 32 trees in the yard, on power lines or on someone’s house.
Although this storm was devastating it also brought opportunity. The four men in our neighborhood worked together for a week to patch leaking roofs, make sure everyone had what they needed and cut all those trees of the powerlines and rooftops. Although it was hard work, most every man loves being a hero (even for a day) and it’s even more fun when you get to help with a chainsaw (man grunt).
For James, the storm gave him the opportunity to connect with four people in the neighborhood who only remembered James from his unruly days. After removing several trees from two neighbors homeJames apologized to them for being such a wild and disrespectful kid to them (they are now in their 70’s). The apology floored them. Since that day James has spoken to the two families several times and looks forward to more great conversations and better relationships.
Recovery is still going on and will for quite some time. Rachel and Caleb have joined a relief team that our church has formed giving all of us the opportunity to serve others within the broader community. Caleb has raked and hauled off plenty of trash and Rachel has served food to people who lost everything. It’s humbling and an honor to serve people who lost so much. In moments of devastation and personal loss, its natural for us to look inwardly to our own needs but Mark 10:45 nudges us to look also to the needs of others. We don’t have to neglect the needs of others while we clean up our own yard. “Jesus came not to be served but to serve”.
The research team has been formed and officially launched September 24th. This team will take three months to explore and collect needed data to help us determine ministry strategy in this needy country. Our desire is to begin recruiting workers in early 2019.
As stated in the recent past our financial support has dropped over the last two years requiring us to make adjustments. At this point, things seem to be stable but we are still in need of new supporters. We are requesting you to consider family, friends, and churches you are connected to that might be interested in getting more involved in missions. You can help by connecting us to the church leader or hosting a small gathering where we could share the ministry and invite people to consider joining us. Thanks for considering this.
James continues to prepare for the Leader Cohort training in November. James is co-teaching several topics and leading a session on Situational Leadership. This training is aimed at 20 emerging leaders making them more prepared to lead others towards the purposes of God.
We are going to be grandparents. I thought that would get your attention. It is true. Moriah and Houston’s baby is due around Christmas so Lynette and James are working on what they want to be called (pops, pap, granny, etc….). We can probably just let the grandchild give us our new names.
- For the continued storm recovery efforts and that the Father’s love would be experienced.
- For the Bangladesh research team. That they would make the connections needed, collect the data and compile it all in a report.
- For James as he prepares material for the leader cohort in Asia
- For more people to join our financial support team
Thank you for your support, prayers, and encouragement,