House Churches Meet the need after Katrina
Thank You for all your help
(Fellowship Of Belivers Church)
It has now been almost ten weeks since Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans area. The devastation left behind is mind boggling. The latest numbers are over 300,000 homes destroyed or damaged and 81,000 businesses closed. Our fellowship group has been scattered throughout Louisiana. Two of our families have permanently relocated, one of our families is temporarily located in Monroe, another is still living with her daughter, another is living with a brother in law and another just got an apartment in the New Orleans area. We met as a church for the first time last week but several families had to drive over two hours one way to get there. It was a joyful time. Each of them expressed thanksgiving and gratitude for the generosity of the saints. All are in the process of making decisions concerning jobs and where to live. It was a great time in the Lord.
I must confess that I am still amazed at the response to this disaster. The overwhelming generosity of the saints was heart warming and mind boggling. Because of your generosity we were able to not only help the Katrina affected believers but also those who were affected by Rita in southwest Louisiana and southeast Texas. In all, your generosity has helped support dozens of families, a ministry that was providing hot meals for those without electricity and a group of men from south east Texas who cleaned yards for free throughout the south. In addition, a new house church was planted in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The three families of this new church are meeting in a house that has been gutted but still has the outside walls.
I have talked personally with all the brothers and sisters affected by the hurricanes and all are well on their way to recovery. Still lots of work and decisions to be made but all the families are back on their feet and moving forward. We made our last disbursement of funds this week and feel that we have accomplished what the Lord has asked us to do. I know this sounds strange but we are writing you asking you to quit giving. We were not only able to meet the needs of the affected believers but were able to bless them abundantly above what we could ever ask or think. Tim, Steve and I are in agreement that we have obeyed the Lord and accomplished what He asked. And now it is time to move on.
SO PLEASE QUIT GIVING! I have to laugh at this. Having spent years in the institutional church, I confess that I have never sent a letter or received a letter like this. But enough is enough.
The house church is often criticized for being too small and isolated and not able to respond to the needs of the saints. What utter nonsense. With one email to our limited email lists, the need was presented to the Church. You the Church opened your hearts and pockets and met the needs of the suffering saints. No gimmicks, no tearful appeals, no music to move the emotions; just a genuine move of His Spirit touching hearts and obedient hearts responding to the prompting of the Spirit. As we take the Lordís supper, we are commanded to discern His Body. The church discerned those parts of His Body that were suffering and chose to suffer with them. Now we want you to rejoice with us as we loudly proclaim the goodness and mercy of God through your ministry to the Saints.
Than you for all that you did. Not just the money but the prayers and the concern and the love that was offered. Thank you for discerning the Body. Thank you for accepting and carrying the burden of saints you have never met.
May the Lord bless you in all that you do,
Subject: House Church In New Orleans Swept Away
Steve Atkerson here, of NTRF. I have been in contact with Mike Indest,
elder of a home fellowship just outside New Orleans (Kenner and
He appreciates greatly the many e-mails and outpouring of concern, but
is overwhelmed in just the duties of daily living to be able answer them
(For instance, it took him and twenty men, with thirteen chain saws and
one bobcat, ten hours to clear the road out to the main highway.) He is
also reduced to intermittent dial-up internet service. He asked me to
send this e-mail on his behalf.
There are eight families in the church. All are safe. However, all but
one family have lost their homes to flooding, lost their cars, lost all
their clothing, and their jobs.
Most banks there are closed. The ones that are open limit cash
withdrawals to around $200. Long term (three months?), the families will
need money for food and gas (there are no utilities working to have to
Most plan, when allowed, to return eventually to live in whatever is
left of their homes, even without power. The government is currently
telling them it could be weeks before they are even allowed in to see
what is left of their homes.
Mike estimates each family will need $1000 per month to survive (for
food and gas), or $8000/month total. He asked me open an bank account in
Atlanta for the church, and from here we'll send the relief money to the
families as soon as the banking system is up and running again. Mike,
Tim Melvin and I are trustees, and Atlanta is the collecting point.
Please send your checks (marked FLOOD) payable to either:
Fellowship of Believers or NTRF
2752 Evans Dale Circle
Atlanta, GA 30340.
(NTRF is a bona fide 501c3 organiztaion).
Mike said he'll try to update their web site with what is going on:
Questions? write "Stephen E Atkerson" <email@example.com>
Please forward this to others who may be interested.
PS. Below is a letter I just got from Mike this morning (Tuesday, Sept
--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Mike Indest" <>
To: "Stephen E Atkerson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, 5 Sep 2005 08:19:06 -0500
Subject: much thanks
First , thanks for all your kindness and help. This is the first time
since the storm hit that I have time to sit and write . . .
Here is the status in Folsom.
1. All the streets are clear for one lane traffic.
2. We have removed all the trees from the neighbors houses and put temp
patches on all the roofs.
3. With a few exceptions, all families have generators that allow for
well water and refrigeration and some other appliance. use. With careful
wattage budgeting, we can use some appliances in rotation. Hurray for
the washing machine!
4. We are now only driving a short 20-25 miles for gas and oil. Lines
are still long but there is gas much closer then last week.
5. We also can get groceries 20-25 miles drive.
6. There will be no elec for a month or more.
7. There is intermittent phone service but no mail service.
8. Within the wattage budget, I can turn on my computer for short
periods everyday but I am probably damaging it every time I turn it on
because of the generator.
The status of the New Orleans house church family.
1. All are in shelters or homes from Monroe to Houston.
2. All are OK.
3. None of them have been allowed to go home to check on their homes.
4. According to the local news reports, all have suffered catastrophic
damage to their homes because of the storm surge. They are expecting
water of 8-10 feet in their homes.
5. Some have already found work in the city they are sheltering in. Most
6. All need money to live for the next few months till they can return
and assess the damage. They left with what they could carry in a car and
7. Most are in good spirits, trusting in the Lord and believing Him for
8. I have talked to all of our families or to someone who has talked to
What would help.
1. Please don't come down here. There is no place for you to stay and we
are being very careful with the resources we have down here. Most people
have three and four families living in their homes.
2. As we sort these things out, we might need long term homes for some
of the families for a 2-3 month stay. We will have to see what we need.
3. Living expenses app 1000 a month for a family of 4.
4. Much prayer.
It is bad but getting better. . .
Here is the scripture the Lord gave me this morning:
Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond
all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,
21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all
generations forever and ever. Amen.