New Orleans trip, and a
New Housing project.
Also: Michael Melendrez and his miracle (see comment section). An update is over here .
Exciting News: Rev. Deacon Rolin Bruno of the CEEC conducts baptism at God's Katrina Kitchen, for the Church Army Gulf Coast life transformation program!
This month in our spiritual transformation program we have been presenting the video series “Forty Days of Purpose” and reading Rick Warren’s book “The Purpose Driven Life.” Participants in this included “Choo-choo” and our new volunteer, Samuel. After reading Rick’s chapter on being “Formed for God’s Family”, Samuel was led by the Holy Spirit to seek to be baptized. Samuel and I spent some time together the next 2 weeks praying and exploring the depths of the meaning of baptism.
Last Saturday it was chilly (50 degrees F), and when the appointed hour arrived the sun hid its face from us. Nevertheless, Samuel was undaunted. Taking a break from remodeling a nearby house, he came to the beach to recite his baptismal vows and wade with us into the brisk wind sweeping across the Gulf of Mexico. It was low tide, so by the time we reached deep-enough water we were over 50 yards from shore. James assisted me in immersing Samuel into the Gulf, and bestowed a blessing on him when we returned to shore, where he was greeted and hugged by all. Samuel's baptism will be permanently recorded with the Gulf Coast Resurrection Community and the Missionary Diocese of St. Aidan Lindisfarne.
Samuel is struggling with issues in his personal life and in the dysfunctional lives of his family members. Day by day—sometimes less, sometimes more—he is learning what it means to give up one’s own life and turn it over to Jesus. He is digging into the Bible, and revisiting the 12-step program. Sometimes he will notice a change in himself, saying “Normally, I would have [done such-and-such] when someone did [or said] that to me, but that was the old Samuel. I’m not going back to doing things my old way.” Please pray for Samuel, and for his family members.
BAPTISM PHOTOS (thanks to Mary Giles and Lezlie Anderson).
1: Rolin and Samuel.
2. Preparing for baptismal vows.
3: Video by Ray of the Kitchen.
4: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
5: Back to shore with a new member of God’s family.
6: Welcome into the Body of Christ!
7: A hug from Steve Anderson.
8: A hug from Gulfport resident Thurmon.
New Orleans Trip:
We have begun searching for more permanent (and more house-like) housing here in Gulfport, to provide a sober living home for those who complete the first phase of our Spiritual Transformation program. Rental (and all other) housing is in short supply along the Gulf Coast and is at inflated prices. Our preference, rather than to use up some of the available housing, is to restore one of the hundreds of Katrina-ruined homes sitting vacant all around us. This should not only give us some “sweat equity” in paying for a new residence, but also will help give the men a bond with it and a sense of self-worth.
Whether this project will take the form of a purchase, lease, or simply a rental we do not yet know. We also have no idea at this time how God plans to pay for all this. Next month, with the help of the leadership of Church Army USA, we will begin to formulate a potential funding plan. Please pray for the Spirit to guide us into the right house, the right plan, and those donors that God has already selected to provide this blessing for the hurting people of the Gulf Coast.
Thank you for your prayers and your other gifts for the Gulf Coast, and may the God of Hope bless each of you richly.
….In Love and Peace,