Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | August 11, 2010

A Disastrous Start

I sometimes tell people, tongue in cheek, that I had a disastrous start at Kingsland. A month after I moved to Katy to serve as Kingsland’s Missions Pastor in July 2005, I invited Paul Cockrell, our student teaching pastor, to accompany me to Mexico’s rugged Copper Canyons. 2005 was a tough year for the Tarahumara Indians, the indigenous people group that inhabit the Copper Canyons. I wanted to learn what Kingsland could do to meet the practical needs of the Tarahumara who were suffering the effects of a long drought. While Paul and I were in Mexico, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Louisiana and displaced thousands of people. Many of the displaced made their way to Texas and other neighboring states. Paul and I did not have cell-phone coverage in the Copper Canyons and were unaware of the damage that Katrina had caused. But, we found a pay phone in a small village and called Doyle Lowry, our Executive Pastor, to let him know about our progress. Doyle asked me to return home as quickly as possible to lead a shelter on our campus to assist people displaced by the hurricane. Two days later I returned home and spent the next five weeks at the shelter. We provided medical care, legal assistance, job placement, counseling services, housing, and gave away several cars. The weeks I spent at the shelter gave me the opportunity to work with hundreds of Kingsland volunteers and to see their compassion in action.

Since Hurricane Katrina, our missions ministry has continued to mobilize Kingsland volunteers to meet the needs of people who have suffered loss as a result of natural disasters. Our volunteers have helped people repair damaged homes, cut and removed fallen trees and debris, rebuilt fences, provided meals, and more. We believe that serving others is a practical way in which to demonstrate God’s love. That’s why I am happy to announce that our missions ministry has purchased and outfitted a new disaster response trailer. In the event of a hurricane or other emergency, we will use our Go Beyond van and our new Go Beyond Disaster Response trailer to serve the needs of people in our community. But, our trailer will not sit idle at other times of the year. Our trailer is equipped for use on our local service initiatives throughout the year.

I am also pleased to announce that Jon Davis, our Missions Ministry Associate, will serve as our Disaster Response Coordinator. Jon is a gifted and experienced logistics coordinator. If you are a member of Kingsland and interested in serving on our Go Beyond Disaster Response Team, then please contact Jon in our missions office. We’d love to have you on our team. But, please know that in order to serve on our response team, you must first complete training in the use of chain-saws and other gear that we will use during relief initiatives. Jon can tell you more about that. I hope that we do not have to use the trailer for disaster response anytime soon. But, we want to be prepared for the worst while hoping for the best. Looking back, I’m glad that I had a disastrous start at Kingsland because it helped me to appreciate how willing the people of Kingsland are to serve people in need during the worst of times.

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