Back in 2006 I needed a name for the new charity/ministry God suddenly called me to. On my first trip back to Missouri from Mississippi I decided that the proper name of what I was attempting to do was Heart 2 Heart . So Heart2Heart was formed and soon thereafter the word Share was added on the end to separate it from a multitude of others who were also using Heart 2 Heart.
I look back with fondness and thankfulness at the first few months of this new ministry as it was pure, young and driven by the overwhelming desire to share God's love through helping people devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Granted, this was a narrow mission statement but that is where and how the mission started. For a season, before disaster relief politics , a few bad associates and a lack of funds ruined things, my entire life was focused on reaching out to help and bless Christians whose homes, churches and lives had been utterly destroyed by the winds and floods of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
In May of 2006 I packed a few things in my mini-van and drove to see an old acquaintance in central Mississippi. I met him at his farm and we talked for hours about our past involvement in the ministry we served in, his life afterward and mine and about his experience with the hurricane and the devastation around his area which was far north of the actual coast. Late in the afternoon I took off for New Orleans totally unprepared for what I was about to see and experience.
After spending the night in a motel which was more like a prison due to the crime in the area, I attempted to locate a small group headed by another old acquaintance I had previously rekindled a relationship with. This group was in town for a week to work on the mother's home of one of their members. I had signed on to help even though I am anything but a carpenter etc.
Unable to locate this group I found a new place to stay that was not as depressing and took off on an adventure that would greatly influence the rest of my life. Knowing no one and driving where I felt led by the spirit to go, I wandered into a war zone which had been the Mississippi Gulf Coast. All along the coastline there were no buildings, only empty foundations. The hurricane storm surge (measured at 26 feet in some places) had scrubbed the coastline, utterly destroying most buildings and rendering the huge hotels in the area as skeletons.
From 1978 through 1980 my ministry assignment was to oversee the believers in Mississippi. I spent a lot of time on the coast and seeing the utter devastation really impacted me. Growing up in Kansas I had seen what tornadoes can do, but their damage is limited to a small area. I had even seen firsthand the damage Hurricane Fredrick had done along the coast in 1979. But, I had never seen the kind of utter destruction as I saw while driving along the Mississippi coastal highway.
What perhaps moved me more than anything else was that it was then May of 2006 and the hurricane had hit in early September of 2005. From what I could tell, nothing was any different in May than it was in September other than some of the debris had been cleared away. The silence was deafening as I got out of the van and stood on the beach. Literally, the only noise was the wind and the small waves lapping at the shore. Normally there would have been thousands of people enjoying the weather and the beach. There were no people, businesses or life of any kind; just utter devastation.
I have decided that it is time to start sharing some of the incidents, people and emotions I encountered during the most spiritually invigorating and physically taxing time of my life. The people, places and events of 2006 and 2007 are forever etched in my heart and mind, and God has made sure I never have forgotten or in any way altered them. He has now let me know that it is time to tell my story of what occupied my life in the 18 months before I stumbled upon Christian Blog in October of 2007. I pray what I will share in upcoming blogs will bless, edify and inspire you. I pray that reading about what God did for and through me will inspire you to rise up and grab hold of what God wants to do for you and His calling in your life.