God speaks to us and blesses us in mysterious ways!! God called us to serve in south Lousiana for a few days after the devastating flood. Unfortunately, the day we left was another one of those days when God gently told me, “not today, not this time.” He knew my heart would hurt, and He knew my mind would need to be distracted. He also knew that my sweet Annie Clare would brighten my spirits, and He knew how blessed we would be in return for our service!!
We were first blessed and so incredibly grateful for the donations we received from friends and family!! We cannot thank you all enough! We do know that you will be greatly blessed in return! We received donations of water, clothes, formula, diapers/wipes and money!! All of these things, given by some of you, went directly into the hands of some very gracious people! We will still be taking donations if you feel led to give in any way! Keep reading for examples of how we used your donations!
We met some amazing people while we were there!! People who have been through a lot and a few who admit that they’ve been angry with God. People who have suffered loss after loss and now their homes are destroyed. They were so thankful for the simple reminder that Jesus loves them. I prayed so hard over the weekend that God’s love and grace would shine through us!! I need to share my devotional from that Friday night.
My devotional (from New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp) was this…
Colossians 3:12-14 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, wholly and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another, and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
It goes on to explain how this passage describes our need, our identity, and our calling as a believer in Christ. I want to focus on the the “identity” aspect. God calls us to be His ambassadors. Our identity lies in Christ, and we are to be representatives of His unconditional love and grace. This should be portrayed in every relationship!! Whether it’s family, friends or even strangers! I love this quote, and it has become a daily reminder for me…
“You are the look on Christ’s face. You are the tones of His voice. You are the touch of His hands. You are the physical representative of His grace. This is your mission in every relationship of your life-to make the grace of the invisible King visible.”
Affirmation that we were exactly where we needed to be!! So many people needed the love of Christ!! I pray that we represent Him well everyday, in all we say and do!
Ephesians 4:1-6 “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.”
We serve ONE GOD!! I pray that God continues to form me into the ambassador He created me to be. We don’t have to go far off to serve that’s for sure. We have the opportunity to serve in our most immediate relationships! We can serve by simply showing compassion, being patient with one another, humbly listening, and gently sharing God’s grace. I know there’s some days when I don’t want to be kind to some people, but just think what the world would look like if we chose to serve together, in the simplest ways.
I am only familiar with the Lafayette area, but man, that community is strong and they band together!! This natural disaster is beyond my comprehension! There are entire neighborhoods, hundreds of homes, that have been completely destroyed.
I just want those of you who gave to know a little bit about where your money went!! We started off at Sam’s where we got lots of cleaning supplies, snacks, cokes, etc. On Friday, Nicholas went to help a family who’s home needed to be gutted. The man of that house, buried his mother the day before. Nicholas was a blessing to those folks! Suzy and I started out by delivering food she had cooked, diapers, wipes, hygiene products, etc to one of her coworkers, who still has several feet of water in her home. Then we picked up 3 sandwich trays. We delivered a couple to the home where Nicholas was working, along with drinks, chips and snacks. We delivered the same to one of Heath’s coworkers. We also drove through a neighborhood just offering cold drinks, snacks and sandwiches. One couple, who had not even begun to gut their home, was so thankful for a pack of water, some lunch and a cold drink!
It’s beyond hot and humid down there and everyone was thankful for something cold and something other than water! We packed lots of gatorade! One girl said, “this is such a nice treat.” Her words and look on her face humbled me in a serious way. Something so simple can make such a big impact!
On Saturday we planned to feed a crew where Nick and Heath were working. We planned for 30 burgers and lots of hot dogs. When we arrived in the neighborhood, we saw that EVERY SINGLE HOME was destroyed. We were all heartbroken. We got set up, and I headed back to the store where I got about 250 more hamburgers and more hotdogs, chips, and drinks. We had the grill going for about 6 hours. I have no idea how many people we fed, but man, God showed out and provided for so many! If we were only able to bless one family, one individual, it would have all been worth it, but we (including the 16 of you who gave) fed hundreds. That includes hundreds of smiles and thank you’s!! I will never be able to thank you all enough!
In all honesty, I do not tell you all of this to receive any praise or glory. You all know my heart. It WAS NOT us!! We were just the hands and feet of Jesus! Nicholas and I honestly aren’t able to give like we have been in the past because of our own struggles right now, but when God called us to GO, some of you stepped up in a big way and helped us GIVE!!
Nicholas said there was a big ole guy (in a LSU tshirt) that came up to get something to eat. He wasn’t sure if he was gonna hug him or beat him up, but he had tears in his eyes. He gave Nick a hug and couldn’t thank him enough for the food.
PLEASE continue to pray for the flood stricken areas in Louisiana. Pray for the victims and the volunteers who are working tirelessly to put their lives back together! So many thankful faces that I will never forget!
Suzy still has two coworkers who haven’t been able to even begin clean-up yet because they still have water in their homes. Pray that the water will continue to recede quickly!! Some of your donations, will be going to another family we found out about a couple of days ago. Another family who still has water in their home and they’re struggling to make ends meet. Your donations will provide diapers for their infant, a warm meal, and hopefully some clothes for their two sons.
I know a lot of people are hesitant to donate to the Red Cross, United Way, and other organizations. I am not saying that you should be by any means. They are great organizations! I just know a lot of people, like myself, prefer knowing that my donation goes directly into the hands of someone in need. So far we have raised $1,125. Like I said before, we will still gratefully accept your donations!! We will ensure it is used for God’s glory!!
Our hearts have been humbled. We never seek to receive anything in return. We give because Jesus gives so generously to us and through us. Thank you to the 16 people, and two businesses, who helped us share the compassionate love of Christ!
One of my most favorite chapters of the Bible is 1 Peter. I will be diving into it deeper in my next post, but until then, I leave you with this… 1 Peter 4:9-11 “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”
Here’s more happy for your day…