Saturday, September 17, 2005

Doing Right In Righteousness

I hesitate to do feels a little creepy...yet I'm not really certain why, I suppose it's because I've seen people take advantage of other's hardship and I don't want anyone to think that's what I'm doing. That being said I've had a number of people ask me via email and elsewhere how they can donate to the family Amy and I are hosting - the Gomez family - or to other folks in need as a result of Hurricane Katrina.

There are several ways: the first I would recommend is to send a check to our church made out to Covenant Baptist Church with a notation that it is to be used for "hurricane relief" or if you want to specify the Gomez family that's fine too. Do keep in mind though that another woman in our church is helping another family currently living in a hotel and our church congregation is working with a Baptist organization that has taken displaced people from the main shelters in town who have "special needs" - that means the elderly, the sick...sometimes the dying. There are plenty of people to help. Another reason I suggest you donate via the church is that such contributions are tax deductible and no "fees" are charged.

That being said, I've also been asked if I would take Paypal donations. I resisted this at first because Paypal does charge a small fee and I'd prefer every penny go to the Gomez family or others not Paypal, but I've also come to understand that people often want to do something NOW. So, after a lot of prayer, today I put a Paypal link on the side of this page, there's also one on Amy's blog and on RealLivePreacher's blog. RLP does ask that you add a note to donations sent via his site that the money is meant for relief efforts since he also uses Paypal to help feed his own family. No one sends Amy or me money on a regular basis so we will know your intent should you choose to donate through either of our sites.

As I mentioned, I was hesitant to do this at all but in truth this is going to be a long term situation. The Gomez family - in all or in part - will be staying with us for some time - quite possibly until the end of the school year as Lee doesn't want to yank John` out of school and disrupt his life any more than it already has been, and I fear that interest in Katrina survivors will gradually fade...such is human nature....while their needs won't. I'm confident God will provide, but I also know God doesn't expect me to sit on my hands during the process so it seems sort of silly not to make it as easy as possible for people to give. I can promise that any donation sent either to the church or through Paypal will be spent -100 percent - on meeting the needs of these families.

If you are not in a position to give please don't feel guilty...Amy and I have certainly been there too, in fact we are still there to a large degree, that's one of the reasons we opted to open our home, because our checkbook opens only so far before it begins to mockingly laugh at matter how noble we might be trying to be.

If you will keep the Gomez family and all of the Katrina survivors in your prayers we would consider that an enormous contribution too. Pray that Amy and I - as well as our church family - can work patiently together to meet their needs and find solutions when problems crop up as I'm sure they will.

This has already been a rewarding, yet heartbreaking experience. Today I took Lee and Ana to a Half-Price book store and Ana lit up like it was Christmas. She found books by her favorite author and couldn't believe it when I told her the hardback editions were only 4 dollars. Lee found the book she had been reading when they were forced to flee their home and was so happy we could buy it so she could find out how it ended! Ana loves to read but she confessed to me she hadn't really read an entire book until she was 17.

I also watched the few minutes of home video Ana shot of the hurricane. I sat on the couch in silence as Ana and her Mom pointed out their family truck which was swamped with water...I stared in wonderment as they described what they were feeling as flood waters reached their doorstep and ruined almost everything in their household. I held back tears seeing video of the dogs they had to leave behind.

That video ended before their story really even began...Ana's camera got wet...but I was able to see their home, a home they were proud of, surrounded by 4 to 5 feet of water. The family feared leaving while Katrina's wrath was still evident and by the time they "rode it out" the flooding had gotten very, very bad. I asked Ana the obvious question, "So how did you get out?" and she replied, "We walked...the water was up to my nose."

I was never so thankful for a wet camera...had I watched any more I'm not sure I would have been able to hold myself together...and I'm certain that's something that I must do. We must all do.

If this little family can leave almost everything they owned behind knowing full well it would all be ruined, the least I can do is try to keep my head together and help lead them back to solid ground no matter how long it takes.

Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; may Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.. -Psalm 143:10
Mailing address:

Covenant Baptist Church
19204 FM 2252
Garden Ridge TX 78266-2554