IMPACT Ministries 375 Robinson Rd Mooresville, NC 28117 704-507-6579
12/9 CHRISTMAS in the GULF COAST REGION
Writing to you, I am renewed in my inner being of the vast greatness of the Lord our God.
His mercies truly are new every morning. He is long-suffering and through Jesus full of grace and truth. Let the whole earth sing His praises. Join with us in the Spirit of our Lord and lift Jesus up high during this season in our hearts, our homes, our churches, our communities and across the face of this earth. Joy to the world, the Lord has come!
The Christmas season in the Gulf Region will see thousands of children and their families being ministered to with compassion, counseling, prayers, Bibles, food, and toys.
The various Kingdom strategic partners with IMPACT will be providing these ministries in various sites in Mississippi and Louisiana. Toy for Tots has again generously asked us to serve as a primary distribution agency for their benevolence. We shall do more than just give out toys, though. We are providing a direct pathway to the Hope of the Ages, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords....JESUS. We also have implemented follow-up systems to track the families served with and through various churches.
We'll give you some results of this around the end of this month. Pray with us for the Lord to continue to show HIMSELF mighty and faithful, the Holy One of Israel.
Strategic Partner Progress
Lake Charles, Louisiana Volunteer Center for IMPACT
This is the location one of our newest volunteer center. We are able to house up to 200 people at a time in teams. We provide hot meals, showers, and laundry is available. The strategic partnership there includes local and national ministries and churches. With needs assessments in place, and project coordinators leading work assignments we are able to give teams meaningful experiences as they serve a 5 county (parish) area. There are thousands of people living in FEMA parks, and sub-standard housing. MOST of them have no or little resources to rebuild their lives, much less their houses. We, together, offer them Hope from the giver of all HOPE.
H & R Block Referral Program - Supports IMPACT
Posted to our web site will be link for information, and a download form. This form when filled out and taken to YOUR local H & R Block Income Tax Office for them to do your taxes, will result in IMPACT receiving a $25.00 donation. To qualify the taxpayers only restriction is that the taxpayer did NOT have their taxes prepared by H & R Block for 2005. Please forward this information to everyone you know. This will be an easy way to support the ministry while getting your taxes done!
We'll send some more information on this to you soon, or email us with your questions.
Hancock County, MS- A new Volunteer Center for IMPACT
Announcing the opening of a volunteer center for IMPACT Teams in Hancock County, MS; near Bay St. Louis, Waveland and Pearlington. The site has showers, bunks, a kitchen and convenient access to work sites. Teams serving here have good projects to work on for construction. The needs are assessed and verified and the resources gathered to build and do major repair on 64 houses before July 2007.
Come serve with us!
K-LIFE FM radio,
Christian radio from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara,, California
Watch for the link on our site to listen to music online from this great Christian radio partner from California. Even as I write this, the founders, Dan and Karen Lemburg, are serving with us in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana.
Listen for IMPACT updates there and encouraging information about the Kingdom of God.
In the meantime, you can sign in to listen by clicking here:
K-LIFE FM :: Music :: Listen Online Now!
11/24 Impact Ministries Has a Blog for Monthly updates -http://www.citiimpact.blogspot.com/
Our family started a new Holiday tradition three years ago. We decided to forego the traditional Christmas letter and instead do a Thanksgiving letter in which we each share the things for which we are thankful. We then have asked friends to mail back the enclosed leaf after writing on it what they are thankful for. We read each leaf with the kids and pray for the family who sent it. The leaves then go on our “Tree of Thanks” to make a beautiful visual reminder of friends and gratitude. Unfortunately, time got away from me this year. Yet, this is the year that we have perhaps learned the most about giving Thanks, not taking things for granted, and appreciating the small things. Although you are not receiving this in the mailbox this year, – we ask that you would still participate with us.
Most of you know that we have been doing disaster relief since Katrina hit fifteen months ago. For those of you who have not been to the Gulf Coast, I cannot adequately describe the suffering that still exists. So many of the modern day conveniences that we have grown to believe are essentials are now nonexistent for these folks. Things such as a warm shower in the morning or a comfortable bed at night are no longer guarantees. Electricity was just restored to most places in St Bernard Parish this August.
Imagine living in a tin box (FEMA trailer) in 99 degree temperatures and no air conditioning. Still both water and electricity are undependable at best. Everyone has to go to the Laundromat. People with doctorate degrees are forced to get food from our distribution tents because their jobs and savings are gone. Nothing is familiar anymore. The storm took it all: landmarks, historical sites, places of worship, grocery stores, schools, neighborhoods, and even neighbors.
As a mother, the most heart wrenching losses are the things that you can’t ever replace: the family photos that have chronicled weddings, births and birthdays, first days of school and simply days when laughter, smiles, and fun were natural. Then there are the piles of artwork made special for mommy with love, usually drawings of their houses and happy family. Now, the children have no place to play. If they get to draw it is often of the wind and flood and the nightmares that won’t end.
Families are cramped together. Few children have their own bed, let alone their own rooms or toys. Everyone knew someone who died and many saw the dead bodies of their friends, family, and neighbors piled in the high school gym as they waited for the waters to recede. It is no wonder that suicide, , divorce, and drug and alcohol abuse are near epidemic.
Yes, this disaster has brought out the worst in some. There are those who have taken advantage of the generosity and kindness of others. Yet, there are many that when they gather with their family this Thanksgiving, they will say, “Thanks”. They are grateful for the thousands who have come to help, with whom some now share life long friendships. They are thankful for their new sense of empathy and an awareness of what is truly important in life and for life itself. They are grateful for the things that no wind can blow away and no flood can drown.
These are amazing people, whose faith has stood. JD and I have had so many tell us, “Thank-you”. Yet, we do not at all feel deserving. First of all, all thanks goes to God for everything comes from Him. Second, we are honored, humbled, and so very thankful to have been able to walk this journey with them and with all who have come to help. We have seen The Church of America unite together like no other time in history. We have met some modern day heroes of Faith as well as some everyday humble folks, who have blessed us more than we could ever bless them.
Those like Nolan and Denise who lost their home, yet were more worried about their neighbors than themselves. Those like Wilbur and Steve who lost their wives yet still find the strength to go on. Those like Alva, Greg, Gabe, Vicky, and Jen who have chosen to live without toilets for more than a year so they could help those with no choice. Those like Sue, Kathy, John and Sandy, and James and Mary who completely uprooted and are willing to live there for as long as is needed. Those with the “Aloha” spirit in Hawaii who just keep on giving. Those who knew God called them to come to help and we saw their Faith soar as He provided. Those like Pastor Randy who drove 90 minutes twice a day for a year to help his community rebuild. Those like Lynn and Russell who despite all kept their dignity. Those who risked their own lives in the flood to save others. Those like Charlie who find no value in the things of this world but just in relationship with others. Those like the sweet little boy at Christmas, who didn’t want anything for himself, just a bike for a family friend so he could get to work. We give thanks for each of them and the countless others who left imprints on our hearts that will last forever.
Dear Heavenly Father, as I thank You this day
And, humbly, I bow my head to pray
I really must think of Katrina, recanted
And all that, before then, I took for granted
At the end of August, two-thousand and five
The winds and rain, they came alive
Seawater swelled, and it seethed, and roared
Devouring all, with such greedy hoard
And there, in a flash, the world, it was changed
All that we knew was to be rearranged
Lord, We fled in a panic for our very lives
Separated husbands, children, and wives
The winds grew quiet and the water calmed down
Revealing stagnant death that once was our town
Strangers gathered to help us regroup
With love, giving blankets, supplies, and warm soup
At first we were numb, Lord, as we fled to the shelter
When reality struck, it was just helter-skelter
Huddled there with the lost, the sick, and some dying
Kids were screaming, adults were stunned or crying
Before Katrina, Father, I remember the days
With accessible schools, with sports and school plays
Little things in our lives that are now gone for good
A pile of debris where our house once stood
And, no more green grass, where our children once played
Or, pictures, when Grandma and Grandpa once stayed
No mementos to hold, except in our mind
Nothing of Momma’s or Dad’s was I able to find
Lord, please forgive me because I didn’t know
The riches, upon me, you thought to bestow
Little things like a place just to cut my hair
And, a peaceful night’s sleep, without the nightmare
Days where the children don’t fear wind and rain
When loss was much smaller, not connected with pain
I’m sorry I never said thanks for toilets that flush,
Safe water to drink, and my own toothbrush
I see people scurry with cell phones, acting nervous
What a blessing it was to have basic phone service
I never imagined the long lines for groceries and supplies
Or, the unsanitary conditions that burn our eyes
Though I thanked You for food, and that we were able,
I never said thanks, Lord, for us to all sit at the same table
Some day, I pray, that again I can provide
For my family who still stand close by my side
And, Lord though it’s hard to depend upon others
We might not have made it without loving sisters and brothers.
Lord, your work here is not done, for some it’s just started
So please bless the people who still give, open hearted!
By: Vicky Robbins, 2006
Instead of a leaf on our “Tree of Thanks”, we would like your help this year to grow a whole “Forest of Giving”. Please talk with your family about the “little things” in your lives that you may take for granted but couldn’t imagine living without. Then if you could write it down either as a prayer or as an encouragement to those who have done without this year we will deliver them this Holiday season. In addition, if you are able to include a monetary donation or gift card (Walmart, Home Depot, or Gas cards) we will purchase a supply of these “little things” to give to those in need. If you want to specify what you would like it to be spent on we will honor that the best we can (i.e. toys for kids, ornaments, family photos, construction materials, food, water, etc). For more information on specific needs you can visit our website. Please feel free to pass this on to anyone else that you think would like to participate in the “Forest of Giving”.
May we never again grow complacent about the common, but instead rejoice in the luxury that “little things” bring.
The Smith Family
JD, Toni, Caleb, and Abigail
375 Robinson Rd
Mooresville, NC 28117
Hope this is a little encouraging to you.
We shipped 800 frozen turkeys today to 4 places in Mississippi and Louisiana. They will be put together with all the fix-ins and delivered to those in various "food deserts" in those two states. It certainly is not enough to cover everyone, but it will help the ONES it does get.
Be blessed as you continue your service of information to the masses.
Hope deferred is a bad thing. Hope fulfilled is glorious, and HE is!
JD SmithIMPACT Ministries
OCTOBER 29, 2006 – YES, WE ARE STILL HERE . . . YES, WE STILL NEED YOU!
Praise God that He kept away the Hurricanes this year.
The national weather service initially predicted an even stronger Hurricane season than last year. Thankfully and miraculously, NO major hurricane hit the United States this year. This was a relief to the thousands still living in FEMA trailers from Katrina and Rita. However, they still have a long way to go. IMPACT Ministries is committed to helping as much as we can for as long as we can. Of course that means we need your help. We need volunteers, supplies, funding, and of course prayers to continue.
Here are areas of critical need:
1. Volunteers and supplies for Christmas Outreach on Dec. 9th in St. Bernard Parish. See: IMPACT Ministries - Events
2. Construction Supplies and/or Funding to purchase supplies for those who have no insurance to rebuild.
3. Skilled labor
4. Volunteer Teams
5. Construction/Team Coordinator in New Orleans
The following are answers to prayer:
1. God’s Katrina Kitchen found a new home in Gulfport, MS. From there we continue to serve the areas of Gulfport, Pass Christian, Waveland, Pearlington and Long Beach.
2. The camp near Hattiesburg, MS, has officially been turned over to IMPACT. We will be announcing ways you can partner with us in providing inner city camps, retreats, family camps and pastoral nurturing through this facility.
3. John Blake (he and his wife, Sandy, moved to MS in May to assist IMPACT Ministries) is recuperating at home after a short hospital stay. This could have been much worse as it turned out John was dangerously close to a heart attack and/or stroke as a result of seriously high blood pressure and severe blockage to an artery. Thankfully, they caught it in time. Please continue to pray for his recovery.
4. Two wonderful ladies from New Hampshire will be moving to the gulf region to help IMPACT with teams, organization, and whatever else God lays on their hearts! We are so thankful for Sue Fish and Kathy Billings and look forward to a fruitful partnership in ministry. Amazingly enough, we have yet to meet these ladies in person. However, the Lord has knit our hearts over the last six months. Pray for them as they make this leap of faith.
In The Works:
1. First Response Initiative to provide local on-site training weekends – We shall go to your communities to help prepare “The Church” in your area how to mobilize and respond to a disaster either locally, nationally, or internationally. Through Katrina we all learned that we should not depend on Red Cross or the government to meet these needs. Rather, it is the call of The Church to take care of the poor and needy. It is also a huge opportunity for us to share the gospel through being His hands and feet. We need to be ready. These trained teams would then be the first groups we would turn to if another 9-11 or Katrina were to hit. Please let us know if your church community is interested and we will get your area on the schedule.
2. Partnership with Habitat for Humanity – IMPACT Ministries and Habitat for Humanity are in the development stages for a strategic partnership in the Gulf region that will facilitate and accelerate the rehabilitation of thousands of homes, the construction of thousands of new homes, and the development of multi-economic communities in some locations. Our partnership will combine resources and volunteers to folks who have been qualified, verified and processed for the need. The desire is to help those who cannot help themselves. The process of restoration is expected to take several years to complete and your continued partnership with IMPACT Ministries will be vital and fruitful.
3. Church Plants – We will be launching some house churches in the Gulf region soon. We shall also launch a church in the French Quarter of New Orleans, and one in Mississippi soon. Over the next few years we expect to partner with others to launch many new churches as we continue to help with existing churches in the recovery and restoration processes. We will keep you posted as these develop. Let us know if you have interest in partnering in anyway. We shall need teams, leaders, and of course much prayer.
4. New Strategic Partnership in Lake Charles, La.-IMPACT Ministries has formed a new partnership with the Long Term Recovery operation in Lake Charles, La. Soon IMPACT Ministries will begin sending volunteer groups there to work along side the Churches and community leaders to help rebuild their communities. The needs are great there even after all these months.
5. Multiple Volunteer Center locations-Over the last year, the local partners of IMPACT Ministries as well as partners from all over America have joined forces to facilitate long term recovery and restoration for the Gulf Coast. As 2007 approaches, thousands of volunteers from across America are continuing to respond to the great legitimate needs of so many people. These volunteers are being scheduled into the region in many places where IMPACT Ministries has strategic partnerships with local churches and other ministries. The people NEED YOU, and we can help you help them. It is our honor to serve you as you serve them. How can we serve you in coming to the region?
**An Easy Way to Help**
Need Your Taxes Done?? H & R Block has made IMPACT Ministries a generous offer for a strategic partnership. For everyone who did not have their taxes done by H & R Block in 2005 and uses H & R Block for 2006 taxes, H & R Block will donate $25 to IMPACT Ministries. We will be sending out more information soon but we wanted to get you thinking about it. Please consider sharing this information with your family members, congregation, neighbors, etc. This could be a way that many people could partner with IMPACT Ministries in a substantial way! All you need to do is take the flyer we will be sending to you to your local H &R block anytime between January 1st and April 15th. It saves you the headache of doing your own returns and benefits the victims of Katrina. Also keep in mind that any contributions made directly to IMPACT Ministries is tax deductible, as IMPACT Ministries is a non-profit 501(c) 3 entity.
JD and Toni Smith
Front Line Sites:
Bourg, LA New Orleans,LA Slidell,LA Bay Saint Louis,MS Diamond Head ,MS Gulfport/Biloxi,MS Lakeshore, MS Long Beach,MS Metairie,MS Pass Christian, MS Pearlington, MS Picayune,MS Waveland, MS
Gulfport/Biloxi, Pass Christian, Long Beach, New Orleans, Waveland
Gulfport/Biloxi,MS New Orleans, LA Pass Christian, MS
We need both skilled and unskilled people (if they are in good health and able to follow directions). Skilled people in areas of: plumbing, electrical, construction, mechanical, roofers, concrete, painting, big equipment, cooking, counseling, youth, children, business development, administration, fund raising, and grant writing.
With the costs of meals, utilities, gas, insurance, and overhead it costs approximately $25 per person per day to operate the Volunteer center. Any contribution that you, your team or your church can give to help meet this need is appreciated.
We had a team from Oregon and one from California that were combined to work on Lynn and Russell’s house in Waveland. This family survived the storm on top of their roof with their two year old granddaughter. When the water receded they climbed down and scooped the mud out of their car to sleep in. They had no food or water for three days. Their dream house was completely destroyed. They are a very integris couple and hated to ask for help. Yet they knew they couldn’t do the work on their own. They decided to start by converting the garage into an apartment. The team came to help and Russell acted like the general contractor. The team and the family became very close that week. Lynn cooked them lunches most everyday. As the team leader for The Church on The Way, Debra Snell led the team to pray for and with them daily. Lynn and Russell have now said that they would like to house teams at their house! We hope to get some skilled groups in to finish out their home and sample Lynn’s famous cooking! As more is done on it we will be able to house more folks there to reach out to more of the residents.
The Recovery Continues – (despite not keeping up the news page!) Much has gone on in the last few months. Currently, teams are busy trying to get as much done as they can before the 2006 Hurricane season starts on June 1st. Speaking of which we would like to ask you and your church to consider signing up as a “First Response Team” if another disaster of such magnitude hits in the coming years. There needs are still staggering in MS and LA, yet we need to look ahead and prepare. We would like to have teams ready to mobilize quickly. Please email us if you want to form such a team.
The biggest need at this time is Teams of Volunteers. We can use 200 people a day for the next year. Please see "teams" page for more info.
Other Immediate Needs:
****NEW*** - WATER – both in gallons and individual. Also Water Purification Units, and refer trailers
Administrative help (This can be done from your home if you have good computer and communication skills.)
Two 15 person passenger vans or mini-buses to transport teams
1 Mini Van
1 One Ton Dually Truck
1 Dump Truck
2 Fork Trucks
Gift Cards (Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, Target)
Contacts with manufacturers and distributors of food, household goods, construction supplies
Funding for Projects and Construction Supplies
On-site supervisors - volunteer month or more at a time
These can be donated outright and IMPACT will provide a Gift-in-Kind receipt. Or you can donate money designated to meet a specific need.
Note: We are no longer advising people to buy items and ship them into the region. We can find almost everything locally (with the exception of drywall). Your funds would be better stewarded if you could just donate them directly to IMPACT. We have found local distribution places where we can leverage the funds greatly. However if you have contacts with businesses or manufacturers who can donate the items we can offer gift-in-kind tax deductible donations.