Mark Lewis is director of EFCA Crisis Response. He and his family live in New Orleans, from which he travels to Haiti or Japan or wherever needed, to make disciples and multiply transformational churches in the wake of crises.
Hurricane Katrina: Still Rebuilding Nearly 10 Years Later
Remember, realize, respond
It’s funny how our minds work. I was recently driving south across the 25-mile long bridge known as the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway headed for New Orleans. I’ve made this drive literally thousands of times. If you’ve driven this bridge, you’ll understand why I use it as thinking and prayer time.
My mind brought me back to my first trip across this bridge. It was almost 10 years ago, just days after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast and inundated 80% of New Orleans in the largest natural disaster in our country’s history. At that time, this bridge was closed to the public. The city was sealed off but God opened a miraculous door to allow us access into the city.
I reflected how Katrina impacted the lives of millions on the Gulf Coast, but also tens of thousands of others as they came from all over the US to help. As they served, God started works of transformation. Our family was one of the first. Within a week after Katrina, God had called us to leave our home and ‘normal life’ behind, and commit to leading the EFCA’s Katrina response efforts. This is what became ReachGlobal’s Crisis Response team, mobilizing response efforts around the world.
I also reflected on how Katrina impacted the churches and the EFCA in an unprecedented manner. As John Gerhardt states in the above video, “This could be the churches greatest hour, or the churches greatest disgrace.” Well, the EFCA united around the cause of this city and it resulted in unprecedented numbers and transformation.
- over 20,000 volunteers serving with ReachGlobal Crisis Response
- over $4 million in donations and gifts-in-kind
- a tangible transformation in both the lives of people served and those serving; as well as helping the Church see and intentionally invest in people, versus focusing on projects.
I hit the end of the bridge, headed to the 9th Ward, to meet with one of the many families still trying to get home, and a local church pastor seeking to replant a church in this dilapidated neighborhood. It’s like Central City, where our partner Castle Rock Community Church is located, and where families are trying raise their kids amid empty and gutted buildings. The reality is that we are one of the only evangelical ministries still here seeking God to restore lives and bring gospel transformation into these poor communities, while at the same time, experiencing God’s work in our own hearts.
As the ten year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, we ask that you:
Pray for the following:
- gospel transformation in the people of this city and the communities in which they live
- the churches serving and being planted in the city
Give to support ongoing metro-wide church planting and long-term recovery efforts.
Bring a team to (re)connect with home owners, invest in relationships, and further the gospel impact in the city.