Update from Florida Team 2

Sunday Update from Lauren

There is so much destruction and devastation here in Lynn Haven. But hope is not lost and God has softened the hearts of many we encountered today.

This morning while at the police center, we were able to pray over one of the city workers Leigh. She is responsible for cooking for all of the city personnel that have been coming through. Her home was badly damaged and she sat through the storm huddled under her mattress with her two older sisters and her 20 year old niece. They endured the storm for 45 minutes all thinking they were going to die. They had all told each other how much they loved each other in anticipation. You can tell she is a very strong go-getter lady that probably doesn’t typically cry. But when she went to show me a picture of some of the damage she forgot that she had taken pictures from Halloween night and she started to tear up about how on that night the community had come together and did a trunk or treat type setup amongst the devastation. She couldn’t believe her eyes seeing all these kids dressed up and smiling and laughing with all the destruction surrounding them. They had anticipated 2000 kids. 7000 showed up. She said she had been grumbling about having to work that night but instead ended up being so very blessed. She couldn’t talk about those resilient kids doing something “normal” without tearing up.

While the team was praying for Leigh, one of the sheriffs, Scott, who had previously declined prayer came up to us and asked us to go ahead and pray for him too.

The mayor of Lynn Haven, Margo Anderson also stopped by the police center. I introduced myself and told her about who we were and also met her adult daughter Hillary. They were so grateful that our team was here and to hear that we had more teams coming in the future. She mentioned that the Red Cross is pulling out on Wednesday and that a Catholic Church/organization that has been providing a lot of meals for the community is scheduled to leave around Nov 14-15. She said she spent the first three days just going around and giving people hugs. Her daughter also mentioned how much of a need there was to minister to the community. She was especially teary when recalling that some of the cemetery had been damaged during the storm and they were trying to find out the best was to tactfully reconstruct some of the graves that were damaged or needed to be required. Some had been there over 50 years.

Earlier this afternoon, Christian and Matt prayed with a man named Jody who worked at Walmart and admitted to us that he was “a bit buzzed” and that that was how he was coping. He saw us in the parking lot and approached us asking if we were “here to help”. He was on his day off but was there delivering food for 5 of his fellow employees, some of which had damaged homes. Had I not had a diabetic issue while in Walmart and asked Christian to escort me to the car to check my sugar, we would never have met Jody and has the door opened for the guys to pray with him.

We were blessed to have Duren (police chaplain from Baton Rouge) join our team this evening. While out at dinner, our waitress told us a bit about her storm experience and she said she was open to prayer but aside from believing God existed, she didn’t have any real specific faith. She was still dealing with the trauma of what happened and mentioned things that still triggered her like even the air conditioning coming on. I asked her if we could pray for her right then and she agreed and I said a prayer for her while the group held hands and laid hands on her. Probably not something you see often at Olive Garden. Later as we were leaving, I took her aside and talked a bit more one on one. She appeared to be in her young 20s, fully tatted and I took interest in her tattoos and asked her which one was her favorite and why. That really opened the door and I felt like a strong seed was planted. At the end she reached out her arms to hug me and she held on for a while. Please pray for Carlee, specifically that judgmental “Christians” don’t keep her from seeking the Lord as it appears that has been what’s holding her back from going to church when I prompted her to explore her faith. I told her I thought she was beautiful and that the Lord did too. That’s when she reached out to me for a hug. It’s been an amazing day.

“Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 4:1-6

Pastor Gary I Kusunoki

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