It has been a few weeks since the last blog post and I apologize for the delay. Among other things, I was sent to Austin, TX for ten days in response to the floods that affected the community. I was sent to train volunteers on a new computer system that the organization I work for launched and, before that, I was beta testing, training, and creating training materials for those involved. But here we are. While in Texas, I was up before 6:30am and down after 11pm. I shared a room with a fellow employee in a Sunday school room at the Baptist church that opened its doors to us. During a disaster response deployment, one meets the most selfless people on the planet. They take vacation time and travel (on their own dime) to volunteer in the country’s most devastated areas. Floods, wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes… They prepare the way for these compassionate volunteers who are there for one main reason: to show people the love of Jesus Christ by cleaning up their home. There is something to be learned by them. Having worked for the organization for three years, this was my first deployment to a disaster. Although I never enjoy leaving Anneli and Keeli behind, I gained perspective I otherwise would not have.
A camera lens cannot capture the smell, the feel, and the enveloping sensation of being at ground zero like being there can. Each homeowner helped receives a Bible signed by the volunteers. I was given the honor of presenting the Bible to the Austin family. They were on their honeymoon when the floods happened and returned to see the first floor of their home destroyed. They had been married for ten days when I first met them. I was also given the opportunity to lead devotions for the volunteers. The day before I left, one of the church members let me pray for his shoulder. After we prayed, I asked him how his shoulder felt. He said it felt great and that he couldn’t hold his arms out like he now could before we prayed.
In my absence from North Carolina, Keeli gathered with believers from UNC-Wilmington and Appalachian State University. Our desire is to know the hungry, the passionate, the laid down lovers of Jesus. The following Tuesday, we met at a house near campus where these students worshipped, prayed, and ministered to one another. Keeli led the students in a prayer to receive the baptism of fire. I love testimonies of the Lord’s power but I am anticipating greater than we have ever seen.
We often wondered why we didn’t feel the unction to reinstate Something More School of Ministry this year. Now, we know why. If we had, we wouldn’t have encountered these students who gather weekly the same night the school would have met. Pray for these students. They realize the campus, the community, and their classrooms are mission fields ripe for receiving the love of Jesus.