Hurricane IAN….one week before
I woke up at 3 am which happens sometimes, but this time I had a bad feeling. The kind of bad feeling that doesn't go away with prayer. It's an up and down the spine bad feeling. We saw weather reports that there were tropical storms brewing and possibly heading towards Florida. Every day it changed, it's shifting towards Tampa, it's going to miss Florida, now it's heading towards Panama, then it's shifting again. Each day the feeling got worse....I got more anxious and then I finally told Nate. We were out to dinner and I told him it's so strong, and I feel it's going to hit Fort Myers. He said, "I didn't know you were having these, let's start calling and prepping." We talked to our connections and then just started calling churches all over Fort Myers, a few people laughed, "it's a little early to tell". They don't know me or these feelings I seldom get but when I do, it means something. I've ignored it in the past, but now I know it's a gift so I don't now. So I said , "we are just prepping as a mission and being prepared to leave if we have to." I gave them all our number and website. As it was hitting, I'll never forget, we were evacuated from St Augustine, being in a flood zone, at a hotel that was completely full. Electricity was going off and on and then off for at least two days. I was sick inside, knowing what was happening to not only people I have grown to love but an area I have loved for ten years now. I was hurting for them. I lost contact with my close friends in Fort Myers...I warned them when I was first feeling it and they told me"It's going to miss us."
Some didn't evacuate. The last text I received when our power was out was, "I guess you were right". I didn't hear from her for three days". Then I was getting a ton of SOS messages on our platform, website and my phone. We got a call from Life Church that day and they were so kind. They wanted us to join their team when they got generators to run the church and apologized for a cold shower and water boil. I told her that soinded amazing! We had a place to rest our heads at night, a microwave, fridge and a shower. On some missions we use wipes or sink showers! We had a ton of names to add to their board and we started doing house calls and resourcing people we couldn't get to due to road closings and bridges out to people who could. I also connected with amazing people from the South Shore Church who sent trucks of supplies which was so amazing. For two days, that's what our days looked like. Helping cut, rake and move trees and sticks, helping people and churches and distribution sites get the supplies they needed and praying ALOT and using God as our light in some very dark moments. He gave us strength every day. I will end this story on an amazing "God wink" or God driven story. They sent us to a house with the wrong address. We sat outside of this yard that clearly needed work but we needed consent to do anything. As we knocked and knocked and waited for the call back with the correct address, we saw this elderly woman who had osteoporosis across the street with a rake and a very large yard filled with broken down palms, palm trees and oak tree limbs and sticks. I said to Nate, there is no way I am letting her do that!!!! I got out to the car and asked her if she would let us do her yard and she said, "How much will it cost?" I said, "nothing". We explained who we were and why we were there and she told us she was Jewish and "today is a very important day, I am going to church." "Today is the day of atonement". She allowed us to finish her yard, it took two days of hard work and I was grateful that God placed us there at that exact time. We did eventually get the correct address and helped her too! We prayed with them and ended the day feeling exhausted but filled with Gods peace that we were where we were suppose to be, doing what he wanted us to do.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Galatians 3:27 ESV