On the morning of Wednesday, August 29, 2012 I found myself sitting at a coffee shop in Germantown, TN with my friend and fellow pastor Sam Shaw. Sam and his church are partners with our church plant in the New Orleans area. He is also a great friend.
That day was a tough one. My family was in Memphis because we were on the run from hurricane Issac. During that coffee meeting the storm was pounding the city we love. We were still unsure if we would have a home to return to in a few days. For someone who lost everything in Katrina back on August 29, 2005 it was a bit unnerving.
Sam prayed with me and encouraged me like great Christian friends do... then he says: "Matt, if this thing is bad and causes substantial damage to your community would you be interested in having 1200-1500 volunteers come to the New Orleans area to rebuild over 100 homes in 8 days?"
WAIT... WHAT?! "Are you crazy" I said. "It's no joke, I'm a part of an organization called Eight Days of Hope and that is what we do when disaster strikes, we show up to help in a big way so we can show the love of Christ to a hurting community." He told me that once the dust settled and we see that there is a need then he would connect me to his friend Steve Tybor, the President of Eight Days of Hope.
Well, as you all know the damage was significant. About 20 minutes from where I live, in Laplace, over 8500 homes sustained significant damage from the storm. So I called Sam and he gave me Steve's cell number. After talking with Steve I still did not believe it. 100 homes in 8 days seems a bit impossible. As a pastor I am not in the business of impossible, God can do anything through his willing people... but this seemed like a stretch. Steve assured me that God would enable great work in our community if it was His will and if we have Faith in Him for the fruit of our effort.
Well, he was right! Eight days of Hope under promised and this week is over delivering. If you asked Steve... it is not because they are special, it is because God is BIG and has a plan for our pain. Hope is being born in Laplace, LA because... not 1200 people but 2500 faith filled people showed up to work on homes in our city! There are not 100 homes being rebuilt but upwards of 350 homes will be worked on this week!
God's love is on display in Laplace and Hope is being born in hearts. Thank you God for the lesson on FAITH. Thank you Steve for teaching it.
Check out the Times Picayune article from today!