Thursday, March 31st brought many storms our way here in Florida. Most of the weather was just north
of us. Unfortunately we had what is termed, straight line winds that hit the Long Boat Key area just south
of the Sarasota/Manatee county line, right where two mobile home parks reside side by side.
The winds lasted about 30 seconds and happened just before 5 PM. Fortunately the residents who were
home were busy inside their homes. As the wind ripped through the parks it grabbed various pieces of
sheet metal and other debris and hurled it throughout the parks.
As quickly as it started, it was over, yet the work was just beginning. Emergency teams immediately were
called to the scene and began assessing the damage and securing areas where major damage had occurred.
Ed McCrane, the Emergency Management Chief for Sarasota County, called me a couple of hours later to
ask if we would be able to come out early the next morning to help with the relief efforts.
I quickly put out the call to some local folks, including the Barnabas House and prayed that we’d get some
people to come out and help. When I headed out in the morning I still hadn’t heard back from anyone.
Even Mary Jo had a dentist appointment and couldn’t join me until later in the day. I was praying that the
Lord would provide and headed out. Not far down the road I received a call from the Barnabas House and
they had three guys who volunteered to help out. I went to pick them up and we headed to our storage
container to load up supplies and then headed for LBK. By the time we arrived a few other people had also
contacted us to come and join in the fun. Altogether there were a total of 17 volunteers helping out here
and there and we worked on 15 homes. It was a lot of work and everyone worked hard. Bill, Wayne and
Gilead from the Barnabas house, managed to hang out with us from early in the morning until late in the
As always we began the day with devotions. It was about a 45 minute drive to the area that was hit by the
storm and since the Barnabas guys were trapped with me, we read scripture and talked about it on the way.
We then had multiple discussions about the Lord throughout the weekend.
As we were serving, many people came up to us and told us that they couldn’t believe we were helping them
out. As the conversations continued, we were able to share the Lord with them. One lady called our
church and said that she wanted directions because she wanted to attend a church where people actually
lived what they talked about!
The Barnabas House guys were really enjoying themselves and couldn’t believe how much ministry we were
able to do. We took time to pray for people and passed out Bibles, tracks and CD’s. I told them that all
of these people thought that we were there to help them clean up their homes, but we were really
undercover Jesus agents infiltrating their ranks, telling them about Jesus! We then just happened to be
helping them clean up! It was a lot of fun!
The weekend also opened up more ministry opportunities for me and the Barnabas House. As the guys are
getting to know me, we are forming closer relationships. I continue to attend the Monday night Bible
studies. The Sunday we were working, we went to church and all three of the guys went with us and they
really enjoyed it. That following Tuesday I started to disciple one of the other guys at the Barnabas
House and he wanted to do it on Thursday as well! When I showed up on Thursday, he had invited several
of the other guys! The next weekend, they had invited even more people to come to church with us!
Unfortunately since the original writing of this article, the Barnabas House has closed. But through our
time discipling there we continue to keep in touch with a couple of the guys and their walks with the Lord
keep on increasing!