Monday, June 30, 2008

Hope Outreach growing by the day

We are a bit more moved than yesterday and hopefully by tomorrow this time we will be all set up. Finding a location where we can plug into the power, hose in the water and dump water into the proper sewer line can be a bit challenging but it's going well. The power should be ready by tomorrow and then we're in.

We did hear from our insurance company and all we need is a good estimate and the repairs will be scheduled. Bless the estimator.

As we arrived at the church this morning we realized that the Hope Outreach had grown over the weekend. But the same thing started happening, something that is a bit upsetting. It seems that people who have garage sales and can't sell everything somehow think that donating it is the thing to do, some even leaving the price tags on the items. They just toss everything in a box and drop it at the door. Now you might be thinking that this seems like a good idea; I ask that you think again. Just because people have lost everything doesn't mean they should have to accept clothing that couldn't even sell at a garage sale. The Bible tells us to give of our first fruits! Many of the items in the boxes were not usable and then the ladies are forced to discard things which gives them even more work to do on top of everything else. I would ask everyone thinking of donating items to think about a couple of things --- is is something YOU would wear or use? Are you giving of your best or of your leftovers?

We also got the fantastic news that Convoy of Hope will be sending us a complete semi trailer this week. It will be filled with items ranging from diapers to water to bandaids to cleaning supplies to shovels to . . . We are so thankful to Convoy for their wonderful suppliers who realize the needs of the people and do what they can to help! We are getting a forklift lined up along with volunteers to help get things unloaded and stocked into one of the gutted rooms of the church. Pastor A will get the news to the media and we know God will be doing some amazing things with each and every item! Be sure and stay tuned for photos.

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Saturday, June 28, 2008

"What can we do to help?"

This is the question we hear most --- and we always have an answer.

I would like for all of you to refer to Pastor Andreasen's blogspot at and see what all is happening there at Columbus First Assembly of God. He also has links to the local newspaper where you can see videos and such.

I am issuing a challenge to all those who are reading this and wondering what YOU can do to help. Be careful when you ask a question as you just might receive a response! :)

The main need at this time is NON-PERISHABLE FOOD ITEMS! With no place to live, or living with family or even strangers, food is top priority! The food bank at the Hope Outreach in the church cannot keep up with the demand. Pastor A should not have to be going out and purchasing food when we all have it at our fingertips constantly!

I challenge you to challenge yourself, or maybe even your church ??!! to do a food drive, do anything that you can to help us stock this Hope Outreach. Hope is such a key word in disaster ministry. We all cling to hope, sometimes by our very fingernails -- you know the old saying "just hang in there and don't loose hope" --- times such as these when folks are tested to the max with loosing everything!!! --- Hope is life!

Handing someone a box of food, letting them know they and their children will have something to eat -- changing a saddened heart, if only for a short time, is priceless. Seeing the expressions on their faces change -- a smile coming out -- the warmth they feel in their hearts! Isn't this exactly what Jesus tells us to do?

Look back to the Bible where He speaks of feeding the poor and the hungry -- He didn't have restrictions on doing so -- He just simply commanded us to do so!

There is a grocery or superstore on nearly every corner -- every single one of us has access and every single one of us can pick up a couple of extra items! Before you know it we have stocked an entire food pantry and people are seeing the love of God in one of the most practical ways possible! And they DO see Jesus when you hand them the food!

The needs are so great! Meeting them can be done so simply! "What can YOU do to help?"

You know the answer!

Thank you and God WILL return the blessings back to you in ways you never dreamed of!

Until next time . . . "Here I am Lord; send me, send me!" Susan and Monty

Friday, June 27, 2008

100 Miles and --- BAM!

It's nearing midnight on Friday night and even though I should be in bed from sheer exhaustion my mind is still running the race.

We did make it back to IN, with our rig -- but it wasn't easy! We really did well yesterday in getting everything broken down and stored away, clients in MS turned back over to Rebuild Jackson County and saying goodbye to Pastor Lavoy. By the middle of the afternoon we were hooked up and pulling out of MS. Monty had planned to drive into the late night to get as many hours behind us as possible, making today a much shorter trip. NOT!!!!

We had only been on the road for about 100 miles, clear and sunshine and hot day when all of a sudden, at 65 miles per hour one of the tires on the rig blew! And I mean blew! Not just one of those air "leaving" type of flat -- it blew so hard that it blew off a side piece of the rig, the underneath insulation and sheeting and left absolutely nothing of tread! We have no idea what happened and most likely never will. We did get pulled off the side of the interstate and eased up to the next exit where we could pull to the side. Monty got the extra jack out and started changing to the spare when a very nice gentleman came along side and offered his help. We didn't need much physical help but he was such amazing verbal support that we knew he was heaven sent. He even made sure he prayed for us before he left!!

As I crossed the road to try and read a phone number off a sign that might be a company that could get us another spare tire another heaven sent driver came by. He was from the Alabama Forestry Division and knew just the person to call. We had to drive north another 20 miles to the next town where that tire company was. The man was there with the spare ready but also told us to not be surprised if we blew another one on the trip as the tires are older than we thought. Not a comforting thought but it was what we had to go on.

After this 3 hour delay we realized we hadn't had a thing to eat since early morning and it was way past dinner time so we found a little local spot and within the next hour we were back on the road again. It was now dark and with both our nerves quite shot we decided the safest thing was to pull off for the night and start early this morning.

We did just that and over 12 hours later we arrived home! We were only a couple hours from home when a terrible storm came through and added more nerves to our already frayed ones but we made it through. Another evening where we were way past our dinner hour and just as we were leaving the restaurant yet another storm blew up! This one had the skies black, winds blowing all directions but we still trudged through and are now safe and sound at home.

God literally wrapped his angels around us for the remainder of the miles today and we are so thankful that even with the troubles we were able to see Him covering us with His protection and love! I kept thinking that we are for sure making the right move as satan was doing all he could to keep us from getting here! We have learned to recognize his tactics and know he always looses!

We will be resting --- really resting --- over the next 2 days before heading back into Columbus to set up house in the church parking lot. We are excited to get to work. Pastor A and his team have set up the Hope outreach where they are giving out most anything anyone would need and have done such a wonderful job in blessing so many who have lost so much! It will be an honor to come along side them and see what God has in store for all of us!

We thank you for your prayers of safe travel as we felt them, in the literal sense!

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Monday, June 23, 2008

Reaching the community

I apologize for no photos because what we saw today should really have been photographed! And I admit that I am the one who forgot to grab the camera when we left!

We headed back to Columbus for our last visit before we leave and head south to return back north! (confusing? -- you are correct)

This church who has lost nearly everything itself is reaching out to the community on a huge level! Not only do they have a few of the Convoy of Hope supplies there but another local church showed up with a truck of food supplies, clothing and cleaning supplies. They have completely transformed what was the entry of the church sanctuary into a relief supply store. The key thing about the store is that everything is free! People are coming in for clothing and finding exactly what they need, they are getting boxes of necessary food items and the same with cleaning supplies and personal hygiene kits for both men and women! The women in the church have stepped up and stepped into an area they weren't trained for, weren't ready for but have the hearts of service and that alone is all they need.

When we arrived this morning they were walking a lady to her vehicle -- and this lady had just given her heart to the Lord. The women who led her were beaming along with the lady who just got a new lease on life and knew it with every fiber of her being. What satan meant for destruction was turned into a life saving event! Isn't God amazing that way! He always wins!

Pastor A was headed to the hospital to spend time with one of his members and smiling the entire time! He says he feels overwhelmed but this man has such a heart for the Lord and for the community and God is, and will continue, sending blessing after blessings.

Our dear friend in IL sent the safety relief supplies he promised. Today a huge box arrived filled with masks, gloves and shoe covering. Thanks Gary --- what a blessing you are to our ministry!

Another call came in from one of our neighbors here at home saying he had sheetrock mud and paint and he needed directions to the church as he was on his way there. He said he couldn't just sit at home today so he headed to Columbus to see who he could help! Hearts of service that are so full they are overflowing! Disaster ministry --- a wide open field ready for the harvest!

Another call came from Convoy asking our needs. We have been praying for another truck and it looks like our prayers have been answered --- again! We send our thanks and blessings to those who help supply Convoy and other organizations with the ability to supply the needs in disaster situations all over the nation and the world!

It's been a busy day -- a day to see in full view the miracles of our Lord! Monty and I are so blessed to see miracles on a daily basis! We feel we are living the dream and are thankful to all who make this possible!

We might be "off air" for a few days as we finalize the relocation process. We would appreciate your prayers for safe travel and a smooth transition.

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Catching up?

Over the past couple of days we have tried to catch up on a few things in our own home. When you are gone for extended periods of time like we are there are always things that need done when you return.
We are blessed to have our lawn mowed by our dear friends, Gary and Vicky. Yesterday I got to mow -- and if you know me you know that is something I truly enjoy! Monty even joined me (and he doesn't enjoy lawn work) and we got some dead shrubs pulled out and others trimmed. It's days like those that I treasure.
Our neighborhood also had a garage sale and from the looks of the vehicles parked in every corner they did well. I was content to watch from the sidelines! :)
Even within the catching up we are working with disaster relief. Two of our own church family members had flooding in their basements. Steve and Raetta have theirs gutted and are, with the help of Rob (he and the team recreated Ms Darlene's house in MS) they are in the rebuilding stages. They smiled when we pulled up with our truck marked "Disaster Response" realizing that it had really hit home!
Our other family, Dave and Tina, aren't near the rebuilding yet. They are still sorting through everything that was in their basement. They had plenty of friends and family there walking them through the painful process of realizing that some memories must go to the dumpster! Finding photos that you thought were safely stored away and realizing they are ruined can be both painful and emotional but with the help of family and friends they will make it!
We are also working, via cell phones, with our clients in MS. We will be turning them over to Carla at Rebuild Jackson County and know they will be in good hands. It's difficult to work so closely with them, to see and feel what they are going through, and then need to turn them over to someone else. They become family and that involves emotions!
We did have the unexpected pleasure of meeting with a church located about 30 minutes from us this morning. Our dear friend, Stacey, attends this church and she knew her pastor would be interested in this disaster ministry and want to hear more about it. She was right! We spent some time with him and were invited back to do an entire service next month. It is always a blessing to share our hearts with those who truly understand. Thanks Stacey!
Tomorrow we will be traveling to another church located on the east side of Columbus. This was scheduled before the flooding happened so it must be a God-thing! My mother's best friend invited us and we pray they will also capture the vision of ministry within disaster response.
So many things going on, so many directions, and still planning on the travel back to MS to load up our rig and head to the church parking lot in Columbus. As I thought about all those directions yesterday and today I realized even more just how blessed we are to be walking so closely with our Lord!
We pray for Columbus First Assembly as tomorrow they will once again hold their worship service in a borrowed location. BUT -- God is moving within that entire congregation and Pastor A is experiencing the awesome love and provision promised by God. We'll be anxious to hear all about it when we return to Columbus on Monday!
Celebrate the promises of our Lord when you attend your church tomorrow!
Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Beginning . . .

This pile is whats left from the church basement.

Today quite a few trips were made to the local salvage yard! It might be the last day of clean up for awhile. Things need to dry out some and then see how much more clean up will need to be done.

I think I spent nearly my entire day on the phone! Things are happening quickly and keeping up with them is a full time job!

We received emails and phone calls from all areas of the nation, all wanting to come and help. Most are wanting to know what they can do right now to be of some help. We have some churches putting together cleaning kits, a bucket filled with all sorts of heavy duty cleaning items. We have others who are making personal hygiene kits for adults and kids. There are many people who are not showering at home and need to transport things back and forth. And there are those who have nothing to transport.

Sometime after the first of July we will start with the process of scheduling volunteer teams. We are currently working on housing ( my dear mother is in charge of this) :) Her church has volunteered to make and deliver lunches to ALL volunteer teams who come and work with us! This has been their ministry since the storm and what a blessing it has been! And they don't just make peanut and butter sandwiches either --- the menu today was spaghetti with all the fixins! So if working in rebuilding doesn't strike your fancy -- maybe the free homecooked lunches will?! Hey -- whatever it takes!

We are also blessed to have our safety equipment contact over in Illinois who is shipping us a load of masks, gloves and rubber boots! Gary --- you are such an enormous blessing!!!! All I had to do was pick up the phone!!! Bless you!

Another call came in with a large donation of water that will be working its way to us. Water is something you just cannot have too much of! We might be able to live without food for a few days but never without water!

For all of you who have called, emailed or contacted someone who contacted us --- thank you and bless you! We are working as quickly as we can in getting things relocated from the south to here and we feel so blessed to be doing what we can to rebuild lives by rebuilding homes and show Jesus to those who have their eyes wide open looking for Him.

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It's official

This photo may require you to click on it to enlarge it and see the photo that is on their porch -- trying to dry it out to save. Blessing amidst the loss!

Just another example of what the streets of Columbus look like today. I will tell you that we have been pleased with the amount of trucks going through the city removing the piles and piles of trash! They actually close off the street to allow the front loaders to push everything into the street and then they load it into the dump trucks. It's a continual process with more trucks than we can count!

Yes, today it's official -- we will be pulling up stakes in MS and heading to Columbus. Pastor A invited us to come and operate a relief effort from their church. Even though their church suffered enormous loss they are concerned about the people in the city and want to do what they can to reach out to them also. We were honored to be asked and were pleased to respond with a "yes, of course." This is the hometown where I grew up and even though I have been gone for more years than I want to admit, it's still home!

Our plan is to leave next week for a return to MS to turn over things to Rebuild Jackson County, hook up our 5th wheel and head north. The trip won't be easy as pulling a rig for 800 miles never is but we've done it plenty of times and know this is God's calling for us at this time. We will miss all of our families in the south but they also knew this might be coming and will be a part of our ever growing family forever!

We will be parking our rig in the parking lot of the church which means "home sweet home" for us. If you know us you know that is exactly where we lived for over a year and a half! Our dogs are quite comfortable with pavement as their yard, even with the grass next door. Please continue to keep all of us in your prayers as we venture into another relief effort.

Today we made visits to a couple of other relief agencies setting up shop and quickly realized they are all in the same boat of never having done anything like this before. The United Way has set up shop for anyone needing help and anyone wanting to volunteer and the woman who is heading up the entire thing was overwhelmed to tears when we spoke to her. It is our hope that we can help them out since we have walked this walk before and can see beyond the "now" into what needs to be done next. We realize more and more each day how God has prepared us over the last years. We are so thankful that even though we have no idea what is next in our lives He holds the entire plan! Daily trusting in that plan is our goal!

Our mission will remain as it has always been; help the people and pray for God to use our feeble hands, feet and all of us to accomplish His plan! Once again, we are living the dream and pray we will be able to continue doing so for as long as He calls us!

Thank you to all of you and please be sure to stay tuned as we begin a new chapter in disaster ministry. God is in the business of miracle working and what a blessing it is for us to see them happening daily!

Please continue to pray for Pastor A as they face some very difficult decisions about the devastation at the church. Pray for guidance, wisdom and strength!

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Looks like alot of very long white balloons, don't they. This is something new for us. These are plastic tubes which are placed all over buildings here in the flooded area. They force extremely strong wind through them. Every few feet there are small holes in the plastic where the air is forced out. It is a really awesome way to try and dry out the buildings. These are inside the First Assembly Church and run 24/7. The generators that run them are sitting outside the building. They seem to do a really good job.

The clean up continues day and night. So far we have been blessed with sunny skies and today the temps were in the mid 70's with a light breeze, great for more drying.

We were at the church yesterday and saw Pastor A's wife, Tammy, clothed in her bright yellow boots that came up to her knees, air mask and gloves. She and the clean up teams, which were clad in hazmat suits and respirators, where in the basement of the church trying to clean and salvage anything and everything they could. Tammy is the children's ministry director and just the thought of all the property used going to the streets into a trash pile was a difficult thought. She had alot of things stored in plastic totes but water reached nearly everything. It makes the decision of power washing and attempting to dry or calling it a loss very rough on one's emotions. They continue to work away, tireless and yet exhausted.

People continue to stop by the church looking for cleaning supplies, food and water. Although we have given out everything from the Convoy of Hope outreach we are able to direct them to places listed in the local newspaper. Everyone is exhausted, everyone is operating on auto-pilot but everyone continues going forward.

The church held their Sunday services in a "borrowed" location of another local church that was unharmed. The time was different, the location was different, the members had to sit in pews that were not their normal ones --- but everyone came with praise and thanksgiving in their hearts and everyone left with their faith uplifted and renewed! God is an amazing God!

We will be returning tomorrow, meeting with some other relief agencies, assisting wherever we can. Please continue to pray for the entire community, and all of those surrounding us who were also flooded. It seems our city sits directly in the center with devastation all around us in every direction. We all count our blessings and everyone is praying for those in Iowa who are faced with even deeper flood waters and loss.

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Sunday, June 15, 2008

What if . . .

What if the entrance to your church looked like this when you walked in this morning?
What if those expensive puppets laying on the parking lot, covered in mud where what you planned on using in your childrens ministry this morning?
What if that was the platform your Pastor was to preach from in your church this morning?
What if you drove into the parking lot, read the note on the church door and found out church was being held someplace else and at a different time?
What if you went to the new "borrowed" church location and couldn't sit in your normal seat in your normal church pew?
What if all you had to wear this morning were the clothes you had on your back when you left your home last week during the flood?
What if you couldn't get to church because your car had gone underwater and was ruined?
What if you had nothing to eat before going to church this morning because you had no power in your damaged home?
What if you couldn't take a shower before going to church this morning because you had no water?
And what if all of this was going on and it was supposed to be the day you and your family celebrated Father's Day?
THIS is the reality so many faced in Columbus, Indiana today.
THIS is the reality so many will continue to face in Columbus, Indiana --- until we all step up and step out in faith and show God's love in a really practical way by rolling up our sleeves and putting on our boots and gloves and going and helping!!!!!
Think about these things and then thank God for the blessings you had today and with God's grace will have tomorrow!
We will be returning tomorrow to meet with Pastor A and see what else we can do to help!
Until next time . . . please continue your prayers. Susan and Monty
PS. To the church at Lakeview in Indianapolis and Pastor Steve's church in Seymour ---- get ready to return!! We'll be in touch!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Faces of service

These are just a few of the faces of service from today, the 3rd day of handing out relief supplies. The sun was hot, beating down on everyone leaving most looking quite red before the day was half over. No one complained, they just loaded and loaded and loaded vehicles with supplies. Some were going out into the neighborhoods to reach those who couldn't get in. Others were families with nothing, just looking for a ray of hope. EVERYONE received prayer before they left and ALL felt better as they drove away.
Our "guesstimated" total of families that were served over the past 3 days is around 1500! And there are 1500 homes damaged from the flooding. One of those God-things!
The newspaper is full of stories but one that caught my eye was entitled "Helping Hands, Churches show support, hope to flood victims." If I might quote a line: "The furry of floods and tornados remind us that we are just little people after all. With all of our advancement there are foces at work that are much greater than we. In that reality we find what we need more than most anything . . . humility. Humility allows us to do what we were created to do . . . care for one another even over our own wants or desires." Quite powerful, isn't it! And even more --- truth to the core!
I could give you all sorts of statistics but I would rather share an email I received this evening. This explains another side of ministry that takes place in disaster ministry -- the kind that happens within the teams of volunteers that come to serve.
"I was one of the workers who helped distribute goods Friday at church. When I volunteered I had no idea where my collegue and I would be placed. It was exciting that God placed us with other believers to serve the needy in Columbus, but also to serve our great God!
As a side note of what God was doing with this day was the opportunity for my collegue to see the body of Christ at work.
He is from India and is a nominal Hindu. The time he had to serve with other Christians raised questions on our trip home, which included the opportunity to share with him, in detail, the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What a joy to see how God opened this door.
He was not ready to respond because he is caught with a "good works" mentality, but he now knows the reason Christ had to die for every one of us.
You never know at the beginning of the day what God is going to do, but this day was one of multiple blessings and you guys were a part of that blessing.
Thanks for your servant hearts."
Pretty powerful stuff!
We hope all of you fathers have a wonderful and blessed Father's Day! I would like to take this opportunity to thank my daddy for the Christian upbringing and the example of service he has set before me my entire life! Love you Daddy!
Until next time . . . Be sure and take a look at the blogspot that the Pastor of the church we have been working from keeps! It's awesome and will shed a new light on things happening. You can find him at
Blessings, Susan and Monty

Friday, June 13, 2008

Three men and a miracle

A second day of people lining up for anything they can get to rebuild their lives.
As you can see, the State Police had their own kind of line up going, complete with their trailers. They loaded up things and went directly into the community passing out supplies while also patroling and protecting. As they started to pull out they all stopped, bowed their heads and prayed! It's not every day you see that! What a blessing they have been to the community! I would imagine they will return tomorrow morning first thing. We already have a suggestion as to a neighborhood we got word of that feels left out. No one has been in that area yet but be assured we will be there tomorrow!
The rest of the photos go with this amazing and miraculous story that came out of today.
The gentleman in the blue shirt came with a team to help distribute supplies. Upon arriving he realized there were plenty of people to do that so he came to me and asked if he could walk the neighborhood and see if anyone needed help with their house. I agreed and away he went. A couple of hours later he returned to ask if there would be any lunch served to those who were working. We told him most everyone took some time away and went and got themselves something to eat. He hadn't come with any money so Monty and I agreed to bring him something when we went. We brought him back 3 tacos shortly after. It was only later in the day that we learned this gentleman found himself homeless only a few short weeks ago and is currently living in a shelter.
When he returned we gave him the tacos and watched him give 2 of them away to the men who had also gone across the street to help him in the home he was working. He also started trying to tell me the story of this man he had found that needed help. He was talking so fast that even I had trouble understanding him! About that time the other men that had been helping him came back and offered to take him with them to get some "real" lunch. He was thrilled!
We have no idea when they returned but late in the afternoon the gentleman who started this whole thing came walking toward me. He wanted me to walk across the street with him to meet this amazing 80 year old man he had been spending his day with. I agreed and away we went.
Amazing is an understatement. It seems this "young" man and his mother (if he's 80 I wonder how old she is!!!) They had been inside their home trying to keep an eye on the weather. When he noticed the water rising near his garage in the back yard he told his mother he better go to the basement and cut off the electricity. You can see the outside entrance to their basement in the one photo. As he cut off the power he turned to find the water rushing inside the basement and in a matter of minutes he was in water up to his chin. As he made his way to the door and tried to open it the earth wall outside caved in and fell against the door----he was trapped and the water was still rising --- and fast. Somehow he made his way to one of the small upper windows in the basement, climbed up on "something" and worked his way out through the window. He literally swam back to the house door and found his mother doing all she could to keep her head above the water that was now neck deep inside their home. He rescued them both to the neighbors' roof until they were carried to safety!
And now, with the help of a couple of family members he has managed to completely gut and mud out his home. Nothing stands but the cement block outer shell and the framing inside. Every single thing is lost and stands in a pile of debris waiting the the dump trucks to take it away. All of his electricity will need redone, his plumbing also and he hadn't even been able to get into the basement. This is where our "angel" comes into the story.
Our volunteer went down into the basement, along with the others you see in the photo, and started pulling out everything that was down there. The mud is nearly a foot deep in some spots and if you click on any of the photos you can see what I mean, full screen. They were covered with mud from head to toe and continued working, never complaining but only blessing the homeowner and thanking God they could be there to help. One of the last things they carried out before starting to haul the mud out in 5 gallon buckets was his washer and dryer --- see for yourself what remained. And that photo was taken after they wiped it off enough to even be able to get ahold of it and carry it out and up those steps!
All the homeowner could do was continually thank us and tell us how his faith in God had carried both he and his mother through with their lives. She is living with relatives out of town and he is staying with others close by. When we told him we would continue to do what we could to help him he was speechless!
And he is only ONE story, ONE homeowner in thousands!! In a community that hasn't had a flood since 1913!!!
We are returning again tomorrow and will continue to show God's love in a practical way doing what small part we can in helping.
Our prayers also go out to the state of Iowa and Wisconsin who find themselves in the same "boat". May God touch and bless and love each one who has lost so much.
Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Where's the Gulf?

How in the world can this be central Indiana? It just isn't possible!
As you can see by these photos they are nearly carbon copies of what cities looked like after the flooding of hurricane Katrina!
As Convoy of Hope rolled in this morning and we once again met our friends with whom we have worked with over the past 3 years we had to really stop and think about where we were in the world! I told Paul that I was certain the Gulf Coast must be just on the other side of the church parking lot where we were located! He agreed!
Everywhere we looked, so many streets, so many houses, so many people piling up a lifetime of living out along the streets for the constant trash trucks to haul it away to the landfill. The pain on their faces, still in a state of shock but knowing they have to shift into survival mode. The go in and out of their homes, masks on their faces and rubber gloves on their hands, pulling out load after load. Sometimes they operate as robots -- not emotionally dealing with any of it. Young and old alike, poor and rich -- all are now on the same level.
As we created our line for people to come through we were faced with the question, "do you have anyone who can help me?" Desperation -- looking for anyone to come and help.
We were blessed to have a large team of volunteers drive down from Indianapolis and they actually divided their team into enough people to cover those driving through and send 3 teams to help 3 who came through needing help. At the end of the day each returning team agreed that the day had been life-changing.
We had them come in pickup trucks, cars and even mopeds. The used whatever they could as so many of them lost their vehicles in the flooding. You can't get a rental car anywhere and the companies are bringing them in from other states.
One woman came through with an elderly lady. The younger one had 2 small children in the back. She lost everything. She told me how she took all her food and put it in her freezer hoping it would last longer and then she lost all power to the house. Everything, including her food, is gone. She was looking for someplace where she could get some food for her and her children. The elderly lady driving --- she had taken this young woman into her home even though she herself had lost everything!
There was story after story, heart wrenching yet filled with hope and faith. We took time to pray with them as they left the last stop. They welcomed each word of prayer and clung to the words as if they were made of gold! The tears flowed but along with them were those words that are meant to express so much and yet don't begin to really express how they feel; "Thank You"
We will be returning tomorrow, ready to unload the next truck that was to arrive this evening. Convoy of Hope is just that -- HOPE. They had some statistics for us today -- last year the US disaster teams assisted with a total of 14 disasters across the nation. This year, to date, with only 6 months of the year underway, they have already assisted in 16 disaster situations!!!! It is such a blessing for us to come along side and do what we can for those who need literally everything! God's blessings to Convoy of Hope and ALL organizations who are involved with disaster response!
Until tomorrow . . . Susan and Monty

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

7 lbs. 12 oz.

Yes, Liv Maris arrived at 8:13 AM and is beautiful!!! She has quite a bit of blondish hair and looks like her 3 yr old brother. All is well with both mother and baby! Thank you for your prayers.

It's been quite the busy day with a new granddaughter and lining up a new relief effort.

We will be heading to Columbus very early tomorrow morning to assist the Convoy effort. They called this afternoon and asked if we would be willing to manage the operations as they need to head north to the Wisconsin area to assess the situation up there. They are planning on a food and water distribution for Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday. Sunday will be off for worship. Continuation into next week will be based on findings from this week.

My parents have amazed me!!! I am so glad they were able to come and visit us last year in MS as they knew just what needed to be done in this situation! My dad has been busy mudding homes and has learned first hand just what muddy flood water does to carpeting! Not a pretty site!

My mother has organized her own relief effort! She stepped right into the annointing God has given her ---cooking! She gathered her church friends and they are making lunches and delivering them to the effected areas and the people working there! No need making the people come to them -- they are busy working. These women will load up their vehicles and go to the hurting! Now there's a ministry! Go Mom!

FEMA and the Red Cross are busy lining things up on their end with getting help into the community. That is not an easy task as 44 counties here in Indiana alone have been declared disaster areas. That doesn't include the surrounding states!

If you are sitting at home, wherever that might be in the country, and wondering what you can do -- there is ALWAYS something you can do! If you cannot offer your hands and feet, you can offer financial support and you can always !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! pray. Prayer brings miracles and miracles are what we need!

Okay --- thinking you can't pray the "right" way? Try just talking to God and telling Him what you are feeling and let Him do the rest! It's just that easy!

Don't know which organization to send support to? If you are reading this you must have access to a computer so get on line and look things up --- just go to disaster relief and see what you find. See who is currently where and who is doing what. It's just that easy!

We thank you for doing what you can and for making it possible for us to continue in this disaster ministry. We all know the cost of things is skyrocketing, especially the gasoline it takes to travel from point A to point B but we also know God doesn't call without provision! We thank you for that provision.

As a "remember" note, all donations for our ministry can be sent to our sending agency at the following address --- with a separate note marked "Monty and Susan" on it. BLESS YOU!
International Gospel Outreach
PO Box 1008
Semmes, AL 36575

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

800 miles to disaster

Yes, we made the trip and the disaster is overwhelming!

We are not able to get into Columbus where my immediate family lives, the roads are still closed. We did see the flooding as we drove into our home area, about 45 minutes away.

What we did see on the news brought back those same chills I had as we watched television the days following Katrina. People in shelters, not knowing where they are going to live. People with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. The flood waters rose so quickly, when the dam and bridge gave way, there was no time to gather belongings. The faces of those still in shock. The piles of what used to be their lives, now just piles of trash at the edge of the streets. The woman who was nearly hysterical because she had been mudding out her home all by herself and was overwhelmed! The cries for help!

Monty and I will be working with Convoy of Hope, once again, this Thursday and Friday as they bring in their relief supplies to spread to those who need them so desperately. We got the call today and are so thankful to be here to help those in my hometown!

From there we aren't sure. So much needing to be done and the beginning stage not even set.

We hope to start with finding the information on those who need help and then gathering those who will donate a day, or however long, to come along side and help mud and gut the homes. THIS is the time for ministry! THIS is the time for all of us to follow the example Jesus set for us, serve!! For all of you who did go and volunteer after Katrina, you know what I mean. You know how the blessings return to you -- more numerous than you could imagine!

So many disasters have already hit over our own nation this year and we're not even talking about hurricanes yet!

We all know that we CANNOT sit back and wait for the government! It is OUR responsibility to reach out and help our neighbors, whether they live right next door to us or in another city or in another state!

Christians -- UNITE and do what Jesus called us all to do!

If you would like to help us in any way while we are here, right in the middle of things -- leave a comment at the end of the blog with your contact info and I will gladly get back to you. Your personal info will not be published here on the blog. If you have mine or Monty's phone numbers --- call us directly!

Thank you for your prayers and continue to pray for so many who have lost so much!

Last and not least --what brought us here in the first place -- our new granddaughter is due to be delivered tomorrow morning! Isn't it amazing how God takes away and gives at the same time! We are so blessed -- grandparents for the second time!

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Monday, June 09, 2008

Disaster at Home

Thanks to all of your prayers I am feeling better!!

I know you have seen the weather news with all the flooding in Indiana. My family lives in Columbus and are being hit very hard with their record floods. One of the dams on the local lake has given way and a downtown bridge has collapsed. The record flood was way back in 1913 and this tops that one!

Needless to say people are suffering greatly. The hospital is closed indefinitely, the one high school is flooded and people have lost their lives. My parents are a farming family and all is underwater.

We will be heading north, originally for the birth of our new granddaughter, and now into who knows what. We are praying we will be able to reach our home as all roads leading to it are now closed.

It is our hope that you will cover everyone with your prayers and if there is any way you can help please do so! The Red Cross is organizing relief along with Salvation Army. If you have mine or Monty's phone, please give us a call!

For any and all of you who have sacrificed yourselves and come here to help--- YOU know what flood waters do. YOU know what these families are facing once the waters decrease! We thank you for your prayers and we thank you for your hearts of service.

I will do the best I can to keep you updated. It might not be easy but as always, I'll do my best.

God's blessings to all!

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Friday, June 06, 2008


Yes, I am still quite "under the weather" and struggling but started medication today and hopefully will begin to regain some energy soon!!!!

Work continues, just at a slower pace than I would like!

We are also preparing to be new grandparents next week and hope to make a trip to see the new little girl -- God willing!

Thank you for your prayers and please keep them going. This bacteria only responds to ONE kind of antibiotic and I am ready for that response!

Until next time . . . Susan and Monty

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


This is very short.

I have been quite ill for the past few days and am still struggling!

All prayers are appreciated. I have been to the doctors but they aren't filled with answers! Seems to be something intestinal!?

Until I am better . . . Susan and Monty