Update from Matt in Florida

Softened Hearts

 

From day one our team walked with like minds. We all seemed to get to know one another easily. We all want to do the work before us. I believe we are a team from the start.

Saturday is an early start we board our flight at 6 a.m. at LAX. We are off to Charlotte, North Carolina. A one-hour layover and we board our plane to Pensacola, Florida. A short 3 hours later we are resting in Panama Beach City! Our day was long but fruitful. As we were able to get to know one another over dinner at the Gator Cafe.

Along the way we stopped at Walmart to gather supplies. As us guys on the team searched for ice, we come across a roofer bidding for work. He seems like a decent fellow, but we can see he may also be looking for opportunities. We are able to pray with him. We must remember to continue to pray for him.

Sunday we show up in Lynn Haven to meet our contacts. Again this day is fruitful. We meet locals devastated by the recent hurricane. We are able to pray for a woman who protected herself with a mattress as the roof was torn from her house. She’s caring for her sisters and in a quiet moment told them that she loved them knowing that they would soon die. She doesn’t understand how she lived through it. As we continue to speak with her she offers levity by talking about her chickens and looking for eggs.

There is a couple that are being evicted from their rental. The landlord’s son needs a place to stay because his house was destroyed. This couple works for the city and have been cooking for 3 weeks straight. Making sure breakfast is ready by 6 and that things are put away after dinner. They have had hardly enough time for their family and now have an extra burden of finding a new place to live. We were able to pray with them as well. If God will allow there will be a blessing for this couple

There’s a deputy here, a 5-hour drive from where his station is,on his third week of duty. This weekend he gets his first two days off since the hurricane. At first he was suspicious of us by the end of the day he allowed us to pray for him.

Everyone is friendly here at the same time you can see in their eyes that they have more to say a bigger story to tell. We move on to Walmart to gather more supplies and come across the man in the parking lot. He’s been drinking but he’s there to serve fellow employees with dinner he’s prepared. He shares that his daughter is moved in with him and his granddaughters. We asked if we can pray for him and he allows us to. He is fond memories when he was a young man going to church. And shares those memories with us.

On this night our team is increased by 1. He is a chaplain from the next state over. We have dinner and strike up a conversation with our waitress. She’s not a believer but says she is spiritually minded. She tells of leaving her trailer with her cats in a crate. She moves in with a friend of hers to be safe from the hurricane. As it turns out, her safe house was right in line with the hurricane. She says she still has nightmares. And sees that are cats are not quite the same. A harsh breeze a loud noise are constant reminders that’s how she felt is a hurricane pummeled her house. She allowed us to pray with her. And with that we can see more peace and her demeanor.

Monday is difficult for us. We don’t seem to have a clear direction. But the leader of our team reminds us to allow God to go before us. Yes, we are somewhat frustrated, but we must use our time wisely and we get to know one another a bit more through conversation and prayer. Our chaplain is making more contacts and those we are serving seems more at ease with us being there. We help serve dinner for the young former Irishman, which is a relief to those that start early serving breakfast.

Tuesday is here and we have work to do. We go to an officer’s house and help him straighten his yard. For us it doesn’t seem like much. But for him he was overjoyed to have someone there to help. In a short time we have is yard situated. We are able to visit with him to pray with him to hear his story. This seems to be a theme for our team. To listen, to care and pray. Again we help with dinner. We’ve been told that this is the last week they’ll be serving meals

Throughout these last few days we have all ministered to one another and that is a blessing. Our common bond in Christ becomes real the more I get to know this team. And though this is a small team I feel Christ can do great things with us.

Matt Love

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