Sunday, July 29, 2012

Can't You See Why I'm Thankful...

This blog is matched with the one before it...these are the pictures of some of the reasons why I'm thankful! Happy Viewing!

Ms. Cammie and her new kitchen!

building relationships at the block party

Ms Ruby with volunteers who worked on her home last year

Missouri dads and Michigan cousins on their last night in town

Loretta and Tony who sang Happy Bday to me at Zea's

Castle Rock's playground being constructed with the help of 300 volunteers!



Coke Zero and Funfetti Cake = classic!

the gospel wave "preach it" getting popular! and look Ross came to visit!

26 reasons I'm thankful!

26 reasons I'm thankful for turning 26 on July 23rd! (in no particular order) (photos in next blog)

1. Jesus - my Savior in Christ who loves me and as Pastor Bill says: "He created me today on purpose for a purpose!"
2. staff and interns - what would I do without yall!
3. free lunch at panera - thanks jen! and yes panera in LOUISIANA!
4. ms. cammie and her kitchen
5. returning teams - Grace and Mountview! here for my bday week!
6. cake and coke zero
7. ms. val and her kids singing happy bday to me over voicemail
8. roomy time with Eliza
9. parents didnt stop at child #3
10. running - LOVE!
11. ronnie running 1 mile with me on my birthday
12. my family: mom, dad, alex, will, katie, madison, and alison! thanks for supporting me in this calling!
13. contentment with living out of my car and house hopping
14. raleigh international church from NC being here last week
15. lives transformed thru Christ
16. missouri dads coming to work last week
17. michigan cousins Cam and Eric coming to help too last week!
18. strangers now friends loretta and tony singing happy bday to me
19. being right where God wants me
20. encouraging phone calls, texts, fb posts on my birthday from friends and family!
21. walking alongside the next generation - love you interns past and present!
22. praying with ms. bonnie
23. "preach it" getting popular
24. ms judy from mn visiting for a girls weekend!
25. castle rock playground built!
26. ross from summer 2010 here for the week
and a lagniappe (little extra in louisiana lingo) ms. ruby visiting the block party

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

and in NOLA news!

So what's going on in NOLA?

Is Katie still semi-homeless? well Yes but God is always providing a home for me to lay my head until power gets turned on at Ms. Val's and I'm learning how to be joyful no matter what!

Are there still volunteer teams coming? You better believe it! We have 4 weeks left for summer 2012!  We have 74 volunteers in this week, 84 next week, 41, then 12! Wow God you continue to amaze me with your awesome provision!

Did any people come to lead jobsites? You betcha! pic'd below is Cam who is a Dordt College student I met in March 2012!  He couldn't be an intern this summer but he's game for next summer! His undergrad is Construction Management! woot woot!  He's enjoying his very first beignet and cafe au lait in the photo below! 

What's going on at Castle Rock? We are building our playground this weekend and I'm either helping in the kitchen to feed the 250 volunteers or will be a build captain...either way, we will have a safe place for kids to gather after this weekend! Praise the Lord for the opportunity to minister to the kids and parents of central city New Orleans!

Let me know if you have any other questions! Thanks for reading!

God bless yall!

to the praise and glory of God!
Katie :)

Love Your Neighbor...

Love your neighbor as yourself...this is a verse that sticks out to me when people ask why I go to Haiti so much.  What country(s) outside the US are physically close enough to be our neighbor?  If the US is one house, Haiti would be across the street in the same neighborhood if you ask me.  I praise God for opening up a door for TouchGlobal to partner with local Haitians and ministries to further His Kingdom work in this country!  Check out the photos and captions below for how God is moving! 

This is Claudia who has my heart! My nickname for her is Whoopi as she has the personality of the comedian Whoopi Goldberg, got some sass to her, and lights up the world with her smile!  She lives in the pink shelter in the background at OLTCH's (Operation Love the Children of Haiti) orphanage. She is one of 40-50 kids who live here and one of the joys of going there is to give her as much undivided attention as possible! 
This is Jasmine who runs OLTCH and we are on their new property for the ground breaking ceremony. Since the earthquake they have resided on a temporary piece of land with temporary shelters.  We are grateful to minister to the kids and staff at OLTCH and excited to partner with them for the building project on this property.
This is Maxo, one of the community leaders God led us to after the earthquake.  We were able to pray with him for the property behind him where there will be building a community school!  This will be a more permanent structure than the one shown below and a place for students to learn about God, agriculture, math, language, science, etc! 
Maxo's current location and building for his school.  Thank you to the TG teams that help construct a place of learning and growth for the kids in this community!
Intern 2012 Chelsey has built a relationship with an orphanage called New Horizons.  She is an education major and is spending time teaching the kids, playing with them, and showing them the love of Christ!  Praise God for calling Chelsey to Haiti!
Matt is serving with TG this summer in Haiti and working at Haiti Health Ministries (pictured).  Matt is a medical student and is able to experience medicine in Haiti.  HHM is one of the few clinics in our community and starts each morning with devotions with their patients.  Praise God for their desire to meet the needs of the whole person!  

The EFCA crew! pictured left to right: front row: Chelsea, Jane (intern mentor 2012 for Chelsey), Ronnie, and Mario (a missionary from the Columbian Free Church); back row: Ashlee who is married to Claudy (also back row), beside Ashlee is Christine who is a law student working with OLTCH on the international adoptions of their children (Christine also served with TG from June 2010 to June 2011) and Matt! Praise God for calling each person to serve Him in Haiti!

What do Interns Past and Present do during Challenge??

I was blown away at Challenge by the humility and service of my interns past and present!  It was an honor to serve alongside them and to hear them share with the 5300+ students about their experience as an intern with TouchGlobal.  Take some time and read how God used them during Challenge!
Intern 2012 Nathan led students in the game Solarium and on prayer walks in Church Planter Bobby's target neighborhood!
Allison, Intern 2009 & 2010, recruited at TG booth and baked awesome cookies for students!

Intern 2012 LaKerria led outreach activities at House of Hope Church and Intern 2011 Ronnie led students in the restoration of Ms. Connie's home!

Intern 2012 Lisa led students on prayer walks for Church Planter Bobby in his target neighborhood!

Intern 2011 Chelsea with potential interns!  Chelsea recruited at TG Booth and shared her story with these two young ladies.  She also prayed with them for God's direction in their life post-challenge!  

PRAISE GOD FOR ALL THE INTERNS HE HAS BROUGHT INTO MY LIFE!  He deserves all the glory, honor, and praise for multiplying me and growing this program!!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Challenge Amidst Challenge...

Some of you know that I am moving again! It's not a year in New Orleans if I'm not moving homes. This time God has blessed me with the opportunity to be a blessing to one of our homeowners. I first met Ms.Valerie in 2009 when she knocked on my door at the Quad to see what type of work our ministry does on homes. We chit-chatted and as it turns out we began to work on her home.  We gutted her home back in 2009, put a roof on in 2010, closed up the back half of the house winter 2010, and this past winter break we began to hang sheet rock.

Her home is right across the street from the house I lived in this past year.  When I was speaking to her one day this spring about having to move out at the end of June, she contacted me about possibly renting the home we were working on.  Turns out, Ms. Valerie is not in a position to move back to New Orleans just yet.  She is a single mom of two beautiful kids and an at-home nurse to people in her community about 1.5 hours away from NOLA.  To pick up her kids and try to settle into New Orleans is too much on her plate right now.  So in the meantime, two friends and myself will rent her home, supplying her with an added income and reliable renters who will take care of her beautiful home that countless volunteers worked hard to rebuild! SPECIAL SHOUT OUT TO THOSE WHO SERVED AND REBUILT MS. VALERIE'S HOME! yall rock!

We are overly blessed to remain on that street and to continue building relationships with people on our block.  I wish I could say that on June 30th I made a simple move from one house to the next but hence the title of my blog. 

The challenge right now is there is no power to the house.  I can't really go into all the specifics as I'm confused as to what is really going on but please just pray with me and for me and Ms. Valerie as we patiently wait for all the ducks to line up and power to be connected to the house.  My heart was broken last week and still hurts as Ms. Valerie and myself tried to communicate to the electrician and general contractor to find out what was going on only to be given unhelpful answers and feeling somewhat betrayed by them for not moving the house along to completion.

Of course God in His awesome power and love has supplied me with a home while I await power to be turned on at Ms. Valerie's.  I guess what I'm realizing about myself is I struggle with having to depend on others so yes, it's a pride issue.  I don't like being dependent on others for places to live and not knowing when power will be hooked up is even worse because it's out of my control.  And as I type that last sentence I'm thinking, what control do I really have to begin with?  Just my perceived notion of control and my perceived notion that I take care of myself.  Both of which are completely false because the Lord Almighty is in control of all things and apart from Him, I cannot take care of myself or depend on myself.  He takes care of me and He is the one I must completely and utterly rely on and allow Him to remove the pride in my heart that I may depend on Him even more.  Again I can't remove my pride on my own, I must submit to His Spirit and His leading on how to do just that.

All this to say that God is teaching me a lot through this challenge that took place during our Challenge conference.  Several verses have come to mind such as "I consider it pure joy whenever I face trials of many kinds..." mostly because I know joy is not the characteristic I have portrayed in this trial thus far.  However the one that God put in my head as I was spending time with him on Saturday was Luke 9:57-58:

"As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”  Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”"

Sometimes following Jesus means we will have no place to lay our head...meaning we cannot rest in our comfortable picture perfect lives relying only on ourselves when following the Savior of the World!  Even He didn't have a home to lay his head in sometimes and He was perfectly content to rely on the generosity of others to house him, feed him, give him a donkey, etc.  So if Jesus, the Son of Man, can rely on others, can humble himself, making himself nothing then why can't I Katie Hooks be willing to model that same behavior for the sake of the the praise and glory of God?! 

Paul says in Philippians 1:12-14: "Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly."

I love that Paul sees his circumstances, even in prison, as an opportunity to advance the Gospel which not only impacted the guards but his fellow believers who spoke out even more about the word of God.  So who knows, maybe this trial is for the workers that myself and Ms. Valerie are communicating with, or maybe this trial is for you and to encourage you to see whatever challenges you face as an opportunity to advance the Gospel!

I have a feeling, the lesson of completely and utterly relying on God, humblying myself, is one lesson I'll daily work on for the rest of my life.  Please join me in praying God would remove my pride and remove whatever barriers are preventing me from utter dependence on Him! 

Please pray for the barriers to be knocked down and power to be turned on to Ms. Valerie's home
that her home would be restored completely and I would continue to shine brightly for Christ on that block all the while relying completely on my Savior!

Thanks for reading this mighty lengthy blog!
In Christ,
Katie in Haiti :)