Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Lagniappe Church has a team that is featured on National Public Radio on Tuesday, August 29, 2006. You can click on the this link to find the broadcast time in your area. If you miss the 'live' broadcast the entire story will be available on the Day to Day section of the NPR website after 3 p.m. eastern on the 29th. The Story is about 'where the Katrina money has gone'. The section featuring the Lagniappe work team is about the rebuilding effort on the home of Mary Perkins, a lifelong Bay St. Louis resident.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina made the anticipated landfall on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Today marks the anniversary of that tragic day. One year ago today life changed for every person on the Gulf Coast- beach drives would be forever different, family estates would vanish in her waters and family members would cross the threshold into eternity. The winds of Katrina blew farther than the coast. They changed cities like Arden, South Carolina; Brookhaven, Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee. They also changed people. The meteorologists called her a Category 5, but there were no categories for the impact which she made. Oceanographers measured storm surge. Officials measured 100 year flood maps, but no one could have anticipated the real impact. Governor Haley Barber reported that 45 million cubic yards of debris have been removed from the Gulf Coast. The closest amount of debris removal from a natural disaster was Hurricane Andrew in Florida with only 23 million cubic yards. Only about half as much. Government reports measure cubic yards of debris, but remember included in that debris were wedding pictures, letters from friends and millions of memories that now exist only behind the tear-filled stories of their owners. Katrina was a strange storm. She drove many away from their homes and many to homes they never expected. She destroyed churches and planted others. She destroyed hope and tilled the soil of a greater hope. She took family members away and began to knit others together as 'family' they had never met. It is important that we remember both sides of Katrina today- the Katrina who took and the Katrina who gave. If we remember only the Katrina who took, then we have only despair and hopelessness today. If we focus only on what she gave, we will miss the heavy, dark backdrop on which the present picture is being painted. Friend, there are many who need your prayers today. Municipalities will have 'moments of silence' in remembrance, but we would ask for more than silence. There has been too much silence since Katrina. There are playgrounds which are quiet, living rooms loud with empty echoes and families missing the laughter of loved ones. Consider more than a moment of silence today. Take a moment to speak. Speak to Katrina's creator. Ask the God who 'stirs up the tempest' and 'quiets the waters'* to continue His work. There is a God in heaven that has purposes greater than what we can see. He was at work last August 29th and IS at work today. Take a moment, even right now, to pray. Ask Katrina's creator to continue His work- on the coast, in us and in His people whom we have yet to meet. There is still an immense need on the coast. Pray that God will raise up men and women to labor with us!I would be negligent if I didn't thank those who have already been the hands and feet of Christ in this community and part of Lagniappe. There are so many who have given so much. I fear if I started 'thanking' there wouldn't be enough time to read all the names. That having been said let me say this: we inherited a great phrase from the Reformation- Soli Deo Gloria- "to God alone be the glory!" May the names of all of us perish and may the coast remember only Jesus and the storm of mercy and love that He stirred long after Katrina had gone. *Reference, Psalm 107:23-31
Monday, August 28, 2006
This morning we were in Jackson, Mississippi for the Governors Prayer Breakfast. We listened to reports from several of the organizations that have helped with the relief effort.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
A few weeks ago, Curt and I stopped at a convenience store to get some bottled water. An older couple noticed the MNA logo on my shirt and offered to buy the water for me (I would not let her and instead bought hers). She thanked us for being here (we hear that kind of stuff all the time), and let us know that the church was making a tremendous difference in the recovery. I think that was the first time I understood what many people have been saying since we got here. She didn’t know if we were Baptist, Methodist, Christian or even Presbyterians. Nevertheless, she identified us as being the body of Christ. That was a great encouragement to me. The body of Christ is quite diverse and gifted in different ways, but together we are advancing the Kingdom through deed ministry. This family did not seem to know anything about strict subscription, creation days, predestination, ordination vows, federal vision, new perspective on Paul, old perspective of Paul, etc. What she knows is that we are here, and we are “The” church, and she is curious why. Why would folks give up vacation days, time away from family, loss of income, endure the heat, and sleep on a cot to gut someone’s home 1000 miles away? It just doesn’t make since. They do know we are committed to something, and they are curious to hear our story. And we are thankful to so. The ground used to be hard on the gulf coast. Now its like powder. The planting is easier nowadays. Now the Church has unprecedented access to reach the lost people living here. Spurgeon says that those who dive into the sea of affliction bring up rare pearls, and Piper says that the pearl of greatest price is the glory of God. Our calling here on the coast is to show those whom Katrina chewed, that He is more to be desired than what they have lost. We do so with hands, feet, and open hearts. God is transforming lives here. One shovelful of muck at a time, one nail at a time, one shingle at a time, one piece of sheetrock at a time, one meal and one prayer at a time and even one bottle of water at a time. God has ordained this great privilege and responsibility for us to build his Church. Pray that we would be faithful to serve well, to use our own brokenness to advance the gospel here and across North America. To make lost people found. Pray, “…that our service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints.” Romans 15:3 Arklie Hooten, MNA ShortTerm & Disaster Response Director Mission to North America
Friday, August 25, 2006
Ryn, just wanted you to know that we miss you and can't wait for you to come back!!!! Absence make the heart grow fonder- it isn't the same without you! P.S. we really don't know when you are coming back, how 'bout a call to the ole homestead?
Happy Birthday to Cody and Allen who share the same birthday! Lagniappe was abuzz yesterday with birthday festivities- Missy cooked on the grill, there were presents and cake- what a great time, and if you notice below, as Andy pointed out below I acutally washed the dishes after the event (which I do well when someone else is cooking :) !!!
We love to see Jean doing something around here. He actually helped out in the kitchen last night after Cody's 13th birthday. We've got a couple of more birthday's coming up soon. Savanna on Monday, and Barb on Saturday along with my favorite, Kate Taylor on the 6th!
note: Prints can be ordered for $7.50 at the LPC gift shop.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
"We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. That is why we have peopled air and earth and water with gods and goddesses and nymphs and elves—that, though we cannot, yet these projections can, enjoy in themselves that beauty, grace, and power of which Nature is the image. That is why the poets tell us such lovely falsehoods. They talk as if the west wind could really sweep into a human soul; but it can’t. They tell us that “beauty born of murmuring sound” will pass into a human face; but it won’t. Or not yet. For if we take the imagery of Scripture seriously, if we believe that God will one day give us the Morning Star and cause us to put on the splendour of the sun, then we may surmise that both the ancient myths and the modern poetry, so false as history, may be very near the truth as prophecy. At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so... We are summoned to pass in through Nature, beyond her, into that splendour which she fitfully reflects."C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory
"The heavens declare the glory of God, the earth His handiwork..." As I left Lagniappe this evening our Father was 'screaming' to the Bay- "I am the creator! I am the one who frames the heavens! I give orders to the morning- It obeys ME!" I couldn't resist- I drove like a parched man seeking water to a virgin spot of marsh to see His heavenly canvas. It was so profoundly beautiful. There were others there, almost drawn to see something beautiful in the midst of the rebuilding. I wondered what they thought as we watched the same spectacle. Were there others in other spots standing in awe? What did they hear as my Father's voice 'screamed'? A God who paints beauty like this is certainly not a random God- all things work to His Glory...ALL things. My Father, the painter- I wish that you could have seen it on more than the blog. He is so good, so safe. He alone is my hope and my rest- it is good of Him to 'scream' at me from time to time. We all need a sunset or two to remind us of the deeper things.
This is Jim. Jim drove from Pennsylvania to Virginia to the Coast in 24 hours to deliver some lagniappe to Lagniappe Church. Jim is a deacon in the OPC (Orthodox Presbyterian Church, our sister denomination). Several months ago David Haney, the disaster relief coordinator for the OPC, called and asked if we could use a Ford 350 dually with tool boxes. Hmmmm, let me pray about that- YES! Jim answered the call to deliver the truck. He flew from his home to Philly and then flew back out of New Orleans to get home. On the day that Jordan and I met him in Slidell- a great spot to rendevous so he didn't have to drive all the way to the Bay, he had driven 906 miles to get to us. It is amazing what people will do when there is a greater purpose before them. He flew home the next morning. (I'm not sure if I've ever driven 906 miles in one day- there are only a handful of things that I think could motivate me to drive like that, most of which would probably involve me on a motorcycle). Men like Jim are what have humanly made Lagniappe what it is- people willng to do selfless, sacrificial acts of service that will never make it to the cover of magazines, but they are the foundational pillars of this ministry. Remarkable and profound. These are the heros of Lagniappe- people we've laughed with, labored with, cried with, people we love, who have done remarkable and proufound things, some of them only seen by the angels in heaven. Spiritually speaking, the trucks, sheetrock and shingles are simply the Lagniappe stones of remembrance. When the dark times come and God's word is a lamp to the feet, lighting just the path before the next step, I can look back at 900 mile trucks and tractor trailers full of sheetrock and believe. God is doing something in the Bay. He is doing something in me. He is building His kingdom. He is faithful and trustworthy. He is enough. He is. We have to believe that- either He is or He is not who He claims to be. Oh Lord, I believe- help thou my unbelief. "Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past;Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last."- Charles Wesley
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Had to comment on Curt's bunny...sitting up late, watching the tube, scanning the internet on my laptop, checking out regular blogs, seeing what is happening in the world- and there is a bunny on our blog...I know, I know- it's about that incredibly generous gift from Kate Dicamillo (thanks Kate!)- but cute bunny. Oh well, I guess only the late nighters will get the sneak preview of recent updates to the blog, but it sure is nice to see a new post there even if it's a bunny rabbit....I'll wait for more to come from Curt or Kate...headed to itunes to download some new music...goodnight.
Through miraculous means best selling children's author, Kate Dicamillo (Because of Winn Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, Tiger Rising) has been kind enough to autograph and send Lagniappe copies of her latest work, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Working with the Bay St. Louis library we will host a Saturday event, to include a reading and book giveaway. For those of you who have not read anything by Kate I would encourage you to do so. The themes of alienation, longing for home, redemption, and rescue are woven throughout. This is one of the best books I've read in a long time.
It is hard to imagine, but one week from today will be the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the 7 month anniversary of Lagniappe. Please keep the people of the coast and Bay St. Louis/Waveland in your prayers. It must be said how thankful we are for the thousands of you who have come and put your hearts and lives into this ministry- we'd love to list all of you by name, but please know that even though so much effort and 'credit' goes unseen, we were touched by your lives. the Bay is different because of your lives. This church is different because of your lives. Your fingerprints are on everything at Lagniappe. Words cannot express how much we appreciate you. This ministry would not be what it is without you, thank you for your lives and love for the people of the Bay.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
The following are words to an old Hymn written by John Newton in 1779. The words are deep and rich. They resound with the truth of human hearts in the midst of suffering and affliction. My favorite words are in the last stanza- "Though afflicted, tempest-tossed, Comfortless awhile thou art, Do not think thou canst be lost, Thou art graven on my heart." Life in Bay St. Louis right now is best described as the 'in-between' days- slow, hot days with no teams and a mountain of work before us. God has been faithful to us. He continues to draw close to us, even in the midst of the struggle. As stanza three says, "'Tis but for a moment's space, Ending in eternal peace." There is something about the pain, struggle and suffering of the 'now' that makes the 'then' so sweet. I find myself longing for the 'then'; longing for a place with no more suffering, pain or sorrow. God bless Hurricane Katrina who sends our hearts toward heaven and the God who framed her who will not allow anything less than Him to give us rest, a painful, severe mercy. Pray for us at Lagniappe and for me- that we will know the comfort of the God about whom this song was penned. *************************** Here are the words to the Hymn: Pensive, doubting, fearful heart, Hear what Christ the Saviour says; Every word should joy impart, Change thy mourning into praise: Yes, he speaks, and speaks to thee, May he help thee to believe! Then thou presently wilt see, Thou hast little cause to grieve. *********STANZA 2****************** Fear thou not, nor be ashamed, All thy sorrows soon shall end I who heav'n and earth have framed, Am thy husband and thy friend I the High and Holy One, Israel's God by all adored; As thy Saviour will be known, Thy Redeemer and thy Lord. **********STANZA 3***************** For a moment I withdrew, And thy heart was filled with pain; But my mercies I'll renew, Thou shalt soon rejoice again: Though I scorn to hide my face, Very soon my wrath shall cease; 'Tis but for a moment's space, Ending in eternal peace. **********STANZA 4***************** Though afflicted, tempest-tossed, Comfortless awhile thou art, Do not think thou canst be lost, Thou art graven on my heart All thy walls I will repair, Thou shalt be rebuilt anew; And in thee it shall appear, What a God of love can do.
Monday, August 14, 2006
We'll have these LPC hats ready to ship this week. $20.00 plus $4.50 shipping. You have two colors to choose from. Black or White.
What exactly does it mean that a Chinese resturaunt is telling me that I will be 'hungry' soon and should order a 'takeout now'? It would seem to make sense if I wasn't already IN the resturaunt, but c'mon. Instead I have decided to simply take the lucky numbers as the real 'fortune', Louisiana lottery watchout! Thanks to Emily Schmidt (intern, Nebraska) for taking the close up at the last intern lunch at Chopsticks, our favorite local Chinese resturaunt! It was a favorite hangout for the interns and a definite favorite of mine- I love Chinese food and already miss the lunches with the 'terns! P.S. Hey terns Los Tres Amigos opened in the Bay yesterday....there was a huge wait, but in your honor I'll always show up at 9 p.m. and be rushed into ordering, number 56 right? Viva la Mexico, but you know what I really love- general Tee-Sooo at Chopsticks!!
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Today I find myself being very 'Bay-Polar' (the Bay St. Louis version of Bi-Polar). We had an issue facing one of the interns that seemed humanly impossible- one of those things that you would hope God would acquiesse to, but really in the back of your mind didn't believe that He would do. Faced with that I suggested we pray (the pastor remember...) and ask the God who owns everything and who can do all of His holy will to act and grant a 'sweet kiss on the cheek' to His child who was so clearly conflicted and needy. God answered. He did exactly as we had prayed- almost in an eerie way. The timing was what we'd prayed for, the exact petition was granted and hearts were ready to receive the answer and give Him the glory. I talked to the intern on the phone this morning and prayed again, not wanting to be one of the nine lepers who were healed and DID NOT return to Jesus giving thanks. I found myself weeping in the prayer (Bay-polar remember...) and thanking God for this 'clear answer' and for the 'unclear ones'. It is so easy to love our God conditionally, to love him when He hits a 'home run', to embrace Him when he submits to our will. I find myself jealous of answered prayer like that- I am surrounded by sheetrock on tractor trailers prayed into existence, bunkhouses built in impossible timing, food, staff, finances and intern prayers being answered, but I so often sit with a downcast spirit- the priest for everyone, but without a priest myself. God is patient with his 'priestless' priests, isn't He? He patiently reminds me that I AM NOT without an intercessor or high priest- He, himself, is interceding on my behalf, very comforting, but hard to see. Psalm 62, Psalm 62...
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Amazing. Surgeon stated he was 99.9% syst was non-cancerous, though they sent it out for tests. What they found was endometriosis. They also removed an overy. This is the third surgery Kelly has had in her life. Normally she experiences nausia from anestesia and has to stay overnight. This time not even nausia. We are home. As I type she is sitting at the table enjoying a boulon cube and water. Very tasty. We are blown away by God's mercy. Another Lagniappe miracle, along the lines of Mormons giving us everything. Personally I think this is bigger. Thanks for your prayers. Since discovering this health issue we have asked God for eyes to see bigger than what we might be experiencing. What we have seen is God's presence throughout the process, visited clearly through His people. Thank you Jesus for purchasing new life for us and bringing us into a new community. Words cannot express our overwhelming joy.
Curt & Kelly
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
"Remember, remember, remember the signs. say them to yourself when you wake in the morning and when you lie down at night, and when you wake in the middle of the night. And whatever stange things may happen to you, let nothing turn your mind from following the signs. And secondly, I give you a warning. Here on the mountain, the air is clear and your mind is clear; as you drop down into Narnia, the air will thicken. Take great care that it does not confuse your mind. And the signs which you have learned here will not look at all as you expect them to look,, when you meet them there. That is why it is so important to know them by heart and pay no attention to appearances. Remember the signs. Nothing else matters."
The Silver Chair, C.S.Lewis (Chronicles of Narnia)
When God visits smiling providences as he has so abundantly, on the Lagnaippe journey and prior, they are a reminder in the valleys when it is difficult to see. Things don't look at all as we expect them to look. Trusting the promises of God during surgery tomorrow. (For those of you who know Kelly is having surgery to remove a "suspicious" tumor from her uterus. Surgery is 12 noon). Thanks for your prayers. God is always good.
Remembering the signs,
Friday, August 04, 2006
To those of you who have been in the Bay and haven't had some of the great chicken that the fine folks from "palmertree pres" cooked, I have to tell you that you've missed out. We also got the new volleyball court in place. It's also a sand pit, in case we need sandbags filled up. I only played a couple of volleys, but I can tell you that it's going to be a fun, new feature to your stay at Lagniappe. Photo's will come soon. Keep us all in your prayers, we've got colds (Chapmans) and as the summer winds down, we are realizing how tired we are. I'm looking very much forward to the break coming up. I can't wait to spend a couple of days resting... Might even go to the beach somewhere. Please also pray for Kelly Moore in her upcoming surgery. Also, another milestone in the offices, doors, and HVAC. Interns: POST SOME PHOTOS!!! Thanks to all of you who have helped make those offices happen. I don't know what to do with A/C and a door. The phone system got finished up today as well. Paul (the phone guy) got the stuff programmed so that I can hit a button, and page the "tern" office, or the kitchen... I know that is common place for many of you, but for us, its like a Rolls Royce.