Just a year ago, most of Georgia was under a severe drought and many were praying for rain. And then a
year later, it came! It rained for several days, dumping over 20 inches in some places, leaving mass
destruction and claiming several lives. Even Six Flags was flooded.
We immediately began making inquiries as to what Relief Ministries could do to help. I was scheduled to
attend a Chaplains training in Dallas and decided to keep my commitment while working the phone and email
to figure out where God would have us to go.
We talked to several agencies, churches and government officials and decided we’d head to Cobb County.
Gene, who was heading up the non-profit disaster recovery efforts in the county, asked us to come in and
cover a specific area in the county. First Baptist Church of Powder Springs, offered us a place to stay and
clean up. There was another disaster relief team staying in the church and they offered to feed us while
they were still in the area.
Brian went with me from our church and we were joined by Jason, who we served with last year in Iowa.
He is from Virginia and he and his wife are starting a relief ministry in their church and he wanted to see
what all happens when we land, to help him in the future. After unpacking our personal belongings and
moving into the church, we set out to contact the local authorities. From there, we assessed the area we’d
been given and immediately made contact with a couple of homeowners who needed our help. At first we
figured we’d spend a couple of days getting things ready, but there was a lot of work to be done, so we
decided to get started early the next morning.
The first home we worked on was owned by a young couple. Another agency had already been in their
home, but had not done a good job. We finished the work and removed the mold.
The next home had been completely submerged under water and it was a mess. We began working on it the
following day. Melissa, the homeowner, had been through quite a rough time personally before the flood
began. She was practically in tears when we broke for lunch. Believing that women should only be
ministered to by women, I didn’t know what to do when God reminded me that there were lady Chaplains
back at the church. Ruth volunteered to come out and talk to Melissa and she decided to get her life back
on track with the Lord! She was a changed woman for the rest of the time we were there! We had some
help from Convoy of Hope on two of the days and ended up serving with a few locals. We were doing
something on her home until the day before we left as we had been blessed with commercial dehumidifiers
and fans from a guy in our church and we dried her home out after it was sprayed for mold!
Jason had to head out on Saturday and we welcomed our friend Patrick, (he’s unaffiliated!), from Alabama.
He stayed and helped us through the weekend.
Sunday, 8 guys, Jon, Matt, Fernando, Marlin, Spencer, Scott, Efrain & James, from the Bowery showed up
along with Bill & Donna from ACTS in Texas. What a boost of energy those Bowery Boys were! I’d talked
to the director at the Bowery about the possibility of sending some of their guys to help out when we
deploy. He said he’d see and this was the first time we deployed since our conversation in September. I
called and he said he’d send some guys. These guys were hard workers! This was the first time since the
Bowery’s inception, over 100 years, that they have done anything like this and it was a huge success, praise
God! I pray that this will be the beginning of a great work that God has planned!
Our mission isn’t to do relief work, rather, it’s that each of those on the team grow closer to God as He
transforms us into the likeness of His Son. As we become more like Christ, the natural outpouring is that
we serve those around us and thus, those affected by disasters are ministered to by God through what
little we can do. I like to think of our ministry being a ministry of discipleship more than anything else and
God has certainly worked in the lives of many of those who have served with us over the years. It was a
great opportunity to share this week with the Bowery Boys and the others who joined us, to God be the
Monday morning we got right to work, and had a rough start as it was pouring down rain, but God was good
and we worked well. We worked on Mohammad’s home, who is a practicing Muslim. He was amazed at how
well we worked together, no cursing, no bickering and at the attention to detail that we gave our work. We
listened to praise music all day and he said he really liked it. When we left, he allowed us to pray with and
for him and he accepted a Bible, some tracks, a teaching CD from our church as well as a worship CD from
CC Merritt Island! We ran into him a couple of times after that and he always came up to us with a big
smile and said how much fun he had when we were at his home!
The next home was a retired couple across from Melissa’s home. Theirs didn't have as much water as hers,
but nonetheless, it had to be gutted. Their son lived a couple of hours away from them and had been
traveling in to help them when he could. He joined us along with a gentleman from the church where we
were staying. It was rough when we first talked and got started as there were a lot of memories that had
been destroyed. Everyone did a great job and by the time we finished, the homeowners were beginning to
have a better attitude. I can’t imagine what it was like for them. We had a good handle on drying Melissa’s
home, so we brought some of our equipment over to their home and dried it out as well. While we were
there a group of Mennonites from PA were being shown around by Gene from the county. He was showing
him some of the houses we’d done and they said they had never seen such good work cleaning up after a
flood, our team was awesome! As it turns out, they are connected to the Bowery and send food to them on
a regular basis! A Godincidence for sure!
The place where we were staying had another agency staying there. They decided to close their camp to
combine it with another one close by. We talked with the church and they said that we could stay there as
long as we needed, we’d just have to do our own cooking, which was fine as I always plan to be self-
contained if needs be. A leader of their group at the state level came in to close things down. He told me
that he didn’t know that we were there and he wanted to make sure we were taken care of so he insisted
that we bug out with them and move to the other church. I told him we were fine, but he insisted so when
we started our evening devotions I told the guys what was up and everything was fine. About midway
through our devotions, the leader charged into our room and said that we were a bunch of untrained
volunteers and he didn’t know what we were doing there in the church or what we thought we were doing in
the community. He went on and on and then said that he didn’t want us to move with them, but he still
insisted that we needed to be fed by them, but we’d have to drive two towns over for each meal. I once
again assured him that we were fine and didn’t need their assistance, but he insisted. I also let him know
that some of us are trained in all phases of disaster relief and that he didn’t know what he was talking
about. He insisted that because we weren’t part of his group that wouldn’t be possible!!?? He then spent
the rest of the evening while he was awake, complaining and making fun of us to anyone who would listen to
him. When we got up in the morning and headed out, he didn’t say much, but we were glad to be on our way.
I checked with the church again to make sure that we weren’t causing any problems and they immediately
apologized for his actions and said they didn’t know who he was or what he was talking about and again,
their church was ours for whatever we needed! Lunch time came and he never let us know where to go for
meals, so we started taking care of ourselves and did just fine, thank you Jesus!
After we finished the retired couple’s home, we moved onto our next job. We unpacked and I headed out
to get lunch for everyone. I didn’t get too far down the road when Bill called and said that one of the
teams that was with the agency that was staying in the church with us showed up and said they had a work
order for the home we’d been working on. Our guys said fine, join in the fun. They said, no way, we had to
leave. Scott commented that we were all on the same team so what was the big deal? They called me and
I just said, pack it up, I’ll head back. A few minutes later, they came in and said they had plenty of other
work to do and we could just stay and finish the home. I got another phone call and continued back to the
church. Before I could get the sandwiches started I got another call. The first group that came to the
home consisted of 3 guys, now about a dozen of them showed back up and stood at the curb facing the
home with their arms folded while the “leader of the pack” went in and demanded that we immediately
vacate the premises as they were going to do the job??? I said, pack up I’m on my way to get you out of
there. It’s not that it takes all kinds, it’s that we got all kinds!!
In the mean time, Brian was off walking in the back of the yard and he slipped on some wet grass and
Georgia clay. On the way down he tried to catch himself and tore some muscles or ligaments in his
arm/shoulder area. He was in a lot of pain but insisted on staying. He put his arm in a makeshift cast, was
the tool boss, chair boss and one armed nail puller!
Our next job was moving the contents of a mobile home into a dumpster in the rain. This family was in good
spirits and the guys had a lot of fun doing this. Unfortunately the home was going to be demolished once
the contents were removed.
We were then contacted by a contractor who had seen our work at Mohammed’s. He was doing a bid on
one of his neighbor’s homes and they asked him to be as low on the price as they didn’t have much money.
Another agency had already been in the home and supposedly had it ready for rebuilding. The homeowner
said that there was 6-7’ of water in her home, but only 4’ of drywall had been removed and mold was
growing everywhere. We came in and finished the job and got rid of the mold.
Things were winding down and we were ready to be getting home. I prayed and asked the Lord that if He
wanted us to stay longer then He needed to bring us more work. The Bowery guys were scheduled to leave
on Saturday and we could finish up what we had on Friday if we pushed ourselves.
We got up on Friday and just before we left for our final day in the field, the church secretary asked me
to call a lady about getting rid of her mold. I told her I would and after getting the guys started, I met
the lady at her home. Once again another agency had begun the work and claimed it was finished, but it
wasn’t. The floors weren’t touched, drywall wasn’t removed, nails were left un-pulled, it was a mess. I
prayed and told her that we had planned on pulling out in the morning, but if everyone agreed to do the job,
then we’d stay. In the mean time Gene had come up to talk to me and introduce me to another lady
connected with Cobb County Disaster Relief. He overheard my comment to the homeowner and told her
that if we couldn’t do the work that she needn’t worry as he could put her in touch with other agencies in
the area, but she should pray that we would stay and do the work as we were the best ones in the area!
The guys agreed, I cleared things with the Bowery and we stayed an extra day to get the job done. It was
all hard work, but we thoroughly enjoyed all of it and would do it again in a heartbeat! Thanks to all of you
who pray for and support the ministry. God is good all the time no matter what we go through!