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Moved by Christ’s Spirit

  • January 16, 2018 01:36 am
  • by: Michael Putnam

Hurrican Katrina

In 2005 Hurricane Katrina devastated coastline areas of American’s Gulf Coast with landfall close to New Orleans, LA. In some locations, the winds were 145 miles per hour and the storm surge of water up to 29 feet high.  Many communities along the Louisa and Mississippi coast suffered severe destruction. A day or so later floodwalls holding back Lake Pontchartrain failed and 80% of New Orleans was flooded, filling buildings with as much as 12 feet of filthy, contaminated floodwaters.

Like many of you, I was horrified by the television images of human suffering, despair, and the lack of basic necessities occurring in that part of the country. I saw an appeal for volunteers willing to be trained by the Red Cross for deployment to the Gulf Coast. I felt moved by Christ’s Spirit to step forward to do what I could to assist those in such need. I received training and became qualified as a Red Cross volunteer, was sent for a three-week deployment to New Orleans, and assigned to a group distributing emergency supplies. My home became a cot, a folding chair, and a blanket on a basketball court attached to a church. I saw God at work everywhere I went.

As a Red Cross volunteer, I often think of Pastor Mark’s stickman reaching up to God our Father and Creator and reaching out to a hurting world. People in great need truly appreciate the things provided through our giving and time. Safe shelter, warm meals, and time to determine what comes next in their lives are all essential to healthy recovery.

Since my initial deployment, I have served those affected by wildfires in California, tornados in Alabama, Hurricane Irene in New York, floods in Louisiana, and Hurricane Irma in Georgia. God has enabled me to set up and operate shelters, provide meals, clean kitchens, clean restrooms and showers, wash and dry multiple loads of bedding and towels, sort a mountain of donated clothing, disassemble shelters, load and unload trucks, distribute emergency supplies, drive emergency response vehicles to provide food in the field, and go through some of the hardest hit areas to be sure people are safe and well and can connect with family, friends, and neighbors. I was never alone for God has been in all those places long before he sent me there. 

I do not like to go, but it is rewarding to know that I saw a need and was able to be of value to other Red Cross workers and to those who have lost so much. I always return home grateful for the many blessings God has given me: my family, home, church, friends, neighbors, and community. I have also been blessed with good health and as I see my 70th birthday approaching, I’m not sure if I will volunteer to go out again or not. I guess I’ll see if conditions are right and if the Spirit moves me. 

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About Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church

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Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church is a Biblical community, in which people from all walks of life join together to worship our amazing God, grow in knowledge and relationship with Jesus Christ,  connect with one another to find acceptance and friendship in the Body of believers, and then scatter to serve the world and our community in order to build God’s Kingdom here on earth.