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This is a typical scene around the areas hit by Hurricane Katrina around the New Orleans and surrounding areas. You can help those that have lost so much by giving of your time or by donating to help in the relief efforts.  Hurricane Katrina and Rita hit hard but there is hope and restoration...

 

Hurricane Katrina / Rita - New Orleans Vicinity

November 14:

Helping those effected by Hurricanes.After 10 weeks of Hurricane Katrina relief in New Orleans, our ship MERSEA has sailed home to Lake Charles.  Our ship HOPE will remain in Gretna, on the west bank of the Mississippi until late next week.  The management of our outreach site in New Orleans will be assumed by other ministries to continue the work God has given the Church to do in this city.  There is much still to do, but the initial Disaster Response is now geared toward recovery and rebuilding.  There are still large needs for housing, food, water and of course, the Good News of Jesus Christ!  Many churches have returned and are beginning to coordinate a response for their city. We feel that the presence of our ships is no longer needed.

Distribution site loading cars full of supplies.Time to repair home!  While we were serving New Orleans, our home base in Lake Charles sustained damage from Hurricane Rita.  We continue to minister to the community in Lake Charles by serving hot meals and distributing commodities  but will concentrate now on the much needed repair work to our base, Port Mercy so that we will be enable to be fully ready to respond for future missions.  If you or your group would like to help us prepare and rebuild God's Naval Base, Port Mercy, please email info@friendships.org.  We can use your help!

Our team worked briefly in South Florida to provide hot meals until power was restored to a community of migrant workers.  Now today, a new tropical storm has formed in the Caribbean and is predicted to become Hurricane Gamma later this week.  It is not expected to threaten the US coast but could cause damage in the Caribbean and Central America.  We are keeping a close eye on it.  We have also requested permission from the Cuban government to bring them a load of tarp for rebuilding their damage from Hurricane Wilma. We await their response and will keep you posted.

Going out to the people who can not physically cover their roofs.If your church is interested in preparing to be an effective part of our disaster relief team for the hurricane season of 2006, we will be offering a two week training session “Exercise Able Servant” in early June.  You may send a team leader who will be trained and sent back ready to prepare the others in your team who would like to be ready, willing and able to respond next season.  We plan to offer training and hands on experience here in the Lake Charles community. We will teach the basics of our response-food service, house to house ministry, commodity distribution, chain saw teams and how to integrate effective evangelism into these activities.  There is no cost and your representative will be provided with a bunk aboard ship and meals.  But there is limited availability so please register early.  To register to receive an application and notification of the dates please click here and email us your name and contact information.

If you are interested in serving with Friend Ships at Port Mercy.  Please download the appropriate volunteer application.  Groups please contact us to see what opportunities are  available to serve at Port Mercy in Lake Charles.

Guest Worker Application

(2 months or less)

Staff Application

(Longer than 2 months)


 

November 08:

Captive Free Singers come and share the Gospel through songs in the Good News tent.A new wave of workers coming into New Orleans and we are ministering the Gospel to them through music, food, preaching, clothing, and supplies.  These are migrant workers looking for opportunities.  In addition, our mobile evangelism teams are traveling through the neighborhoods in a systematic manner, bringing meals and supplies along with prayer to the residents who are working on their houses.A group goes out into residential homes around the Good News tent to meet with the people cleaning out our salvaging what they can.  So many are struck hard by the effects of Katrina.

Much of New Orleans is still living in Baton Rouge, commuting to the city daily.  This clogs I-10 in the morning and evening with traffic.  Grief and loss do not go away even two months after the storm occurred.  Jesus never denied the reality of grief, he experienced it himself (see John 11:32, "Jesus wept."). But Jesus is "the resurrection and the life."  There is a new life waiting for New Orleans if we listen to Jesus and roll back the stone from the tomb where it has been laid.  Alternatively, if we give in to the grief and ignore Jesus' command to roll back the stone, we will never see this Lazarus rise.  Our part is to listen to what he has told us to do; he is the one who will bring resurrection life into this situation.

Captive Free group goes out into areas hit to pray with those needing prayer and comfort.It is wonderful to see the people from many churches responding in faith.  They are coming from everywhere and they are filled with the desire to pray for these people and see New Orleans saved.  Yes, they are bold enough to believe that New Orleans needs to be saved.  Anyone honest with themselves know this to be true, the debate will be "who will be able to save New Orleans?"  Let the Church's voice rise clearly in unison that Jesus is the one who both can and will save New Orleans from every situation if they will only believe.

Receiving blankets, water and other supplies at the Good News Tent.

Chief Engineer keeps the ships in great shape.

Captive Free Singers performing at the Good News tent.

Receiving blankets, water and other supplies at the Good News Tent.

Chief Engineer Wally keeps the ships in ship shape while docked in New Orleans.

Captive Free Singers performing at the Good News tent.

 

If you are interested in serving with Friend Ships.  Please download the appropriate volunteer application.  Groups please contact us to see what opportunities are  available to serve at Port Mercy in Lake Charles.

Guest Worker Application

(2 months or less)

Staff Application

(Longer than 2 months)

 

Past Updates


November 01:

One of the families visited by our teams going door-to-door.We have now completed our work in the City of Gretna and are concentrating in New Orleans.  Our teams have gone door-to-door to EVERY HOME IN GRETNA, delivering supplies, sharing the Gospel, and praying for everyone they have encountered.  It has been an amazing experience to see God working through us over the past 8 weeks.  Roofs were tarped, houses cleaned out, and people healed of deep Boxes being put together to deliever to families in need.emotional wounds.  In all, we tarped almost 200 homes, cleaned debris out of 46 homes, and personally led 74 people to the Lord that we have addresses for and directed to local churches.  Many more gave their lives to the Lord or re-dedicated themselves to Him during prayer with one of our teams.  Every single home that was tarped or cleaned out received prayer and even an encouraging song such as “Amazing Grace” was sung on their doorstep by our team.  The impact of God's love is indeed AMAZING!

The best estimate for the number of volunteers who have been housed on our ships HOPE and MERSEA is around 800 throughout the past 8 weeks and continues.  Many of the volunteers told us their lives were changed by being a part of this mission in New Orleans.  To God be all the glory!


Volunteers come from all over to help serve those in need and alos those helping to clean up New Orleans from the recent Hurricane damage.

October 26: Some roofing and cleanup continues in Gretna and Lafitte, but most of our focus has been in New Orleans at the City Park distribution center.  We are now feeding about 2000 people per day and distributing warm clothes (the weather has really gotten cooler), blankets, Bibles (thank you American Bible Society!), and personal care items.  Teams are leading worship twice a day: lunch and dinner.  Preaching and one-on-one witnessing is happening at each meal, while evangelism teams are going into the neighborhoods, finding the people, and blessing them with hot meals.We are now feeding about 2000 people per day at the New Orleans distribution site.  The first families came in to receive some food and other items.  Up until now, it has been mostly single men in the city.  Elderly residents are returning next week and we have been invited to come help them at their residential center and provide a chapel service for them.  The people are hungry for worship and the Word of God.  We thank God that we get to be the ones to feed His sheep!

 

Lee University in Tennessee is sending teams of students down every weekend now and they are wonderful workers.Lee University in Tennessee is sending teams of students down every weekend now and they are wonderful workers.

 

If you are interested in serving with Friend Ships in the Relief Efforts or in the Lake Charles vicinity, the best way to contact us is to call (337) 433-5022.  You can make financial donations online at anytime.  If you would like to mail a donation or supplies please send them to Friend Ships Unlimited at Port Mercy, 1019 North First Avenue, Lake Charles, LA 70601. 

 

People coming to get free bibles.  Also many requesting prayer to get them through these times.

Preaching and one-on-one witnessing is happening at each meal.

Get clothes for those in need.

 

Group helping to prepare lunch, opening sweet potatoes and pooring into large cooking pan.

Grilling up roast beef for dinner.

Hungry workers getting meals...

 

Many homes totally destroyed from Hurricane Katrina...

After the leve broke many houses near were flooded to the ceilings leaving total destruction.

Hurricane Katrina left a trail of destruction...

 

This a typical look around New Orleans.  Much has been removed from roads to allow access.

One of many churches or buildings completely destroyed and potiental health risks.

New Orleans still recoverying from recent Hurricanes...


 

October 21:

"The work of the relief unit is going well, greatly appreciated by people coming in for their look and leave visits. In Lakeview, that's all they can do. Look in despair at the remnants of their homes, wander around in a haze, dig a bit through the rubble, then go back to wherever they found shelter and refuge. We can't stock enough water, bleach, masks, baby supplies and hygiene products.  A tremendous blessing has been the Friend Ship ministry coming to our rescue. They have two ships docked out on the Mississippi along the West Bank. A dear old friend is one of their crew leaders. Every morning we drive across the bridge to load up on free supplies. A true God-send"   Pastor Jerry Kramer from Church of the Annunciation in New Orleans a district called Lakeview.

 


Lining up for Free meals...

 

October 19:

The ministry continues at our distribution site in New Orleans.  Three meals a day are being served, about 500 people per meal.   Friend Ships is providing Breakfast and Lunch, while Bay Community Ministries of Alabama is cooking Dinner.  The people are so appreciative!  Many workers are coming to New Orleans with no work clothes or boots.  The Lord has given us many work clothes and boots, so this makes them very happy to receive them from us free of charge.

Teams removing flood damaged walls and debri for those that physically cannot do it them selves.We were blessed this week to have a Gospel Music group from Delaware come and sing in the tent.  Sunday, Charles Green, a local pastor will preach.  He had the longest running daily radio program of anyone in New Orleans: 50 years!  He is a well-known figure in New Orleans and many people visiting the tent recognized him when they heard his voice.  Lee University in Tennessee is sending teams of students down every weekend now and they are wonderful workers.

Our cleanup crew did some work in New Orleans today helping elderly residents, when they got a call from the CityPraying for residents and workers struggling with this emotional pain.  In the midst of the pain, Jesus has placed us to be there with them with a smile, helping hands, and gracious words. of Lafitte with more addresses of people who needed help cleaning out their homes.  The clean-up process is very long and many houses have not even begun yet.  The streets in New Orleans are full of workers, but not many residents.  One resident is living in a tent on the 50-yardline of the park stadium.  He has visited his house, but cannot seem to bring himself to make decisions about what to do next.  He is very humorous, but that humor hides a very deep and very real pain.  There is much pain and bitterness in this city over the destruction of their lives and property.

The roofing team continues to cover roofs with vinyl to protect them until repaired later.Prayers should be lifted up for residents struggling with this emotional pain.  In the midst of the pain, Jesus has placed us to be there with them with a smile, helping hands, and gracious words.  Even the most cynical people see that. 

Our roofing team is continuing to cover Gretna in heavy tarp material.  These cities will be forever changed by this hurricane season.  Our prayers are that the change will be a move towards God; and it is happening!


 

The Good News Tent has supplies and clothes for people to shop for free.October 18:

So much is happening!  We continue to be blessed to have volunteers come and join us in our efforts to reach out to those in New Orleans and the surrounding areas.  The scene around New Orleans is still devastating to see how much has been completely destroyed.  Much has been cleared away from the roads to allow access but there is so much to do where ever you look around.

      

People come to the Good News Tent to hear good music and the word of God. In the background is the area for shopping for items needed.At the Good News Tent at our New Orleans distribution site we have had so many people come to shop for free supplies and get clothes (which we have a great abundance of and no longer need).  Hundreds of free meals continue to be served thanks to our wonderful cooks.  We have had some great volunteering church teams come to do praise and worship music for all that come to eat or hear the good news.

 

Our door to door teams have just completed going throughout the City of Gretna and finding out the needs of the people and delivering food, supplies and clothes they need.  The roofing team continues to get calls of people still returning needing tarping on their roofs.  Praise God for the wonderful volunteers that have come and continue to be a blessing to the people in need.


 

October 15:

We unloaded a full 53-foot trailer from New York straight into our distribution tent in New Orleans City Park.  Immediately, the host of cleanup workers who have been hanging around the tent pitched in to get the truck unloaded in less than 2 hours!  This is amazing, considering that the whole truck was hand-stacked and packed to the gills with food, cleaning supplies, and clothing.  People are beginning to shop through the clothes and take what they need.  Many of the workers here to help with the cleanup effort left home with nothing but a few sets of clothes because they were in a rush to get here.  They are very thankful for the clothing (especially underwear!) and hot meals our team is providing.

One of them, an Assistant Fire Chief in central Illinois, told me, "I don't know what we would do without you people here.  We are not getting paid yet and we have no money to buy food."  This gives us the opportunity to tell them that God knows their need and cares for them.  Then we can point to the Bread of Life, Jesus, who is the bread that never ceases to fill them up.  We may be able to feed them for a season as God enables us, but Jesus can fill them up for eternal life! 

Groups of volunteers are leading worship with music in the tent at every meal.  Different people are getting up and sharing the Gospel, along with other encouraging words from the Bible.  Jesus is being exalted in the streets of New Orleans, people are fed, needs are met.  All of it is happening because thousands of Christians all over this country are saying "Yes!" to God and obeying the simple command of Jesus to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  Glory to God!


October 13:

Our Good News Tent in New Orleans City Park was visited by Rev. Jesse Jackson and a group he brought from Memphis.  They were amazed at what was happening here.  Rev. Jackson promised to do what he could to help us.  More and more of the people from the surrounding neighborhoods are joining us for meals and praise and worship now as they are coming back to their homes.  Jerry Taylor of Bay Community Ministries in Alabama has brought a cook trailer and is preparing lunch and dinner at the Tent.  Our volunteers are seeing people believe on the Lord Jesus for their salvation.

Back in Gretna, we continue with the work of roof tarping and praying for people.  The cleanup crew is helping elderly residents of Lafitte clean out their houses.  Tomorrow, they should be finished with Lafitte and move into New Orleans.

The Lord is being lifted up in the eyes of men and the words and works of mercy are displaying the power of His love for all to see!


 

The Good News Tent for distribution and opportunities to hear music, the word and prayer.October 10:

Yesterday we began manning a distribution site in the New Orleans City Park.  Many migrant Hispanic workers came for lunch (we fed 400!) and wonderful worship music provided by a team from Hope College in Michigan on their Fall Break.  The workers told us how they felt the peace of God in this tent and it was so different from the problems outside the tent.  They are waiting for jobs and not getting paid until they actually go out to a jobsite.  The contractor they are working for began charging them for meals, so the free meals are a real blessing to these men.  One of the workers was a young man from New Orleans East neighborhood.  He had returned to find work, but Praying with those needing prayer.wanted the Lord's direction and guidance about how to rebuild his life.  He is thinking about moving away and starting over.

One of the contractor supervisors tried to get us to move our tent to the middle of a golf course, which was totally unsatisfactory for serving people.  We need to be right where the people are.  Just as our Mission Director was telling him that we could not move, the Director of the City Parks drove up and asked who we were.  When he was told our team was from Friend Ships, he said that he had spoken with some of our people and he had no problem with us staying in the City Park where we are because we are helping people, but the contractors needed to pay some kind of rent to the City because they are a business.  The Volunteer praise and worship team plays encouraging music to the people coming to eat...Lord is the one opening the doors for us to minister to His people in New Orleans and he is the one keeping them open even when others try to shut them!  There is a HUGE opportunity to minister to the many Hispanics here in New Orleans.  Teams from Spanish-speaking churches are needed!  

Our God is doing a mighty work in this city and now is the time for us to follow His lead through the open doors into the hearts of people He wants to reach.


At night you can see the city of New Orleans and the lights of those that have returned...October 5:

Today we had people begin driving up to the Gretna warehouse asking if this was a Distribution Point for food and other supplies.  These people were not from Gretna, but rather from New Orleans.  This triggered something: it is now time to begin distribution inside the City of New Orleans.

Our Mission Director and Director of Operations spent much of the afternoon driving around New Orleans looking for that perfect site to set up.  A ministry partner from Christian World Embassy called to say he was doing the exact same thing and that we should meet.  In the process of trying to meet him, our Mission Director got lost in New Orleans.  When he called again, he was near the City Park near hundreds of large trucks, campers, and tents full of contractors preparing to rebuild the city.  The ministry partner found our team and began to strategize about finding a site.  Then one of his team brought up a man in a baseball hat.  He said he was a Christian and a State Representative from the 9th Ward, the part of the city hit hardest by flooding.  When this Representative heard what we were trying to do, he said that he Roofing teams at work helping those who can not fix their roofs...wanted us to come to a meeting with the New Orleans City Council tomorrow morning!  This was a divine appointment!!!  This Representative is bringing back pastors to New Orleans and helping them find jobs with the construction contractors cleaning up and rebuilding in the city as well as getting them a place to live.

Our roof tarping and cleanup crews continue to bless the elderly and others.  Our door-to-door teams saw 5 people become believers in Jesus today!  God is ordering our steps and we are walking in miracles.

 

Attention all Pastors and Missions Directors:

Consider sending teams to help restore the New Orleans community the opportunities are great and the time do something is now!  Come and make a impact on lives today by serving those affected by the recent Hurricanes.  Click here to email us for more information on how your church team can get involved.

 

If you are interested in serving with Friend Ships in the Relief Efforts or in the Lake Charles vicinity, the best way to contact us is to call (337) 433-5022.  You can make financial donations online at anytime.  If you would like to mail a donation or supplies please send to:  Friend Ships Unlimited at Port Mercy, 1019 North First Avenue, Lake Charles, LA 70601.

 

Semi truck loads of supplies delivered to the warehouse for distribution.

Volunteer sorting through bags and bags of clothing to find sizes for people requesting clothes...

Volunteers sorting through supplies and putting together boxes for families in need...

Semi truck loads of supplies delivered to the warehouse for distribution.

Volunteer sorting through bags and bags of clothing to find sizes for people requesting clothes.

Volunteers sorting through supplies and putting together boxes for families in need.

 

Praying for people picking up supplies from the distribution site.

Preparing boxes of supplies families are in need of.

New socks and under garments for those requesting.

Praying for people picking up supplies from the distribution site.

Preparing boxes of supplies families.

New socks and under garments for those requesting them.

 

October 4:Disaster response teams going door to door and helping to clean up for those who cannot.

We were blessed to get in two additional teams of workers and now have a staff of about 80 people here in Gretna working full time on relief.  Our crew and short-term volunteers have been going door-to-door at the request of Gretna's Mayor, assessing the needs of his community.  Many more people have returned home over the past week.  There is actually traffic on the streets and schools are open.  A team has been driving around downtown New Orleans, giving cold drinks to people they find and praying for them.  Our roofing team continues to tarp roofs all over Gretna and surrounding Jefferson Parish.  A Toys delivered to schools for boys and girls.cleanup crew began today in the City of Lafitte, in south Jefferson Parish.  This city was flooded and many senior citizens require assistance in cleaning out their homes.  On Monday, the school children of Gretna returned to find toys waiting for them at school!  The boys each received a truck and girls got a doll, each with a small card stating the toy was from Jesus with love.

Trucks continue to arrive with supplies.  The warehouse here has been replenished, as we had almost depleted all of the food we had to offer.  But God is good, and He knows the needs of His people!


October 2:

Today is the 20th year anniversary of when Friend Ships received our first ship, SPIRIT and what a great way to celebrate, by being fully occupied on two fronts to help our neighbors in need.

 

Teams are going into downtown New Orleans and to the city of Lafitte, fixing roofs, cutting trees, distributing goods and encouraging people. On Sunday we were visited by Senator Landrieu of Louisiana who came to thank us for the work we are doing. Please continue to pray for us, support the work and send church teams!  Thanks for keeping us out here. Much good work is being accomplished for the Kingdom of God.


 

October 1:

So much is happening here at the distribution staging warehouse wonderful assorted supplies are coming in from all over.  We had 3 semi trucks deliver relief supplies and a box truck delivered relief supplies we could use on our door to door outreaches, and the local New Orleans School of Urban Missions also had some supplies.  It is truly a wonderful thing to see us all come together and work for the restoration of the people here in Gretna and New Orleans.

 

The door to door teams were out in full force and able to assist a lot of people that can not help themselves.  The roofing team was busy putting vinyl tarping on damaged roofs.  We also had a team out in the City of New Orleans giving out cold drinks and praying for people.


 

September 30:

This week we set up a distribution center, served hot meals and distributed commodities.  Next week our focus will return to door-to-door runs, in search of people who particularly need our help.  For two days, teams went into downtown New Orleans distributing cold water and talking with people they found there.  We helped with provisions for a ministry that is taking a cook trailer downtown to serve hot meals and we continued with our roofing projects.  Our director visited the city of Lafitte and found it flooded with much work to do there.  Our teams also loaded trucks of commodities and sent them to Lake Charles to help with the relief effort there.

Thank you for your wonderful help!  We continue to need your financial support, commodities for distribution (see current needs list), your prayers most of all and we also need church teams who will come to assist in both locations.


September 27:Friend Ships Response Team member praying for a family and their needs.

It was a busy day at the distribution site seeing over 200 cars.  We had so many requests for supplies that we had to re-supply the site just after lunch.  After loading up the vehicles with the supplies our teams had the opportunity to pray for each of them.

 

The roofing team was in full force tarping storm damaged roofs.  The chain saw team went out into the French Quarter to evaluate the needs and assist.

 

At the warehouse it has been busy sorting through bulk items and separating them for individual families.  The team in the warehouse also gets the list of needs from the roofing teams and fills the orders with the needed supplies so they can deliver those things.  It is truly awesome to see God working and providing the needs of those in this city.

 


September 24:

Restocking supplies to give out at the distribution site.Much has been taking place even through Hurricane Rita here in New Orleans and Gretna area.  We broadcasted the RADIO HOPE 107.9 FM 18 hours a day broadcasting important information during Hurricane Rita.

 

We had a team assisting the city driving dump trucks full of sand to help with repairs to a levee to strengthen it so that it would not break during Hurricane Rita.

 

Even through weather from Hurricane Rita we had teams out roofing, cutting down fallen trees and yard cleanup throughout Gretna.  Delivered supplies to a local church conducting a distribution point in Gretna.

 

Delivered supplies of food, clothing, and personal care items into the city of Lafitte for evacuees at a Red Cross shelter.  Food was delivered to School of Urban Missions Volunteers.  Bibles were given to Church Planters in the French Quarter.

Over 17,000 households have been supplied through our relief distribution efforts currently.


 

September 22: Hurricane Rita has taken a northern/eastern jog and our home base, Port Mercy at Lake Charles is now in danger of receiving severe weather with a predicted possible 15' surge on the Calcasieu River where our base is located.  We are making the necessary preparations and most crew will transfer to the ships in Gretna at New Orleans.  Our office is especially at risk so the computers will be removed and moved to the ship Hope. stored aboard ship.  We hope to regularly update the site from there, so check with us daily.  Early next week we will evaluate what we can do together to help people affected by the monster Hurricane Rita as well as continue our response to Hurricane Katrina.


 

September 21:

When our teams visit homes of people, they find out what the needs are and we do our best to meet them.  If there are needs we can't meet (a lost loved one, a feeling of hopelessness and despair, etc.) we offer to pray with them.  Most are happy and grateful to do so.  Some people are already believers and others are not. For those who are not, the team tells them of the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with the Maker of the Universe.The Mersea in New Orleans...

We are in need of more pressure washers, mops, buckets and other cleaning items.  Please see current list of needs. We are all watching Hurricane Rita closely to see if she will come back into the New Orleans area, our home of Lake Charles in southwest Louisiana or our neighbor Texas.  Thank you friends for the wonderful help you have given us in so many ways!


September 20:

Going door to door delivering food and supplies.We continue to send out several teams each day door to door, meeting the needs of people and these past few days have been extremely fruitful in the spiritual work we are doing.  Many, many people have given their hearts to Jesus!

 

We have been asked to resume a large distribution center serving cooked food and distributing goods for those who need them.  Our men continue roofing homes, a service that will prove invaluable with Hurricane Rita bearing down and the possibility of torrential rains. We have brought a pressure washer to the site and will begin helping with heavy duty clean up of homes.

 

Teams praying for the people after working on their roofs and yards etc.We are in need of more pressure washers, mops, buckets and other cleaning items.  Please see current list of needs. We are all watching Hurricane Rita closely to see if she will come back into the New Orleans area, our home of Lake Charles in southwest Louisiana or our neighbor Texas.  Thank you friends for the wonderful help you have given us in so many ways!

 

We are looking now down the road and planning for stage two of this response, as people who did evacuated begin to return to their homes and as the City of New Orleans opens up the business districts and some residential areas. There is massive clean up ahead and there will be many opportunities to help people get lives back on track.

 

If you are interested in serving with Friend Ships in the Katrina Relief Efforts.  Please download the appropriate volunteer application.


 

September 18:

Sunday was taken as a day of rest for our great troops who have worked long days without a break since a few days prior to Hurricane Katrina.  This week, we continued to gather supplies and go door to door, meeting needs of individuals and families in the two lowest income neighbors in Gretna that have been assigned to us.  We are meeting many wonderful people who have been through and continue to endure an immensely difficult time.  We help them by cutting fallen trees, tarping roofs, cleaning yards, bringing food and other needed items. We help them to retrieve property from condemned locations and of course, offer prayer and support. Sometimes, our teams have the heartbreaking job of helping people move from their homes when they are told by the authorities they must leave for safety reasons. We have been able to provide food and water to animals and even rescue a few including some who had been tied up at their homes since prior to the hurricane.  Also, we continue to broadcast Radio Hope FM107.9 emergency announcements, encouraging messages and uplifting music.  In the midst of all this trouble, there is good news.  Many are reaching out for a real relationship with God.  The Lord is pouring out His love and people are seeing that He and His servants are there in times of trouble. Thousands of people across the nation are reaching out in love to the victims of this vicious hurricane.


 

September 16:

Things are in full swing and very busy.  We have over a hundred people volunteering here in New Orleans. Among other work, we continue going out in team’s door to door, bringing hot meals and other supplies.  Some of the people are still living in houses that are condemned but have no where else to go.  One lady was ordered to leave her house due to the extreme condition of it, so our crew has tried to help her move her possessions.  We find more people in a similar situation each day.

We have looked at the situation and find that there is a long term need here.  We continue to reach out to the people in the surrounding areas.

On the Hope we just got a satellite communication system installed to allow us to have computers setup with high speed broadband connections and to allow a vonage phone (through a broadband).

This will enable us to help locate family or friends of the people we are serving. There are many website lists with names of those that have been rescued or were evacuated and we hope to be able to reunite them. This will also allow our teams and other relief workers to keep informed of what is happening.


September 15:

The Relief Ship Mersea arrived last night and now joins the Hope in New Orleans.  We have 6 teams going out door to door finding out the needs of the people.  Going back to the warehouse and filling bags with the needed supplies and delivering them and praying for each person. 

 

Work continues in neighborhoods as our teams go out and cut down fallen trees from buildings and patching roofs with vinyl tarp material.  The radio Hope is in full swing and going well.

 

Friend Ships would like to thank Crown Broadcast, Kerber Applied Research, and Blessings for Obedience for the incredible blessing of an FM Radio Broadcast Station operating fully licensed by the FCC from our ship HOPE.  Radio HOPE is transmitting on 107.9 FM important emergency information, news, messages from public officials, encouraging music, interviews with volunteers from all over the country, and messages of hope.  From our position in Gretna, we are able to reach most of the greater New Orleans area by radio.


 

September 14:

Work continues at our two distribution sites and the roofing team is out every day helping people in need.  Waters are receding in the city and government teams are going into access the situation.

 

We now have an antenna installed on the ship and the vessel Hope is an official radio broadcast station with a 25 mile radius on 107.9 FM.  Today we had our first live HOPE radio show playing Christian music.  We received calls from the public and were able to interview some people and we prayed for each person who called.  This is the first time in the history of the FCC that a private organization has received a radio signal.  This was arranged and made possible by Blessings for Obedience in order to assist the general public.


 

September 13:

Mersea is underway and meeting calm seas.  They expect to arrive at the mouth of the Mississippi tomorrow morning and join up with Relief Ship Hope at 1800 hours (6:00 pm tomorrow evening).  The team in New Orleans has received a list of elderly people and shut-ins who need help. They go from house to house, bringing breakfast, tarping roofs and having prayer. We are starting now to deliver groceries, Bibles and other items to help them stock their shelves and have even been able to supply food for cats and dogs.  Today we will start to prepare and serve meals three times a day for the local police department.  One team of ALERT men with our group is also providing the service of cutting away fallen trees that are causing problems.  Within a few days, we expect to start receiving a large amount of trucks coming in with goods for distribution, directly to our base camp. Our distribution sites are guarded now by the military as people in the community start to return to their homes and the number of people we are serving grows.  There still are only a handful of stores stocked and open so access to essential goods is in high demand. On Thursday, HOPE will be set up with a satellite system that will provide full broadband communication and Internet access. This will be a tremendous service to government workers and relief teams as well as giving our staff the ability to research services available and information on lost loved ones for community residents.


 

September 12:

Relief ship Mersea has left the Friend Ships Port Mercy home port headed to New Orleans loaded with more food, clothes, and other supplies.  This vessel will provide 60 extra beds to accommodate relief workers.

 

We sent a semi truck loaded with two containers full of bibles, toys, and food items from the Port Mercy home port.  A refrigerated semi truck left our west coast base loaded with yogurt, fresh fruit, and other food supplies.  These trucks are to resupply the base operations in New Orleans.

 


 

September 11:

Port Mercy received this report from the Mission Director at M/V Hope, Saturday September 10, 2005.

Greetings from onboard the vessel Hope.  We arrived at the port after a two and 1/2 day sail and some rough seas.  It was truly a sad sight as we headed up the Mississippi river and sailed past downtown. It was like entering a third world country at war. It seems as if New Orleans is being given mouth to mouth resuscitation and sometimes it feels as if the battle for its life is being lost. Blackhawk’s and other helicopters swarming the skies like flies, Navy ships and Coast Guard vessels making a huge presence. Mostly the only vehicles to be seen were army trucks, police, tactical units, rescue trucks, fire trucks and many more of the armed forces.  We landed at one dock and were moved shortly after to a dock just north of the I-10 Bridge into New Orleans. This place is more than we could have ever hoped for. God is so in control of this!!!  We have a huge dock warehouse space with power and water (not potable) and we have the use of cranes, forklifts and other machinery.

Within a day we had unloaded all supplies and had the chuck wagon set up to cook. The mayor has been amazing to us and is so grateful to Friend Ships for what we are doing for his people. He spoke to us at a "Morning Refreshing" (devotional meeting) and it was a very heartfelt message he shared with us. He has totally secured the dock, warehouse, ship and surrounding area for us. We have S.W.A.T. a team from West Virginia that was brought in to protect us. We also have the local police force and other armed forces watching over us here at the dock. The mayor wants to try and stabilized his town, get his people back on their feet and then reach out into other Parishes that are also a dire need.

Teams delievering water and other supplies to people.We swung into action and started the massive cook ups. Wings of Love arrived with a team of volunteers and brought with them their huge cook kitchen. We set up two prayer and food stations in the city in an area designated by the mayor. Many other trucks were there also unloading meals-ready-to-eat, water, ice and other disaster items. We now have our two field stations set up at the end of the distributions centers. This is the perfect place because the people are being rushed along in their cars as people quickly load them and move them on.

The lines have been endless. Then they come to the end and see we have REAL food, a hot meal (many have lived on nothing but meals-ready-to-eat, if that.) They can now slow down as we wave them over, greet them with a smile and simply say "Hey, how you doing?'" We offer them a hot meal, we also have personal care and other items to give and then ask if we can pray. Their hearts are open and as we listen to them we just hold their hands inside their cars and pray Gods' love over them.  When asked if he wanted some hot gumbo, one man said "No, l want prayer first and then maybe some gumbo later."  Both sites report that they are really seeing God just touch hearts in a wonderful way.

The cook team has been amazing. They have put out well over 2000 meals already and those pots keep stirring.  A lady from the mayor's office has drivers set up to continue picking up new batches of food from our warehouse and delivering them out to our sites for us.

ALERT team in action puting tarp material on roofs that were damaged.The ALERT team has been out in our 6x6 military truck helping to secure roofs with vinyl, including a local shop that was once the hub of the community. After they had finished they sang a song for the people and then prayed with them. These guys are so awesome.

We have several groups who have now arrived here from all over the country to work with us and have been a blessing to us also. Ken Henderson and a team from TBN arrived and got to work immediately. We have a reporter from the East Coast who slept on the dock with the National Guard, awaiting our arrival. 

The seriousness of it all was made very much real on our first day here when a rescue worker was up on a cherry picker fixing lines, and two snipers began firing at him. A Blackhawk helicopter came on the scene quickly and shot dead the snipers.  The second day more snipers opened fire on police not too far from our sites. We continue to keep all these amazing armed forces in prayer.  We have had many of them over for dinner and we have made available coffee and snacks at night for the S.W.AT teams if they want it.

Jesus and Company book by Don and Sondra Tipton.Two of the guys that came for dinner (one of them a Christian) went back out with a copy of Jesus & Company (a book about Friend Ships written by Don and Sondra Tipton). The next day another guy that had come for dinner heard about the book and the other guys having one and asked if he too could have one. He said "In fact the other guys are jealous and want one."  So we sent him away with a big handful of Jesus and Company books.  So those that have been sent to protect us are now getting to know Friend Ships a whole lot more.

God's favor, His plans and His will are being poured out. Sitting on the deck of the Hope last night looking over at downtown New Orleans, it was like a scene from a war movie as helicopters lit up the sky with their search lights, scanning the bridge, the high rises and streets, Coast Guard zooming past, looking for snipers and looters and then looking around to the dock and seeing S.W.AT men positioned on the dock behind us. God is with us! The Angel of the Lord encamps around about those who fear the Lord.

Well that's about it from the Hope, we are praying for you all at Port Mercy, especially at this time got the crew. That is the place where all missions begin and end and we know you are so busy and so much is happening and we are lifting you up in our prayers.

Blessings from all the Hope crew.

 

 September 10th:

The Friend Ships crew has set up base camp at the port facility in downtown New Orleans on the Mississippi River and from there are organizing and dispatching goods and teams, networking with many other organizations.  The ship sits downtown at the docks looking up at the giant skyscrapers with the French Quarter on the right, the Superdome to our left and the twin tower bridge overhead. It is an eerie sight to see this giant city with no lights. The water is receding in the main city but the smell and sanitation are horrendous.   

Cooking and serving the hundreds in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.We are currently working in three locations.  One is mobile as truck and crew are going from house to house tarping roofs on the west bank of the Mississippi in an area where the residents are returning to their homes but have no water, sanitation or power.  Teams from other cities are working to restore power as quickly as possible.  Two of our teams are based in distribution centers, giving out goods, serving hot meals and offering prayer to those who come.  Cars are lined up to receive and the hot meals are a huge hit!  In fact, we had to shut down serving at one point and call the ALERT crew who are with us in back from roofing in order to provide security as people panicked for more food. People are anxious to pray and are most appreciative for this extra blessing.


 

September 9th:

Drivers go out into the neighborhood to deliver supplies and food to those that are in need.Today operations are in full swing at base camp in Gretna.   The Mayor's office has given us a list of homes that need our help. Our truck and team are visiting them one by one, supplying tarp and/or tarping their roofs.  We served hundreds of hot meals today and will increase that amount each day as needed. We are distributing commodities to those in need.  A truck arrived at the site today from our base in Los Angeles, full of Yoplait yogurt, frozen meat, hygiene supplies and other needed items.


Unloading Container of precious cargo...

 

September 8th:

Relief Ship HOPE was given special transit last night on the Mississippi river to allow them to arrive in Gretna.  They are currently docked and preparing to offload containers of supplies.  Once we get further details we will post more information for you.

 

Hurricane Katrina left a trail of destruction leaving so many without homes or jobs....

 


September 7th:

Navigation on the bridge of the HOPE.Relief Ship HOPE is en route to Gretna Louisiana. We have hit rough seas that have reduced our speed but should arrive at the mouth of the Mississippi tonight where we will anchor and await a daylight transit of the river. Because of the hurricane, the aids to navigation are missing so that only daytime transits are permitted.  This will put us at the ferry dock in Gretna sometime late afternoon Thursday. We are coordinating with the Mayor's office to plan the outreaches for the areas of greatest need.  We intend to set up base camp right along the ship and reach out from there, providing supplies, hot meals and roofing repair assistance. Here at Port Mercy we continue to take in supplies and prepare them to be loaded aboard Mersea.  We still are in need of all supplies to use to distribute to the churches in our area housing evacuees and to prepare additional loads to deliver to Gretna for distribution.  Please keep sending supplies!

 


Loading Containers full of relief supplies for Katrina Relief Effort...

September 6th:

Relief Ship HOPE sailed for the Gretna Louisiana last night and will arrive on Wednesday.  We are loaded with food, clothing, roofing material, water and other critical items.  Here at Port Mercy, we have started to ready the ship and supplies for our ship Mersea to sail as soon as possible. We are loading containers with food, water and clothing.


 

September 5th:

Relief Ship HOPE is ready to sail from Port Mercy for the 2 day transit to Gretna, Louisiana, just outside of downtown New Orleans.  She is loaded with tons of food, water, diapers, bedding, paper products, clothing, personal care items and roofing tarp.  We will also carry in a cook trailer so that meals can be prepared for those in need and a water purifying trailer.  The vessel will be manned by Friend Ships crew and a team of ALERT disaster relief workers. We will arrive in Gretna on Wednesday and be met by additional workers including a 10 man team from "Soldier’s for Christ".

The second ship, Mersea will prepare to sail as soon as possible and we are gathering the load now.  We are in still in need of flashlights and batteries, generators, dry food items, bottled water, clothing, linens, hammers and roofing nails.  Please send to Port Mercy at 1019 North First Avenue, Lake Charles, LA  70601


September 4th:

Donated Containers and donated transportation delivers to the HOPE to load with supplies for relief mission.Today we are loading the ship. A container company is loaning us 22 of their 20ft. shipping containers to assist with our program of aid. A trucking company is donating the transportation of these to us.  Today we have already had the first three semi trucks deliver two containers on each load and more are on the way.

Also a semi load of water and other needed supplies has arrived this morning from a group in Houston and we are expecting two more loads from other places this afternoon. Ten men from Alert Academy have arrived to sail with us tomorrow. The entire team at Port Mercy is in full swing preparing for all the different aspects of this mission.


September 3rd:

Hurricane Katrina Damage in Biloxi...Friend Ships has been given special permission from the Coast Guard to sail to the effected area, although it is still closed to regular traffic.  By invitation of the Mayor of Gretna our ship Hope will sail early next week with food, water and other needed supplies to Gretna a city across the Mississippi river from New Orleans.  Our helicopter has been granted permission to fly and we are preparing to load supplies.

YOU CAN HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE!   Click here to see items need below.Companies helping by giving supplies needed.

ALERT Academy is sending cadets to assist along side our crew during our ship response.  Many individuals and companies are contacting us to see how they can help.

We are so encouraged by all the emails and phone calls we are receiving offering all kinds of assistance.  It's only because of you that we are able to reach out to the needy during this time.  Thank You!


YOU CAN HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Consider a financial gift for this effort.  Funds donated will purchase fuel or other needed items for disaster response in the most effective way.  Because we own and operate our own ships, Friend Ships is glad to take donations of both goods and funds.  The entire Friend Ships staff is composed of unpaid volunteers so your gift goes far to meet needs and makes a great impact!

To donate online funds for this effort, (click here - Please specify in the comments "Disaster Response").  If you would like to donate goods and supplies or get more information, email or call "Port Mercy" at (337) 433-5022.  Together we can be a blessing to people in need!  Please check back for updates.

Items needed for

General Disaster Response:

* 30kw Generators

* Bottled Water

* Toilet Paper

* Personal Hygiene Supplies: Shampoo, Conditioner, Soap, Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Deodorant, Hairbrush, etc.

* Feminine Products: Tampons and pads

* Diapers & Pull-ups:

         Diapers: Newborn, 1, 2, 3, 4, & 5

         Pull-ups: sizes: 2T, 3T, & 4T

         Overnights (night-time diapers): small, medium & large

* Shrink Wrap

* Non-Perishable Food: Canned foods, canned meats & canned vegetables

* Work Gloves (all sizes)

* Push Brooms, Standard Brooms, Mops, Scrubbing Brushes

* Building Supplies & Tools: Tin roofing, Drywall, Plywood, Roofing nails, Hammers, Screws, Drills Tools, etc.

* Rubber Boots & work boots

* Paper Products:  Paper towels, Napkins, Face tissue, Paper/ plastic plates & Utensils.

* Towels & Linens (all sizes): Bath towels, Face towels, Bed sheets etc.

    

Volunteer Lindsay unloading donated supplies.

Bottled water

Raman Noodles and Cupa-soups

Personnal care items

  

Hurricane Katrina Relief

Companies give supplies to hurricane katrina survivors

Individuals bring in what they can to help those from hurricane katrina.

*Previous Hurricane Ivan 2004, Read about how Friend Ships was able to help victims of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

November 2005

Keywords: Aid to Katrina Victims, Helping the Hurricane Katrina victims,  Left homeless from the devastating Hurricane Katrina, HELPING THOSE IN NEED!  Help to restore lives greatly effected by the devastation and destruction.  You can be apart of the team or give products or funds to help make it possible to reach out to those in need.