Sunday, August 31, 2008

Just too much to take in

I just love my church. I love the body of Christ. And, I was able to see her at her finest today.

Let me tell you what happened....

I'm sitting in 9:00 church this morning and we were told that we had some Hurricane Gustav evacuees coming to our town and they would be staying in our church.

125+ to be exact. That's not a small amount of people.

Well, about 15 minutes into the service, someone came in and told our pastor that "they" had arrived and we needed able bodied men to help unload and get them situated. 125 of them situated. There was an immediate sense of urgency and "what can I do?"

Ok, so some able bodied men jumped up and headed out of church and began the journey of accepting the 125 people into our home as guests.

About 5 minutes later, a church member came back into the service and whispered into the ear of our pastor that there were children without formula and bottles. I just happened to be sitting right behind him. And, my eavesdropping ears kicked in.


So...I jumped up and went straight into the gym.

The sight of people was almost too much to swallow. The tears immediately filled my eyes.
The lines, the people, the crying babies, the unanswered questions, the chaos. It was almost too much to swallow, but it was also the most beautiful thing I've seen in a long time.

The body of Christ was showing the love of Christ to these people. These evacuees barely knew where they were. It didn't matter who they were or where they were. We are here to serve.

A pediatrician in our church went to the clinic where he works and got formula and bottles for babies, cots were being set up, breakfast was up, out and being served, conversations with a momma of many children and one being autistic, seeing the open Bibles on cots with pens and paper alongside it, seeing the very young moms needing someone to just help them figure this thing out, sorting through the Red Cross info, getting items set up and available for the evacuees to get, realizing that we didn't have enough to get through the night, watching food go in minutes flat.....

You get the idea. It was a sight to take in. The visuals were unbelievable. The conversations with adults and children changed my life. Holding a crying baby that I so badly wanted to stop crying. She has colic. So much y'all. So much.

I wouldn't trade this day of love for all the money in the world.

"We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19

Its easy for me to show love to others. It's in my makeup. It's not that easy for others. But, we can all help and support these evacuees all over the U.S. right now. Please pray for them. This is big stuff. I've never seen anything like this in my 38 years of living.

I humbly lay my head on my bed with my favorite pillows and my full tummy and thank God for my safety. I also ask for Gods presence and comfort to be overflowing in these peoples hearts right now. They need Jesus right now. They need to know He loves them even during the most difficult times of their life.

It's a wonderful privilege to be a part of Christ's body and I pray we all find a way to serve Him today. Whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whoever you are with....please show the love of Christ to all those you meet. It is what we are called to do.

Hugs and blessings....


Holly said...

OH Wow! Way too look like Christ's hands serving. Praying for them. Praying for your church, as they have opportunities to love on them and give them hope.


Unknown said...

OH wow- Thank you so much for sharing that. What I site that must have been! I could see it with you- What a blessing to those people, that your church was so willing to open it up to them. Praise you Jesus that your body stands up and says SEND ME-Lord.

Will you go back and help this week?

CMC said...

This is so amazing and makes me miss serving at FUMC! I wish I could be there to help and to spread God's amazing love and grace. I'll be keeping you all in my prayers. Be a light for Christ!

lori said...

Praying for you all Fran!! I am so glad when they get to see a glimpse into "church" they saw you, what a warm welcoming

jennyhope said...

AMEN!! I wish I was there this morning because I have a few bags of formula in my car. This whole thing breaks my heart.

Denise said...

So precious.

Darlene R. said...

What an opportunity for your church, Fran! And such a grat way to be an example to your kids in how we are to be serving one another.

Matthew 25:36-40

Love ya girl!


Melissa said...

I love when the Body of Christ comes together to help others! What a testimony to HIM.

We have a disaster relief team from our church that left yesterday to drive 18+ hours and get in position to be one of the first teams to respond after the storm. My husband went to Mississippi last January to start building a home that was lost in Katrina. He was struck by how lost the people were. He'd already planned to go back this January. I'm praying they won't find their previous work destroyed by Gustav.

Oh, how these people need more than ever.

BethAnne said...

GReat post. I pray that you and your church will be a light in the darkness to those people and that those who dont know Christ will come to know Him through your kindness.

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

The descriptive details help people to know how to pray. I'm praying God dissipates the storm today. I love the testimony you give to the love of Christ playing out in a practical way. You are blessed to have that love come naturally to you. I have compassion, but I'm not usually the first one to stand up and get moving. I do help, but I wish I were more proactive.

Gran Jan said...

Fran: Thank you so much for sharing this post. I am off today and have been watching the news this morning. Your post has blessed me as I've thought about the moms and little ones and how it must feel to just grab a few things and leave in a hurry, not knowing where you are going or what is going to happen. Thank God HE knows our comings and goings! He is so faithful!

Bless you and your church family for being the hands of Jesus to these folks.

It was a joy to meet you at the Siesta Fiesta! You helped me during the registration and I remember your beautiful smiling face!

Blessings from Georgia,
Georgia Jan
Romans 15:13 <><

MelanieJoy said...

I love what your church is being able to do...and all the love those poeple are receiving. I know that tomorrow I'll be able to find a spot to volunteer. I work with Autistic children so when you mentioned that one it so touched my heart even more. I'm so worried about my bloggy friend Sharon her family is only a few hours right now from New Orleans. Like I said in post on my blog family and students stretch all along the south. Thank you for your prayers and for all your precious church is doing...the arms of Christ...Love to you...all

Melinda said...

Oh girlfriend! I'm both blessed by your church's response and heartbroken at the need for it. Praise God for the way He functions in His body - His hand and feet to serve a hurting world.

I love ya!

Patty said...

My heart breaks for them and I have been glued to the t.v. in watching the arrival of another BIG storm that can change a life in a matter of seconds and the thing is that I haven't forgotten those affected by Katrina and here they go again BUT more importantly God hasn't forgotten them and I pray that he will calm thier fears and give them peace that passes all understanding and I am so happy you are there with the rest of your church serving this special group that God has placed before you. I know your heart and I know you are there serving them, being Jesus's hands to them.

beckyjomama said...

OH, Fran, that was beautiful! I am speechless at His people at work for so many!

I don't know how long they will be there, but we have some formula coupons if y'all need em. They are for Similac and will work for any kind of Similac formulas (regular, sensitive, soy or older babies). Email me and I can get them to ya if you think they would come in handy.

Becky Jo

Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife said...

Wow Fran...What a privilege to be able to serve in this way. We passed car after car from Louisiana yesterday and I felt so helpless. Please love on some of those dear people for me!

Heiress of God said...

Wow what a gift you were given to help people who are in desparate need of love and food and anything else you could have given them. I pray great grace on you and all who have helped int his time of need...

Love to you and yours... In Jesus name!

Unknown said...

Oh Fran, I know what you mean. Our church is assisting evacuees and we signed up to be a host home yesterday.

We ate at a restaurant across the street from our church after the service yesterday and there were a couple of families that also had several teenage/college age students with them. It was pretty apparent they were not all related. They were getting their hotel reservations and host home information sorted out and then talking aobut the news coverage that they had heard about the hurricane. I was terribly sad for them and thinking how stressful it must be. The elder man of the group seemed to be very shaken by their entire ordeal. I just prayed and prayed for them.

Anyway. Our church is mobilizing as well - and I'm not sure how many evacuees they are taking in, but I am sure of one thing. God is going to express His love for these people through us... And, it does make us painfully aware of just how blessed we are.

Shelley said...

Fran, that brought tears to my eyes. We sit a little too far north to recieve many evacuees. I honestly wish I could be there with you. Sitting here, watching the news, I just feel helpless. I would love to hold some of those babies, and comfort some of those mom's. Bless you for being a servant of Christ.

Yolanda said...

Hands and feet.

Lord, protect each and every one.


valerie said...

What a precious testimony of exactly what we as Christians are called to!
I have tears streaming down my cheeks as I sit in my nice, safe comfortable home thinking and praying for all of those who are in the midst of the hurricane.
I have Fox news on watching continually.
I'm praying!
Thanks for sharing this wonderful story about the love your church showed yesterday.

Bev Brandon @ The Fray said...

Wow Fran! I just posted how I love on Monday mornings to hear what God did in His Church and through the sermons but this is like way more than I could take in. Just beautiful. My heart goes out to them. I lost touch with many of our relatives in Katrina. Love love love your heart to serve! God loves it!

Anonymous said...

The church is alive and well filled with Christ in the hearts of man. It is the best of the best when God's people pour out His love! Beautiful recount of a well-spent day. Love, Annette

Michelle V said...

Praise God, that is so wonderful! After Katrina our church took in some of the people who had been staying at the Astrodome and some of our church leaders were trying to contact them this week to make sure they had places to go this time because they all eventually were able to go back, and now will be displaced again. I have been praying for everyone in the path of Gustav!


Cheryl said...

What an amazing opportunity!
My heart hurts for the babies and mommys!

valerie said...

I also want to apologize for not getting to meet you in person in San Antonio. I failed to go back and read all the comments left on my "spotlight" and now feel so bad that people wrote me and I had never checked back.
Things got pretty hectic just before the trip and I would mainly just check back to the Siesta Blog for the main updates.
I so wish I would have met you.
There will just have to be another.
It was a great weekend, huh?
Be blessed,

Profbaugh said...

Oh my Fran. I feel so blessed to have read this post today. Tears are streaming down my eyes. You, my sister and your church are the hands and feet of Christ.

Susan said...

Frannie heart just flooded when I read this post. Our dear neighbor's son headed DOWN to New Orleans at the beginning of the week to be there to assist. He was there after Katrina. He called us from the road on his way down this time...he's 36 years old, saw things down there that he still has nightmares about (he's a special agent) and we could hear the shakiness in his voice. This big old tuff SA with all his guns and weaponery...brought down by the pain of humanity suffering. I am so thankful that it appears the blow was softened this time and I can only rack that up to our fervant prayers because this storm should have been a MONSTER. The weather guys are still floored by its weaking to a two going in. LOVE THAT!

Really rambling here...glad you are there to be the hands of feet of the body. Praying for you, too.

JayCee said...

If we are the body...then you were the hands and feet. PTL! It's the best way to show a lost world that we care and that Jesus loves them. Way to go church!

We are praying!!

connorcolesmom said...

Oh goodness - I can not imagine what they are going through
My fam and I were caught in the evacuation
We had gone to the beach for my dad's suprise 60th b'day party and they called us to say we HAD to leave yesterday
It was almost a 10 hour drive home and the whole time I kept thinking "at least I am going home"
Those poor people from MS and LA
It is almost too much
I love ya my friend

ocean mommy said...

Tears. My heart just hurts for them.

What an honor it is for you all to love on these families. Praying for you all as show them Jesus.

Love you!

Earen said...

Oh Fran...I can only imagine. Our Bible Study group helped out a family who came here from Louisiana last time the hurricane happened & my heart was just broken. May the Lord give you the wisdom you & your church need to help these people. What a wonderful blessing your being in helping...

Lindsee Lou said...

Y'all are showing God's love indeed. I hope they see it too.

This most def. reminds me of Katrina when we had about the same number of evacuees at our church AFTER the storm. Talk about a mad house. We loved on them for a while, then they all went back. All but one. Who actually lived with us for about 6 weeks, her and her son. We love them so much and still see them daily! They even came over for Christmas. My mom has been an absolute saint. I say that because she has by far spent the most time with Jessie than anybody I know. We celebrate their birthday's with them, too. She had her's yesterday. :) They are the only one's who didn't go back, and are not planning to!

I hope they see HIS love in y'all!

Such a blessing y'all are to them.

Love you!


Maryanna said...

Thanks for that encouragement. It reminds me of the love Christ has for us. I'm praying that we all feel the love of God in the midst of our storms (physical and spiritual).

Amy said...

That is amazing! What a wonderful time to share God's love, and a great opportunity to be God's hand. God bless your church in your effort to reach to these dear ones. Blessings.

Unknown said...

Jesus came not to be served but to serve.

It is a beautiful thing when we see Him reflected into the lives of believers.

He Knows My Name said...

fran, i have a prayer request on my blog. thanks janel

Dana said...

Oh, Fran, what an incredible opportunity.

When our church did the same thing with Katrina, I showed up to help. I ended up taking two women and all of their kids to get state assistance. All the while one mom was saying, "Oh you have such a nice van, we had a nice van but had to leave it. I wonder what we will have left." Then at the state office, their were evacuees everywhere, sharing their stories, encouraging one another...It was one of the most humbling days of my life. I will be praying for you all.

Unknown said...

wow this is an amazing post fran...even though i don't understand why some people are enduring this for a second time, i am praising Him that the total damage wasn't as severe this time. and i'm so thankful for churches like yours who are representing well, the meaning of being the body of Christ.

~cassie~ said...

Fran...Thanks for sharing..That is such a blessing...Our God is so Good.

A Stone Gatherer said...

Oh how I love when the church is the church! May you all be blessed and may these people be brought to Christ through your love!

Anonymous said...

That is amazing!! That's what being the body is all about. It's not about a church service, it's about what so many of you stopped what you were doing to do.

I blog so you can get a glimpse into my life as wife, mom of 3 boys, and someone who simply wants to bless others along the way. Have fun and be sweet :)

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