Today we received a phone message from the pastor of the church in Mississippi where I was supposed to speak next weekend. He said there was no point comingaround 50 families from the church lost their homesall sorts of other damage/problems. He did say he wanted us to come down as soon as it was possible as a morale booster. As soon as they are ready, we will do whatever we can to do this for them.
Terry Mortenson sent this email report:
I thought youd be interested in this first-hand report from a good friend of mine who lived in Slidell, Mississippi, one of the hardest-hit areas of the hurricane. I just saw Sid and his oldest son at the recent Creation Mega Conference. His house wasnt right on the coast, so it is still standing, though evidently it is a total loss. May the Lord help us all individually and collectively as Christians know how to help in this terrible situation. And lets pray for the Christians in the devastated area to have strength and wisdom with all the decisions they need to make.
I am exhausted. Before the storm, I and my children evacuated to Shreveport to stay with relatives. We didn't hear from my wife, Linda, (an RN at SMH) until yesterday when I went back to Covington and Slidell to get her from Slidell Memorial Hospital, and to assess our home and Northlake Christian School. I stopped first at NCS and Wolverine drive is covered in huge trees and powerlines. So I had to weave my way on foot back to the school. The good news is that the school is in great shape. Apparently there is no major wind or tree damage to the major buildings. I took a few pictures and will send them to you or put them on my website once I get the disposable cameras developed.
I spent most of my NCS time trying to find my class animals in the dark, capture them, and release all that are native to Louisiana. It was very hard to let go animals I've worked so hard for the past two years trying to care for them. But at least they are free and safe. Without power and regular fresh water they would have been dead in days. All were fine. I kept only about 4 of the 30 animals, because they are exotics that do not belong in LA woods and waters.
I then went to Slidell, and as I approached it on I-12, the damage continued to increase - evident by more and more tree damage.
In Slidell, I had to weave my way over powerlines and trees to get back to my home in Westchester. There were literally hundreds of trees in my neighborhood, many in the roofs of homes and many more blocking streets. I had to walk the final blocks to the house.
My home had obviously been flooded with at least five feet of water and foul smelling mud, etc. I don't have any major tree damage to the house, but one big pine is down in the front yard and another in the back yard took out my new fence. As a result, my three dogs have been free and loose for days. Two were still hanging around when I arrived. The saddest thing for us was that my kids pet Cockateil ("Ace") and their two rodents drowned. The only in-house pet that survived was Kathleen's parakeet, "Enia", whose cage was about six inches higher than the others. She apparently hung on to the upper stick while the other bird (her "friend") drowned next to her in his cage. The kids are OK and dealing with it.
The kids are with my mother in Shreveport. Linda was stuck in Slidell, working 7 straight 14 hour shifts (actually on call 24 hours and sleeping at SMH). I have brought her back to Shreveport for a couple of days and the Hospital said if she doesn't report back in two days for work, she will be fired. She wants to return, but the total loss of our home, the dangerous situations with gang members coming up to the Northshore from NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana) makes me reluctant to let her return. While the Northshore is not in the danger from looters and gangs as NOLA is, there were looters wandering Slidell, including my neighborhood. No police can cruise our neighborhood due to trees. I was grateful that I had brought my pistol on our evacuation. I would not use it to protect our ruined property, but our lives are another thing.
We had been considering moving to Covington or above, so maybe this is the time to try. However, financially I'm not sure what will happen to us. We are simply grateful that we are all alive (except for some of our pets), and we know that our Father has many plans in allowing this catastrophe to draw people to Himself and as a result closer to each other. At least, as Romans 8:28-29 says, for those who love Him (that is who are willing to humbly submit to Him and follow His way of self-sacrificial love under the authority---Lordship---of His Son, Jesus.)
By the way, power company trucks and workers are all over Covington, so power should be up and running soon, I hope. I feel so grieved for the NOLA people who are God-fearing folks, trying to survive. I wish I could do more to help them. We have refugees here in Shreveport as do so many other cities now.
Please feel free to send this email to others or post it for those who are concerned. I'll send the pictures soon. When we go back to Slidell in two days, I'll take more pics and try and send or post more details of the area for those who are concerned about their neighborhoods.
As I mentioned last night, if you want to donate towards helping Hurricane victims, we recommend donating through our friends at GLS, to be assured that financial support is given to help peoples physical and spiritual needs. Go to GLS Online.
Tonight, Dr. Jason Lisle (our AiG astronomer) came round well after dark and set up one of AiGs telescopes. We had a wonderful time gazing at the stars and being reminded of Gods greatnessThe Heavens Declare the Glory of God. It was also a time to learn some Astronomy.
Ive enclosed a photograph of the booths that are being prepared for our "Noahs Café" at the Museum. Work is proceeding nicely. (Visit the museum blog for a lot of up to date information and pictures.)
Thanks for stopping by and keep praying