Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What a Week!!

 Hi Everyone!

I praise God for the provision of volunteers who came to serve last week! We had 66 volunteers total from SBU, JBU, CofO, and West EFC.  Praise God for putting it on their hearts to spend a week away from the comforts of home to serve the LORD in NOLA!

pictured left: Rachel from SBU sharing from the Word - It's all about sharing the LOVE of Christ!

Pictured right:
The teams meeting church planter Miguel who is planting a church on the north shore.  He has lived here almost 20 years working with youth in schools and felt God's leading to start a church. Our volunteers have the privilege of  prayer walking in Miguel's community! How exciting to prepare the soil for God's kingdom work!

I'm pretty sure our volunteers are some of the hardest working volunteers out there! No matter the task, they take on the task with JOY!  Not only are they hard workers, but they take the time to invest in the people around them. Why?? Because it's not about the work, that's just a door to get to know people!

pictured above: Heidi from College of the Ozarks painting at Mr. Larry's home with our friend Deon.
Pictured left: Chris from CofO learning how to hang doors with George who is on staff with TouchGlobal

Pictured right: Laura (my girl) and Emilee from CofO painting in Ms Ruby's closet. They found they had a mutual bond in horses and chatted the whole time while painting! Love how God works!


pictured left: Mr. Dave and Ms. Bridgette! This is the awesome family we partnered with to restore them to the home behind us in the photo.  They have now moved in and are getting to live in the home they have patiently waited to return to since Katrina. Thank you to the volunteers who came and helped this family get back in their home! Thank you for the prayers and love you shared with them!

Pictured below:  Dustin (my summer 2011 intern) returned to NOLA to lead his spring break team from SBU! What a joy to see him again and his servant leadership skills with his team.  

Please continue to pray for God to raise up interns for this summer in Haiti and in New Orleans. I have no idea how the summer will unfold but I know God is God and is always and forever worthy of my praise!! Love you Jesus!

In Christ,
Katie :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

With Everything...

 "With everything" by Hillsong has been a challenging song for me ever since I first heard it at Ambassador Bible Church in VA.  With everything, we will shout forth Your glory! Am I really willing, with everything I am and with everything I strive to be, to make His name glorious?? 

 With everything, our staff and adjunct staff meet up to discuss the coming fun-filled, volunteer-filled weeks ahead!

Becky, my special friend!, came down from MA to serve with us and we were able to celebrate her bday with her!

Cam, Sam, and Amber from Dordt college with their hard hats on ready to face Day One at the demo site!
  Dordt College relaxing under a fruit tree with some ice cream sandwiches.

 With everything, we show the love of Christ to the kids who come out to the block party!

This is Holly from PA who had an awesome week serving the LORD and will be returning in April for another week of loving God and the people of New Orleans.  I'm excited to see her again and see how God is working in her life.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

We Can All PLANT and WATER!!

" ...as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building."
1 Corinthians 3:5b-9

When people asked me why I wanted to be back in New Orleans by March, my first response was and is I wanted to PLANT! Plant what you may ask? I want to plant seeds in the minds and hearts of spring break volunteers to come serve with our ministry as interns and allow God to reveal to them if this is something they should pursue. Over the next 2 weeks we have 8 teams coming to serve in NOLA, 4 of those teams are college students.

The verses above remind me day after day that my role is to PLANT!  It is God's job to make it grow.  I cannot take responsibility for someone's decision to serve or not serve with us.  I must trust God that He knows best!

I've come up with the following acronym for PLANT and WATER to fit my calling:

P - Pray
L - Look
A - Ask
N - Next
T - TouchGlobal Interns!

W - Walk
A - Alongside
T - The
E - Encouraged
R - Recruit

I recognize that to obediently PLANT according to God's will means I must PRAY and ask God to give me wisdom about who to LOOK for and ASK them to pray about becoming the NEXT TouchGlobal intern. 

I can't help but notice that there is another role indicated in these verses...the role of WATERing.  Watering comes after you plant because why water where a seed hasn't been planted.  To me, the essence of watering is to Walk Alongside The Encouraged Recruit.  We want to walk alongside the potential interns to encourage them to seek God's will for them this summer...again it is God who makes it grow.

As I type this post, I realize that I'm not the only one who can PLANT and WATER for TouchGlobal interns.  All of you reading this blog may know someone who could intern with our ministry..it may even be you!  If that's the case or you know someone, here's my email: katie.hooks@efca.org :)

Just FYI, PLANTing and WATERing is not just for recruitment of interns but to plant and water the seed of the Good News of Jesus Christ as in the context of 1 Corinthians.  So in case you are struggling with feeling responsible for someone's spiritual growth or lack thereof, just know that your role is to plant and/or water...then trust the rest to God. For He is the one who transforms hearts...not us.

If you are raising support, again it is your role to plant the seed of inviting someone to become a ministry partner with you. It's God's role to make that seed grow and raise up your ministry partners.

So I don't know about you but I feel a little relieved and empowered to plant and water knowing that IT IS God who makes it grow.  He is the one ultimately in charge and if I do my part, perhaps the results will be full grown interns!  And yes God is God so if not a single intern is recruited this spring break season, does that make Him any less God...absolutely NOT!  He is the GOD of the cause and the effect.  NOTHING in His character changes no matter the results. Praise God for He is the SAME yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8)

So happy planting and/or watering!

Katie :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

God's Work in Central City!!

God is working in Central City New Orleans through Urban Impact Ministries.  They have had teams come down to serve for the last 20 years.  More recently, teams are coming to run Challenge Circle in Taylor Park, right down from my house.  This is like the AWANA circle but outside and lots of cheers that point kids back to Jesus!  Evanda (in the middle of the circle) now works with UIM but back in the day, he was one of the little guys running around the circle.  Praise God for the work He has done in Evanda's life!

 Pictured right: The Porch, Castle Rock's new home

This is my church Castle Rock's (a church planted by Urban Impact) new property.  Teams are coming down to renovate the buildings which will allow for a larger crowd and is more centrally located to Castle Rock's target community.  Praise God for allowing us to acquire this property and for the teams that come down to serve!

Pictured in these next 3 pictures is the team from Bible EFC in Tomah WI.  I met this team the first time in 2009.  I praise God for their continued commitment to serve the LORD in New Orleans!  They work hard and play hard! We got to play Euchre many nights and granted I'm no pro but did alright! Praise God for this fellowship of believers!
Pictured right: Dan, Doug, and Curly
Pictured below: Ron and Lisa!
Euchre match day one! from left to right: Curly, Ron, Frank and Deidra!

Ya Heard Me!

Pictured left are my awesome heroes, Lisa, Sarah, and Emily (and Anderson and Ruby too) who ran the Rock-n-Roll half marathon this weekend.  I was able to run the last mile with Sarah and Emily and be an encouragement to them! This makes me want to run it next year!  I am praying about running to raise funds for something.  I'll keep praying and keep you posted!
 Pictured Right:

This is my roommate Mariko! She is from PA and teaching here in New Orleans! I'm praising God for giving me awesome girls to live with and be encouraged by! 

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1 Thess 5:11
Pictured above: the Castle Rock 3 on 3 basketball tournament!  One of our church members coaches at Cohen High School and opened up the gym for the church to host this tournament! How Cool! It was so nice to see everyone from church and catch up! I was able to hang out with my girl Laura this past Sunday and take her to work some days this week. It's been nice to share what's going on in our lives, pray for each other, and we're hoping to start a devotional soon.  Praise God for this friendship!

p.s. ya heard me is a popular NOLA saying...when I heard a lady say it in a coffee shop this week, I couldn't help but smile and say "o how I've missed New Orleans!"

Didn't I see you in New Jersey??

First stop when I crossed the Louisiana state line (on what day...oh yeah on MARCH 1ST!!! PRAISE YOU LORD!!) was the north shore to see the awesome teams from NJ and PA who had come down to serve!  The NJ team from Bethlehem Church is the same team I drove up to see at the beginning of February.  When I saw them I thought I'd miss seeing them in New Orleans because I wouldn't have all my support yet (oh ye of little faith.) 
 Pictured above is all of us playing the game "Greed." I first played this game with these guys back in 2009 and it's been a tradition every time they come down! I even won a game!

Pictured right is all of the NJ guys at Felix's Oyster Restaurant.  It was recommended by Pastor Ian and Kari from C4 in Camden GA.  Thanks for the recommendation, it was delicious! (from left to right: John, Dave, Scott, Jeff, Geoff, and Al)
It was a beautiful night to walk around the French Quarter! Oh how I have missed this city!! Ya heard me :)

Hello Beulah AL!

When I got on the road last week, I was headed to Jones Garage in Beulah AL.  This is the awesome family who helped me after I hit a fox which busted my radiator and bumper on my way to New Orleans LA. In God's sovereignty, I was able to get to a gas station, get a phone number for Jones Garage, and call the Jones family who not only fixed my car, but let me speak at their church, fed me, housed me, and have become my Alabama parents!
 The pictures above is their shop sign and to the right is their church, The Bridge.  I praise God for putting this family in my life! They are so kind to let me share every time I pass through.  Beulah AL is exactly halfway between my home in NC and my home in NOLA.  I praise God for His divine appointments and for letting me meet this family! 

"Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments." Deut 7:9