Sunday, October 5, 2008
Three Week Reflection
this photo by Johnny Hanson was published in the Houston Chronicle 9.12.08 the day BEFORE Ike. It is of a well known memorial to the 1900 Storm located on the seawall in Galveston, or should I say, was a memorial. It's my understanding that it was a victim of Ike's furry. The waves in the photo were caused by the storm surge that proceeded Ike and worsened during the storm causing indiscribable devisation.
Three weeks ago Ike made national news. Seems now for the majority of the country this is old news and they have moved on. For the people effected by Ike the news is still current. And very real.
I attended a very small church in San Leon today after attending "early services" at my home church Calvary Houston. I learned that the same Committed Relief organization that had been helping these past few weeks in the Friendswood Community surrounding my home church had now moved south. (The team members are from several Calvary Chapels around the states, for more information including donations click here ).
The Maranatha Baptist Church of San Leon is less than three miles from my home, in Galveston Country right on the shores of Galveston Bay. This area was hard hit, yet perhaps more under reported than the city of Galveston. San Leon is on the mainland and a small unincorporated community.
Morning services were held outside since power has still not been restored. Peeking inside the open doors, looking past the collection of cases of water and other relief supplies I couldn't help but notice the areas where sheetrock had already been removed from the walls. Yet here they were, the faithful few gathered to praise and worship our Lord. The members of the church were joined by this team of relief workers from Calvary Chapels who will be going door to door in the neighborhood of San Leon this week to assist in cleanup.
The service was joyful. The people there, my neighbors whom I haven't met yet, seemed to be very encouraged that fellow believers had come from great distances to help shoulder the burden. As Bro. Bill, the elder in charge since the church is currently without a pastor, said "I've met family I didn't know I had!" Even as my own pastor, Pastor Ron, shared this morning - in Christ there are no barriers of race, religion, culture, or social standing when we have "put off the old man, and put on the new" by being one through Christ. Indeed, it felt like a family reunion, a mini taste of the joy we will one day embrace when we attend the ultimate 'family reunion' when Christ calls all true believers unto Himself. What a glorious day!
While He tares His coming there is work for His bride, the church, to do. Quite honestly I've struggled with this, trying to find "my part" in the big puzzle. Thankfully many have heard the call and rolled up their sleeves to come help with the hard labor of clean up, many have heard the call and are gifted in offering the words of hope and healing. Many have shared their gifts and talents by preparing and distributing meals. Many more by giving of their money to organizations who are good stewards of the gift and use it fully to assist those in need. Indeed, the church, as a whole, is doing what they can to be the light shining in the darkness - not just as a humanitarian effort, as the guest pastor shared today, but as ones who share the gospel first - giving of the eternal along side the temporal. As one of the California team members said - those that come to serve are truly the ones blessed as much or more than those receiving the fruit of their labor. A hard concept to understand if you don't understand the One who gives this peace. Again, referencing Pastor Ron's message this morning, when someone has "put on" the love of Christ then everything out of them flows with His love. When things are done in His name, consistant to His character, then the world can see the hope that dwells in us, the same hope that is for every man. Peace in troubled times. Jesus is that hope. Blessed is he who shares of this love freely through their sacrifice of service.
As a quilter who loves to take tiny pieces of fabric and sew it back into something useful, I've wondered what part can I play in taking back tiny pieces of lives cut up by Ike and doing something useful - what's a quilter to do? A few ideas have come to mind and are in the process of being implimented.
As a quilter I understand the therapy of the quilting process. One friend called me a week or so ago knowing that I had electricity (which she did not) and wanted to know if she could come over to quilt - she needed that stress release. She came over and I assisted her in finishing a t-shirt quilt for a coach at a local Christian school who was recovering from a severe brain injury incurred during the final weeks of school last summer. Her stress release was giving to someone else in need through her gift and talents as a quilter.
The other day the thoughts of quilters who may have lost their abilibty to quilt due to perhaps not having power, or losing their sewing machine in the storm, or their fabric, or just being overstressed by the storm came to mind and those thoughts then turned towards an upcoming class I'll be teaching at one of the area quilt shops these next two Saturdays. I am a certified teacher with Square in A Square technique and thought wouldn't it be a blessing to be able to offer a scholarship to one of my classes? I spoke with the shop owner and she agreed. I'd waive my teaching fee and she'd assist me in putting together a free fabric kit as a needed supply for the class. We also said we'd loan a sewing machine to the scholarship winner if that were a need. I then contacted Jodi Barrows, creator of Square in a Square who gracioiusly will donate the necessary technique ruler as well as an autographed copy of the book that has the pattern we will be making in class to the scholarship winner. Flyers were sent out to the customers of this quilt shop as well as two of the local guilds (one being Island Quilters Guild from Galveston) to nominate a person to recieve the scholarship - someone who would be blessed with a Quilting Girls Day Out. Already we've received stories of our fellow quilters who have lost it all and need this therapy. I'm excited about the class and how it can be used to administer hope, even if it's just playing in fabric. For someone, that will be one more step towards normality.
If you are lingering through this long ramble I hope you will catch this next important opportunity....especially if you are a quilter. There is a need for the love and hope that can come through a handmade quilt (not necessary hand quilted, but made with loving hands). The announcement was made last night on a longarm list that quilts of hope can be sent here to my studio where they will then be distributed to those in Galveston County who have a need for this sort of comfort. I shared the possibility with Bro. Bill at the little church in San Leon after services, he said the need is great for bedding and such. Clothing has been distributed from their facilities and continue to be distributed at the area Christian-run Lighthouse Thrift store in Bacliff. He mentioned that there is also a great need for diapers "from newborn to adult" -- I share that just in case there's someone reading who has this gift of gathering and distribution...me, I'm a quilter (smile) and all I know is to help in ways that I've been gifted - through my quilting and my gift of gab -- urging you who share my joy of quilting to remember the people down south that can benefit from your generosity.
Since this blog is "public" I'd rather not share my mailing address. If you aren't on the online lists where it was posted you may contact me through my email firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be happy to provide an address where you can ship your offering of quilts. With the Lord's help, these will be given to organizations that are already in place and connected to individuals who would most benefit. If you are like many who are able to give with your pocket book, I urge you to visit the Calvary Chapel link as well as Samaritian's Purse (be sure and view the videos) to make a donation to assist with relief efforts.
Again, I realize that Ike may be "old news" to journalist who's job it is to keep us current with NEW news, but the aftermath of Ike isn't over. Please prayerfully consider helping with relief efforts. Prayers are one of the easiest and most powerful things you can do as a believer. Thank you for this sacrifice.
karen o in Texas