September 2018

As I sit here this morning, listening to the thunder outside and the rain pounding the roof of my office, I’m reminded about a solemn anniversary we observe today. Thirteen years ago this morning, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast bringing with it a swath of devastation that has been without peer either before or since. In many ways, it seems like forever ago. In many ways, the feelings and emotions are still so raw it could have happened only yesterday.


We talked Sunday about what would happen if everything we had – all our stuff – was suddenly taken away. Would Jesus be enough? Most cannot answer that question with the certainty that survivors of a storm like Katrina can. I wasn’t living on the Coast at the time, although it was my home. Elgen and I had considerable damage to our home all the way in Hattiesburg, and we were without power for almost two weeks. But, the utter destruction to homes and property – and the resulting body blow to the psyche that comes from enduring something of this magnitude – that occurred on the Coast cannot be fully explained unless you lived there.


I have heard countless stories of how you – my church family – stepped up, “hitched up your britches,” and got about the business of living in the days, weeks, and months following Katrina. I heard about how folks worked on their homes, and then worked on everyone else’s, from daylight to well past dark. I heard how Emmanuel was a staging area for food distribution, for materials distribution, and how our fellowship hall became a welcoming and appreciative home away from home for the dozens of teams from around the country who came, bringing love, hope, and a helping hand when we needed it most.                 


Most of all, I heard story after story of how you would not be beaten. How, when Jesus was truly all you had, Jesus became, in a real sense, all you needed. You saw firsthand the power of Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” You abided in the promise of Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, thought he earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; through its waters roar and foam, through the mountain’s quake it its swelling pride.” You lived 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”


Thank you for being the people you are, the children of God that you are, and the church you are. Thank you for walking out your faith every day. I am so honored to walk beside you. Your testimony will live long after we are all just a memory on this earth. Keep believing. Keep the faith. Keep serving. Keep loving. Keep reaching!


In His Love,

Bro. Heath



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