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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.

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Hurricane Rita - Lake Charles Past Reports


November  14:

Helping those effected by Hurricanes.

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!

Distribution site loading cars full of supplies.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.

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.


November 06:

This week our outreach portion was reduced even more as the local need continues to decrease. Apart from a rush on tarp when rain was imminent, that area is very quiet still. The feeding program has continued and is going very well. There are fewer customers each day. We have a local 87 year old woman who comes and helps daily. God really touched her life recently and she loves helping in the tent.  Red Cross is apparently stopping some of their feeding today so we will see what happens then! Maybe we will have more people needing food. The chainsaw team is almost finished their list of urgent local needs. They have been a huge blessing to many local people especially the elderly. Even this many weeks after the hurricane many of the elderly in our area still have received no help and have uncovered holes in their roofs. One woman was so discouraged at the state of her yard and house that she prayed that someone would come that very day! And our guys turned up on her doorstep. We praise God for divine appointments like that. We had a film crew from the local TV station came out on a tree lopping run to film our guys at work. It was a story for the senior report about what we were doing to assist the seniors in the community. Friday was the last day of radio Port Mercy! What a wonderful tool this has been and a blessing too many. We praise God for the opportunity he gave us to have this radio station during the critical time.

 

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.


 

October 31:

Cooking meals at Port Mercy during Hurricane Rita Relief efforts. Pictured is Jennifer and Kevin helping with meals.

This week we began phasing out our outreach here in Lake Charles.  All four shopping tents have now been closed and moved and are again acting as temporary warehouse storage. When someone comes now with a genuine need, we get a list of their needs and shop for them from our wonderful little "shopping area".  We continue to pick up many loads of great frozen food and the cooking team is using it to provide hot meals to hundreds each day.  The crowd coming for food is decreasing in size also.  However there have undoubtedly been some divine appointments where our team has been able to pray for people and God has touched their lives dramatically.

Kids find books, toys and other items...After receiving free supplies so many families and individuals request prayer to get them through these trying and difficult times.People are still returning to the community.  We are pleased that we have been able to be in position to assist our neighbors but are even more pleased to see that the need is now decreasing as they are once again getting back on their feet.

Vinyl tarp material used to help cover damaged roofs.The tarp department continues to slow down with each day.  Only a handful of customers come each day for free vinyl tarp. We are also closing down the chainsaw & roofing teams.  Phone calls have been made to the remaining people on the list to see who still has a need. We are going to continue to only work on ones that have a tree on their home, and some others who have trees in their yard but really seem to need our help.

This week there was a very bad accident.  A guest worker working on the chainsaw team fell 20 feet from a ladder.  Please pray for Tom who has been flown back to Wisconsin for surgery & recovery.  Please pray that God will use this for good & that He will totally heal Tom.  Click here to check on updates when we receive them on his condition.

The radio license for Radio Mercy was due to expire at midnight on Friday.  Many people called the station saying how much they appreciated the radio & expressed disappointment that it was going off air.  Late Friday, however - there was a reprieve with a new license being issued for another couple of weeks!  Apparently this is amazing and almost unprecedented. We praise God for what he is doing as we know that this may pave the way for us in the future, and even other ministries to get licenses more easily!

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.


October 27:

The City of Lake Charles is slowly recuperating from the damage created by Hurricane Rita and many things are beginning to normalize.  With power and water restored and many stores open, we felt that it was time to close up the "shopping tents," although we continue to serve a hot lunch and distribute tarp as needed.  We are also available to fill orders as needed for those who are just now returning home and require supplies. It has been a fruitful time here in our own community. We have made many new friends and our neighbors have a new understanding of our work throughout the world. In the last few days we have started to repair our damages here at Port Mercy with new roofs going up and supplies being returned to safe places.Friend Ships gives out free meals to those hungry...


 

October 20:

On a daily basis, we are serving hundreds of hot meals and helping the community by distributing clothing, hygiene supplies and other items we have to distribute.  There is no longer much demand for ice, water and meals that can be prepared with power but many other things are still needed.

 

Friend Ships received a great donation from California for our Disaster Relief Team of a new semi tractor and trailer that has previously been used in the movie industry. Our teams are going out each day to do chain saw work and provide tarps for roofs.  We are blessed to have had a regular flow of volunteers from churches around the country.  It is awesome.  We are keeping an eye on Hurricane Wilma and preparing ourselves here at Port Mercy.  Our base on the island of Roatán in Honduras is being pounded with torrential rain and high winds as Wilma passes closely by.  Central America as well as the U.S. has taken a beating this hurricane season.

Last week we received a great donation from California for our Disaster Relief Team of a new semi tractor and trailer that has previously been used in the movie industry.  It is equipped with 2-100KW Crewmember prays for those requesting prayer during these times.generators and a beautiful trailer and will carry goods and serve us on the field in many ways.

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.


 

October 18:

We continue to give out food, clothes, personal care supplies, hot meals and beautiful new toys for the children.We continue to see volunteer teams and individuals arriving almost daily to assist in the relief work here in Lake Charles.  What a blessing to work along side these amazing men and women who have come from all corners of the United States to serve those in need.  At the end of each day during our time of debriefing we sit and listen to the events of the day and are amazed at what God is doing through us and in us.

Our medical clinic saw their last patients this past Friday as most hospitals and other medical services are now operating once again here in town, which is a great praise report. Many patients received treatment and care and were ministered to by our medical team.

Friend Ships volunteers continue to tarp roofs and clear fallen trees from yards.We continue to give out food, clothes, personal care supplies, hot meals and beautiful new toys for the children.  Our team continues to tarp roofs and clear fallen trees from yards also. 

Radio 107.9 MERCY continues to broadcast great music and encouraging messages to the community! Local Pastors are coming on board to share Gods word and bring Hope to the listeners.

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.


October 13: 

Vinyl coated material donated by Seaman Corporation is a Great Blessing!We have calculated the tarp we have distributed from Port Mercy since Hurricane Rita hit 18 days ago and were surprised to realize that we have given out 23 miles of materials!  That is almost 150 times around our big ship Spirit!

 

People waiting to shop for food and supplies at the Port Mercy distribution site.In addition, we are seeing about 800 people (representing about as many families) in the "warehouse" area everyday and are feeding a couple of thousand meals.  We have seen 250 to 300 patients in the medical tents and distributed medicines as needed. We are able to pray with many, many people, give food, clothes, personal care supplies and beautiful new toys to children who lost theirs in the hurricane, tarp roofs and clean fallen trees from yards.  We broadcast on Radio Spirit several hours a day to offer helpful instruction and uplifting music and discussions.  Rev. Sam Tolbert from St. Mary's Missionary Baptist Church is now helping us man the radio broadcasts with exciting, encouraging messages to the community!

 

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.

 

Shopping for food and supplies.

Bibles give out at the distribution site.

Volunteer serving lunch at the Port Mercy distribution site.

Shopping for food and supplies.

Free Bibles for everyone.

Volunteer serving lunch at the Port Mercy distribution site.

 

More people coming from all around to shop for free supplies.

Praying for those effected by Hurricane Rita.

Teams go out and remove fallen trees in the community.

More people coming from all around to shop for free supplies.

Praying for those effected by

Hurricane Rita.

Teams go out and remove fallen trees in the community.

 

Friend Ships Port Mercy office has every one so busy...

Those needing tree removal or roofs tarped check in for assistance.

Personnel Director is busy getting more volunteers to assist in our relief efforts...

Friend Ships Port Mercy office has

every one so busy...

Those needing tree removal or roofs tarped check in for assistance.

Personnel Director is busy getting more

volunteers to assist in our relief efforts...

 

October 8:

As teams come and go from around the country, we are able to keep the work going on all fronts.  Church leaders, we need additional teams for the New Orleans outreach for the remainder of October.  We would like to continue all present programs and expand the work into downtown New Orleans.  Here in Lake Charles, a team of men skilled in construction are coming for 8 weeks and according to what the Lord has put on their hearts, will be helping us to rebuild Port Mercy.  Thank you Jesus!

Toys given to children from Jesus with Love!We have other teams and volunteers coming to help the community with tree removal and roof tarping as well as continued distribution of hot meals and items to restock the shelves.  We have a great assortment of food, water, ice, clothing, hygiene supplies and even toys.  Each recipient receives prayer and for many, that is the highlight of the outreach -- love, encouragement and faith in God to keep us going in times of trial!  Almost all of those who are coming for help are polite, grateful and sincere – awesome!  Many want to give back to help others.  While at times, we hear only of the bad side of things, as a report from ones who are on the ground working, it is a privilege to help the Louisiana communities and to host the incredible work teams and individuals from around the country who are here putting their shoulders to the plow!

So many thanks go also, to those who are sponsoring us financially, with truckloads of goods and for those who are backing us up with prayer!


October 7:

Port Mercy distribution and feeding location for the community after Hurricane Rita.Work continued today with hot meals served, tarp for roofs distributed, chain saw teams out, medical services given and commodities distributed in the curbside warehouse.  Water is now drinkable here in Lake Charles and power has been restored to most places!  Many people are just returning home though, so there continues to be much work to do.

Each evening we have a time together where the teams give testimonies of noteworthy things that have taken place during the day. The chain saw teams reported that they had a day of helping one widow after another with removing trees from all the wrong places.

We're setting up an expanded warehouse today along the curb side to offer hygiene supplies, food items and other needed items to those who come for ice, meals and roof tarping.A young woman who has joined us to help in this mission and has worked very hard, admitted that yesterday, she was feeling tired and wondered if people really appreciated anything we were doing for them.  She pushed through the feeling to put in a full day of helping others when later in the afternoon, two small girls approached her.  They moved in close to her and with shyness, told her how thankful they were for the help we were giving them and presented her with a card to give the crew to thank you and encourage us that Jesus will help us as we help others!  Only the Lord knows how to work through people to give us just the boost we need at just the time we need it!

One of our team reported a touching moment for him when he observed a visiting doctor who is working in our medical clinic at the church across the street. While taking a break from his medical work, he was on his knees scrubbing up a spot where the liquid from rotten meat had leaked out on the floor.  When asked why he was doing it, he said because someone had to, might as well be him.  That is the kind of servant hearts that are working here at Friend Ships, glory to our God, the King of Kings, who puts kindness, mercy and compassion in the hearts of His people!


 

October 5:

Many volunteers help cook and prepare meals to give out.We had a fruitful day today of cutting trees, roofing homes, distributing goods and serving food.  The chain saw team told us of one home they visited where the woman was in tears as they went about helping her get things back in order.  When the men asked why, she said she had just been sitting in her home, deeply depressed, when out of nowhere, the team knocked on the door and asked "What can we do to help you?" This kindness moved her to tears. Those moments are so precious to us.  Thanks friends, for helping us to be there for this woman and so many thousands of others.Loading Food into a freezer semi truck for cooking meals...

 

We received our first mail today since the hurricane.  We were able to go to the main post office and pick it up.  Things are normalizing little by little.  Most communities now have drinkable water, although not all.  There is not much power restored but some street lights, traffic signals and emergency facilities are being repaired first. 

 

Today, we are on the air with Radio Port Mercy, 107.9 FM Lake Charles!  We are broadcasting emergency information and uplifting Christian music.  The medical clinic is seeing patients each day and that is an added blessing to the community.  God is so very faithful!

 

Patching roofs to help prevent further water damage...He has supplied us with everything we need each day through the generosity of His people.  It is awesome to see Him work in this big and exciting way.  Every part of God's team is so important and allows the mission to function to bless thousands of people who are in troubled, frightening circumstances and need our help.  What an honor we have to be God's servants in these times and show who He is through demonstrating His love!  Each one reading this who has participated through your gifts, prayers, love or labor is making this happen.

 

Please know that you join in the work we are able to accomplish and know that it is our victory-each one of you, together with each of us here on the front line!

 

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.


October 4:

Friend Ships volunteer medical staff started to see patients in the free medical clinic.Yesterday we started to see patients in the free medical clinic and we put up a group of tents, tables and chairs so that our friends who come for a hot meal will have a nice place in the shade to dine.  We're setting up an expanded warehouse today along the curb side to offer hygiene supplies, food items and other needed items to those who come for ice, meals and roof tarping.

 

The community continues to have no power or drinking water and there remains debris and downed power lines in the streets, so we have a ways to go until things are somewhat normalized.  We have been blessed with the use of big generators to run our entire facility so that the situation here at Port Mercy is good and enables us to concentrate our efforts on helping the community.

 

Doctor Hopkins attending a person in the Free medical clinic.

People are coming from all over to eat.

Free ice, food and other supplies.

Doctor Hopkins attending a person in the Free medical clinic.

People are coming from all over to eat.

Free ice, food and other supplies.

 

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. 

In Lake Charles Friend Ships hurricane response team goes out door to door to deliever supplies, food and water to those without.Yesterday we received permission to pick up supplies from the main City of Lake Charles distribution point for any food items we are in need of for feeding up to 1000 people a day.  We received the use of a 50 KW generator for 30 days so we can now provide additional quarters for volunteers.

This morning Sunday, we participated in a church service at St. Mary's Baptist Missionary Church, directly across from Port Mercy and a portion of our staff are having a few extra hours off. Each day we are giving out tarps to patch roofs, doing some patching ourselves for those who are unable to do it, sending out chain saw teams, serving hundreds of hot meals and distributing ice, water, food and hygiene supplies. The post office is making special deliveries of our packages just for Friend Ships, because we are helping the community and we are receiving many beautiful items to distribute. So if you have packages or mail to send, please don't hesitate!

In the next couple of days, we will have Radio Port Mercy 107.9 FM installed and broadcasting emergency information and uplifting music and messages throughout Lake Charles vicinity.

Our medical team will begin to offer free services. We also will receive delivery of a mobile hot dog cart that we intend to send to the New Orleans outreach for serving meals in downtown New Orleans. The Lord is keeping us equipped with all we need.  The more church teams we have join us, the more we can accomplish in His name!  Please consider sending a team from your church.


 

October 1:

Holy Smokes Catering helping to cook for those in need.Vinyl distribution setup.Holy Smokes BBQ & Catering has provided two cook kitchens and the owner is volunteering here as his time allows to help us cook for those in the area.  Also a lot of vinyl has been distributed out for those needing to repair roofs.


 

September 30:

Bottled water, food, and other supplies being loaded to deliver house to house.Relief operations are in full swing. We have three cooking units based at Port Mercy and are serving hundreds of good home cooked meals every day!  People pull up in their cars to receive what we have available. Items being distributed are hot meals, bottled water, ice, bread, juice, milk (no refrigeration needed), personal care items and heavy duty tarp to cover holes in roofs.  We have a team going house to house praying with people, finding out what they require and returning with a chain saw team, roofing crew or commodities as needed. 

Blessing for Obedience has once again arranged for a temporary radio permit and we'll soon be broadcasting Radio Port Mercy, 107.9 FM Lake Charles!  Our medical department is preparing to be able to offer medical care and advice as needed.  We are expecting several church teams to arrive so that we can increase our outgoing teams.


 

September 28:

Aftermath of Hurricane Rita in Lake Charles, LAMeals are being served to the local community of Lake Charles.  We had 10-12 cars at a time waiting for food, supplies and prayer.  We served fried chicken! A team is going out door to door to help those that can not get out to get the supplies or food.

 

We got a Lake Charles radio station today - Radio Port Mercy at 107.9 FM, it should be setup by Monday October 3rd.

 

Work has started to help clean up areas that have been damaged from Hurricane Rita. 

 

Individuals come and carry away what they can from the distribution and cooking site in Lake Charles.

Loading a van to go out and deliver to people who can't come to get supplies and water.

Praying with people after loading their vehicles of supplies at our Port Mercy facility.

 

September 26:

Port Mercy home base in Lake Charles, LA is fully functioning with limited phone, power and water.  Mail services is expected to resume by next week possibly earlier.  Our buildings received significant damage to side walls and roofs.  All three ships are ok, God is in complete control.


 

September 25:

Fallen trees and power lines are every where after Hurricane Rita.Lake Charles, LA was hit bad by Hurricane Rita and has done a lot of damage.  Currently our directors are assessing our home base facility and what damage we have as well as going out locally and assessing the damage.  We have a response team that has been working in New Orleans on its way to Lake Charles to start feeding in the local community meals for those with out power and water.

The Spirit of Grace has been safely secured to it's dock once again.


 

September 24:

As of 4:30 p.m. central time, we have had a little communication with the crew on the Spirit of Grace and the weather condition there is still very severe.  High winds and heavy rain continue.  Prayer is still extremely urgent for the Spirit of Grace and her crew.

At our PORT MERCY home base where our ship SPIRIT OF GRACE is moored has been hit hard by Hurricane Rita.

We are calling all Prayer Warriors to Pray for the ship Spirit of Grace as all the lines broke and the anchor is not holding them in place.  At this point the extreme weather is causing the Spirit of Grace to drift on the Calcasieu River.  It is critical that we pray for God to protect and hold the Spirit of Grace from loosing its ground.

This ship is completely loaded with supplies to bless Israel and we believe God will get those supplies safely to Israel on the Spirit of Grace.  We pray for Gods Hand to protect the crew manning the ship and His wisdom in all situations.  The crewmembers are holding on well.


 

September 23:

Almost every crewmember from our Port Mercy Headquarters in from Lake Charles, Louisiana has evacuated to New Orleans to stay on the two vessels Hope and Mersea.  There are a few crewmembers that volunteered to stay at Port Mercy look after our ships Spirit and Spirit of Grace.  We believe that the ship is quite safe and ready to withstand the storm.  Please continue to pray that Hurricane Rita looses forces that we will have minimal effects from her.

Already in New Orleans we have had some effects do to Hurricane Rita and one of the levees has been breached and is flooding again.  The ships Hope, Mersea and warehouse distribution center are safe from flooding.

If you have a family member serving with Friend Ships and you want to find out how they are please click here to email.


 

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 Spirit and Spirit of Grace to store for protection.  We have moved our webmasters computer to New Orleans to allow us to post information as soon as we can.  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.

 

YOU CAN HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Bottled waterConsider 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!

Personnal care items

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.

**What are we doing for Hurricane Katrina Response?  Click here to see posted updates.**

November 2005