Monday, September 19, 2005

Impact Oklahoma

In your prayer time, please pray for Cross & Crown's grant proposal with a new organization called Impact Oklahoma. We sent in our application for this organization's very first $100,000 grant award. Impact Oklahoma is made up of 100 women in Central Oklahoma who each gave $1,000 with the idea that their gift, collectively, will help a non-profit organization have a real and lasting impact on our community. What a great idea! Next year, they hope 500 women will be part of this organization ... we do too, because then they'll award FIVE grants!

Our proposal is to fund the renovation of this apartment building. The mission already purchased the building with dreams of turning it into transitional housing for individuals (and their families) who have successfully completed recovery for an addiction. Through our work at the mission, we've found again, and again, a hole in the system where someone who gets clean doesn't get any more help or encouragement after they complete a program. Without a good support system (or a nice and safe place to live), the pull is too great to return to their former lifestyles.

Undoubtedly, there are many worthy and wonderful grant proposals, and Impact Oklahoma will have a difficult time choosing. What a great thing - that so many people in our community are working hard to make a positive difference.

Hope in God

Psalm 42
1 As a deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for You, God. 2 I thirst for God, the living God.
When can I come and appear before God? 3 My tears have been my food day and night,
while all day long people say to me,
";Where is your God?"; 4 I remember this as I pour out my heart:
how I walked with many,
leading the festive procession to the house of God,
with joyful and thankful shouts. 5 Why am I so depressed?
Why this turmoil within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will still praise Him,
my Savior and my God.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Hands and Feet

Here is part of a report written by Mike Osburn, a Cross & Crown volunteer, after last weekend's trip to Louisiana with a group of nine other people from Quail Springs Church of Christ. Actually most of the people who went on this trip are also familiar faces at Cross & Crown where they come to help by serving meals, participating in work days, praying with those who come to the mission, sponsoring families at Christmas and helping with the School Store ...

Mike's report and his pictures about the experience must be shared. We thank all of them for taking vacation time from their jobs, leaving their families and dropping all activities to do this work ... to be the hands and feet of Jesus

"Last weekend a group of folks from my church here in Oklahoma traveled to Slidell, Louisiana, to assist in some of the recovery effort. If you are not familiar with Louisiana geography (which I wasn’t), Slidell is on the NE shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Recalling the hurricane, when it came ashore, it “sucked” all the water in the lake toward New Orleans, thus, the levies failing and all of the flooding in New Orleans. However, as the storm moved further ashore, it “released” and even pushed the water in the lake back toward the north shore. In the attached pictures, you can see that the neighborhood we worked in is right on the lake. Slidell certainly received its share of wind damage, but to compound matters even more, the water level rose 15 to 20 feet and submerged that neighborhood in the storm surge of Lake Pontchartrain. Most of the houses had anywhere from 5 to 6 feet of water in them at one point. (Walk around your house holding your arm straight out in front of you. If you lived in Slidell, everything at or below your arm would have been instantly destroyed.) And, the flood didn’t bring with it just water. All of the mud and muck from the bottom of the lake also stayed behind after the water receded. Most of these houses sat vacant and without power and wet for 10 days before anyone arrived back to begin cleanup. The smell was awful. The stuff in the refrigerators and freezers was rotten. The mold and whatever else was a phenomenon. And mud covered everything.

Most of the pictures are self explanatory but I just wanted to point out a few things. You may ask “how can such a small group really make a difference with all that destruction?” Well, in the grand scheme of things, the impact was miniscule. There will be enough work for everyone who has a heart to help for years to come. But for the 6 families that we were able to help, by moving all of their furniture to a pile on the front lawn, by tearing up their carpet and moving it to the pile on the front lawn, by “squeegeeing” and scoop shoveling all of the mud outside, by helping them try to salvage some heirlooms, by literally removing cars from the front doors … the impact was enormous. We did not begin work on a house until we prayed for and with the family that lived there and the others affected. We did not end work on the house until we prayed for and with the family that lived there and the others affected. We arrived to meet desperate people with more work in front of them then they could possibly get their arms around. As we departed each and every house, the occupants bid us a tearful goodbye and a “God bless you.”

Through this experience, I truly believe that these people were able to see God at work as they began to put their lives back together. I believe we also were able to show them that God loves them and also provide a little bit of hope to some very, very, distressed folks in what remains an awful situation. I do not intend to boast about the work that we did. God used us as His instruments to make a real difference in the lives of some people who desperately needed help. As a result, despondent people got some much needed assistance and we were energized as God was glorified. He touched some people (and continues to touch people) in ways that they have never experienced before, including us. Indeed, to a person, our group feels that we were blessed as much by this experience as the victims we were able to help. All of the credit and glory goes to Him.

FYI, the photos that look like just an open field with debris strewn about … that’s not a field. That is a tributary of Lake Pontchartrain. In other words, its WATER under all of that stuff … including under that Winnebago you see sticking out of the top. (Actually, I think the Winnebago is teetering precariously on the edge.)" - Mike Osburn

Monday, September 12, 2005

Rock Island Progress

She's coming along. Still targetted to open by the end of the year. Evening and weekend work continues.

Poster Girl

It seems Jenny has made more appearances on this website than anyone else. She can't help that she's so adorable! Oh, and that's Doug, of course!

Sunday Night is back!

From the kid antics outside before church started, to the awesome worship inside, a new season of worship began this week. After a summer break, both neighbors and volunteers were anxious to open the doors again at 6 pm Sunday night. There are "regulars" and new faces, families, men and women who are hungry for compassion, spiritual food, comfort food, and most of all, Jesus. Come and see. You will be blessed.

Thanks to all of the food volunteers who provided an awesome meal and to Joy & Richard Neel and Nelson Eubank for leading worship.

There's not an hour that he is not with us, no not one, no not one.