Mike Cope's blog

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Just three hours ago, all four of my sons' grandparents were sixtysomething. But not any longer. Happy 70th, Dad! A 50th anniversary on Sunday and a 70th birthday today: this is a big week for you. - - - - Yesterday my son and daughter-in-law lived across the street from a largely-unused sports facility. But today it is becoming the home for a community of 23,000 refugees from New Orleans. There are already amazing stories in the Houston Chronicle. Just think of all the challenges at the "Eighth Wonder of the World" (Astrodome). How do you feed that many people? How do they all share the showers in four locker rooms? How do you provide medical and dental care to a group that's been what they've been through the past several days? How do you allow the 5000 school-age children to continue their education? - - - - Please continue leaving comments as you hear about opportunities for individuals and churches to help. A good place to begin if you're interested in helping those who fled to Houston is with the Impact Church--a church that knows how to help people! - - - - Please don't miss the last couple entries from Larry James's blog. Here is a sample: Katrina should serve as a wake-up call to the nation concerning the on-going plight of the poor in America. The most vulnerable among us live fragile lives. Things could be so much better. Our weakest citizens could actually be so much stronger than they are today. But we have lost our national will to attack poverty and to overcome it. We've opted for an approach that simply cuts people loose to manage for themselves with few resources and limited options. Then, when a relative handful are successful against great odds, we crown them poster children for the "American Way," forgetting the 99% who never have even a chance of making it out of such crushing poverty.


  • I didn't have time to skim all the comments from yesterday, but there are 3 efforts in the Houston area that I'm aware of that you may consider checking out.

    1) Lifeline Chaplaincy needs about $40,000 as itcares for patients from the New Orleans hospitals being transferred to the Houston Medical District.

    Funds can be sent to:
    Lifeline Chaplaincy
    1415 Southmore Blvd.
    Houston, TX 77004

    You can also get info from their website www.lifelinechaplaincy.org

    2) Impact is involved in a few different ways. This is an exceprt from an email I received from Wes Fikes, one of their ministers -

    What we are doing: 1) Staying in touch with shelters and finding out what the needs are, 2) Passing that information on to anyone wanting to donate,3) Gathering all those donated supplies and taking them where they are needed, 4) Claiming the heritage and reputation of the body of Christ as caretakers and comforters.

    We are planning a work trip to do relief work in the Pass
    Christian, MS. That trip is tentatively scheduled for the end of September. That depends on several factors. If you would like to contribute, the office number at the church is 713-864-5667 and our website address is: www.impacthouston.org

    3) Southwest Central Church of Christ is helping prepare for the 25,000 people being transferred to the Astrodome working with Red Cross and other organizations.
    Konny Cross will be the contact person for all donations(time, money, supplies). So, you may direct inquiries to her at 713-721-5710 or KonnyCross@aol.com. Konny
    will also be contacting local Churches of Christ.

    The impact is wdiespread. There are nearly 2000 in our little town of Baytown. The utility office in Baytown is right next to the Community Center where approximately 500 people are being sheltered. A neighboring park was filled with families playing and picnicing at noon as if it were a typical Saturday afternoon.

    By Blogger Chad, at 9/01/2005 04:27:00 AM  

  • It is sad that many of the victims have been turned away from the Astrodome. (http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/metropolitan/3334074) They are out of money, out of food and gasoline, and all they know is that they have heard the Astrodome has been opened up to assist Katrina’s victims. There may be other shelters or places of respite for them to go, but now they have no resources to drive around to find and locate these places. Their cell phones might no longer work. They might not be familiar with the Houston area. And they certainly do not have access to a computer or the Web to see what’s out there for them.

    Couldn’t there at least be a place set up near the Astrodome that could be a resource for these people? They may not have had to slog it out in the Super Bowl or been bussed out of Louisiana. But they left for safety when they could, and were able to make it through the traffic. They are also in emotional crisis, faced with no homes, jobs, or schools to return to, etc.

    If the officials and authorities are going to turn them away, couldn't they at least kindly give these people some crucial information and helpful guidance? How about some cool water, and then some cash to help them out with their fuel tanks?

    Some of these people will naturally try to seek out missing family members at the Astrodome, but their efforts are, and seemingly will continue to be, exacerbated. I just pray those who are in ‘authority’, assisting at the Astrodome could exhibit a modicum of respect and more compassion for the plight and anguish these families are in.

    Whether they came by bus or not shouldn’t be the issue.

    By Blogger Deb, at 9/01/2005 04:59:00 AM  

  • Great thoughts on our view of poverty. Why do I feel such deep compassion towards those affected by the hurricane, but yet don't feel compelled to reach out to the homeless and impovershed that inhabit my city every day? Why do we classify these refugees as "victims" of the hurricane, yet we view those already homeless or on welfare as "lazy" or "taking advantage of the system" or "no class"?

    Before the hurricane hit, there were hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Americans living in poverty, living on the streets, with nothing. Why didn't I reach out then? As you can see, God's really pricking my heart!

    By Blogger Lisa, at 9/01/2005 05:02:00 AM  

  • Please pardon, I correct my previous comment ... I meant the Louisiana Superdome. As for the 'authorities' allowing people in, according to the Houston Chronicle, they seems to be officials from Reliant.

    By Blogger Deb, at 9/01/2005 05:10:00 AM  

  • Mike -- I had no idea our dads are the same age. Mine will be 70 next month. He was 35 when I was born. I grew up hearing things like "Deana! Your grandpa's here to pick you up!"

    About the storm... our school district was alerted yesterday to start making room for evacuee children in the classrooms. Many families around here are taking storm victims into their homes. Our neighbor has a sign in her yard that says, "Welcome! We love you" so I'm assuming victims are staying there. I plan to go over there and see how we can help. The sad truth is that a lot of these people won't ever be going home because there is nothing for them to return home to. The need is so enormous is hard to know where to start.

    By Blogger Deana Nall, at 9/01/2005 06:31:00 AM  

  • You're right, Deana. There is a temptation to do nothing because it's so enormous no one knows where to start. But what's needed is a lot of people doing something. I just read about a mobile kitchen unit the Florida Baptists sent to the area that will serve 25,000 meals a day. That doesn't begin to take care of the problem. But multiply that by all the other churches and agencies helping -- and maybe there can be a dent.

    Those of you in Houston (like Chad and Deana), please keep the reports coming. Especially let us know how those of us farther away can help.

    By Blogger Mike, at 9/01/2005 06:48:00 AM  

  • Mike, Downtown C of C had a powerful service last night, reflecting on the opportunities we now have to assist the people in the Gulf area and re-connect with those around us. A friend sitting next to me, Carolyn Kee, made this suggestion on how churches could or should help with this situation..."What if every church in America adopted 3 or more of these displaced families and cared for them over the next 90-180 days while they wrestle with getting their lives back in order. It would be like an international student exchange program except with our friends to the south who are stateside. What a great opportunity to extend christian compassion to a desperate population. Take them back to your homes in Kansas, Arkansas, Kentucky, etc. and not only feed and clothe them, but get to know them...stand beside them...kneel with them. What an awesome opportunity for churches to work in the kingdom for a common cause."

    By Blogger Keith, at 9/01/2005 07:14:00 AM  

  • If you would like to provide a home for evacuees, sign up at www.shareyourhome.org.

    By Blogger Jana, at 9/01/2005 07:33:00 AM  

  • I was just told by someone in a discussion forum that the people leaving N.O. right now are "scumbags" and "dregs of society" who wouldn't hesitate to put a knife to my throat if I were to take them in. So my sarcasm kicked in -- I couldn't help myself. Not trying to hijack anything here, but here's the thread: http://www.baytownsun.com/forums.lasso?eda=6437be698d7ce75b952d958d20cb6307&emi=2c89392088aac2d0&eti=3afa8cbeb76eb233

    By Blogger Deana Nall, at 9/01/2005 11:43:00 AM  

  • Friends,
    Our church, Meadowbrook Church of Christ in Jackson, Mississippi, is one of the southernmost churches in Mississippi that has power and the capacity to help. We're gearing up to be a distribution point of sorts for other churches in the country to donate goods, money or people. Plans are in the works now, but please do not hesitate to contact Meadowbrook. We'll have updates and advisories posted online at www.meadowbrook.org.

    Jeff Baker

    By Blogger JRB, at 9/01/2005 12:31:00 PM  

  • Three desperate people's emails from the flooded areas got forwarded to me yesterday and today. I forwarded them to Don Yelton who has agreed, along with Ken Bolden, to coordinate relief efforts for Whites Ferry Road. Don emailed me back that each person had been contacted and helped. Don can be reached at donyelton@WFRchurch.org.
    Love's prayers...Dottie Schulz

    By Blogger Missionary's Missionary, at 9/01/2005 12:45:00 PM  

  • If Christians want to see a more egalitarian society, and minimalized impoverished friend, they need to stop voting for Republicans.

    By Blogger brent crockett, at 9/01/2005 08:21:00 PM  

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