I was pastoring First Baptist Church, Slidell, LA when Hurricane Katrina devastated our city. Every building of our church was inundated. With a certainty of divine direction, the staff and I concluded that God wanted us to minister to the hurting people of our community even while we rebuilt our own facilities. We decided we would open up a Disaster Relief Center on the parking lot of the church the next morning. We didn’t know what we would give folks who came, maybe some canned food not ruined in the storm; but we knew God was telling us to do it.
The next morning we arrived to witness the first of many miracles God would do as He proved Himself strong and faithful day by day, sometimes hour by hour. During the night, some large truck had dumped its load of food, water, and cleaning supplies right where we planned to start doing disaster relief. We had no idea where it came from. I still don’t, except I know God sent it.
Daily God began to send at least one semi-truck of supplies to be distributed to people in need. We never called to request a single one. Everything we needed, God supplied. We borrowed a big tent for the clothes and supplies we were giving away. I said, “We need another tent, but none are available for sale or rent.” My cell phone rang. “Pastor, I live in Texas, and we make tents for a living. If you could use another big tent, my crew will bring it tomorrow and set it up.”
Debris cleared from the interior of the church was all around the building and needed to be moved. I was sitting on the blade of a little bobcat and said, “What we need is a big tractor to move all this junk.” My cell phone rang. “Say pastor, we’re coming down from Minnesota to help you guys. Do you need for us to bring our big front end loader?” We progressed to the point of hanging sheetrock in the building, but we could not find any insulation to buy for the outside walls. I went to my office, which was the front seat of my truck, and prayed, “Lord, remind me of some friend in North Louisiana that I can ask to buy insulation and bring it to us in a U-Haul truck.” I no more then said “Amen,” and my cell phone rang. It was a pastor, not from Louisiana but from Georgia. He said, “Pastor, I’m bringing a work team down tomorrow. We have a big empty U-Haul trailer. What can we bring you?”
In those days, weeks, months my faith grew leaps and bounds as I saw God do time and time again more than we could ask or think. Even now, I often say to the Lord, “God, I’m not saying I want to go through something like Katrina again, but I’m so grateful You didn’t let me miss that.”