Gulf Coast Recovery Project

As I write about these disaster ministries, it is ironic that Hurricanes Laura and Delta have just devastated the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and the eastern part of Texas.  We have experienced so much loss of lives and property from devastating hurricanes, fires, floods, and tornatetors over the past few years across the country.  I cannot even explain how I feel.  This has been one of the most active hurricane seasons.  

God has put on my heart to help with the recovery of the Gulf Coast from Hurricanes, Laura and Delta, two major hurricanes back to back.  The devastation is heartbreaking.  God reminded me, that what I learned about recovery during my five years of working on recovery from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans could be helpful to the families and churches in the affected areas.  The model we developed working in New Orleans could quickly be put to work in across the Gulf Coast.  But I need your help to do it.

Rebuilding Churches – King Cyrus – Ezra Chapter 1

In Ezra Chapter 1, King Cyrus of Persia said “1:2 . . . He (God) has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah.  3) Who is among you of all His people? May his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel (He is God), which is in Jerusalem.  4) And whoever is left in any place where he dwells, let the men of his place help him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, besides the freewill offerings for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.” 

 

Will you pray?  Will you physically come and help?  If you can’t come, will you do as King Cyrus asked to send finances to help?

Rebuilding Homes and Community – Nehemiah

King Cyrus was called to rebuild God’s house but Nehemiah was called to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem.  In Nehemiah 2:12, Nehemiah said, . . . “I told no man what God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem”… .  God put in Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem which remove the reproach of the city and strengthened the community.  As homes, businesses and churches are rebuilt in Lake Charles the reproach will be removed and community restored and strengthened.    With your help, we can rebuild build the churches, homes, and community.  Will you help?      

This is big.  It is much bigger than me.  Admittedly it is big enough to scare me, but I am not scared because I trust my God.  It is not bigger than my God.  This is His ministry, not mine.  I am just crazy enough to say “Yes, Lord”.  Will you join me?  Will you partner with me?  Will you say, “Yes, Lord” to whatever He puts on your heart to do to help with the recovery of these communities.  I invite you to join me.  I need your help.  I need your prayers.  Pray that God will give our team the wisdom of how to customize the use of the model to meet the specific needs of each community.  Pray that He gives us favor with those that need help and those who can help by physically showing up, by praying, by sending finances, or all three.  Pray about what God would have you do personally.  We need to help rebuild these churches and we need to help those who need help rebuilding their homes.  Many times homeowners and churches learn that they are underinsured at the time disaster.  They fall short of the finances needed to complete their repairs or rebuild and they need help to rebuild. 

To Learn More / To join forces / To become a part of  Contact:

 Pastor Camelia Joseph, 626-354-0436 / pastorcamelia@kingdomworksonline.org

KINGDOM WORKS, INC.
HOW DID WE BECOME INVOLVED

HURRICANE KATRINA

Kingdom Works Ministries was founded in response to the vast number of persons displaced and the massive destruction of homes, churches and infrastructure on the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina.  

September 2005, is such a long time ago, when I put my personal ministry aside to dedicate my life to leading The LASER Movement (TLM) as its CEO. TLM was a new disaster response ministry founded by my pastor along with pastors of congregations in San Bernardino and Los Angeles County.   

It was the first Sunday in September 2005.  I was sitting on the front row in service at my church (Loveland Church of Fontana, CA).  My pastor, Chuck Singleton, began to talk about the overwhelming destruction and loss of lives Hurricane Katrina had caused in the Gulf states, a few days before.  He said, “We have to do something about it.  Baton Rouge’s population has gone from 400,000 to 800,000 plus overnight and  Houston is extremely overcrowded.  We have to invite people to come out of the overcrowding to California.”  He looked over at me and said, “I need your help. I need you to come back and help me”.  I had served as Executive Pastor on the church staff for five years.  I had left 2 ½ years ago to start a full-time church consulting ministry.  My good friend, Pastor Willie Dixon, and I had met the night before, at his home, to work on a budget to house Katrina survivors in a building on the Air Force base.  Since Pastor Chuck had a plan, we decided to help him work his plan.  Within a few days, we began a journey I thought would last a few months but lasted five years.  

Disaster Response and Relief (Case Management and Resettlement) (September 2005 –  February 2006)
Over the next several weeks, we relocated 200 Katrina survivors to California.  Our volunteer force cared for them and assisted them with their resettlement.  We provided counseling, case management, transportation, financial assistance, and advocacy with FEMA, Red Cross and other agencies.  We located housing and furnishings for them.

New Orleans:  Working on Recovery with Churches and Community Organizations

January 2006, my pastor asked me to go to New Orleans to meet with pastors to see how we could help.  That led to 2 ½ years of monthly commutes to New Orleans.  February 2008, the nation’s economic downturn, impacted our funding causing us to cease our work in New Orleans.  June 2008, I relocated to New Orleans to work full-time alongside the pastors and community leaders as an independent missionary, for almost 2 years.  From September 2005 to April 2010, nearly 5 years, my life was dedicate to working on the response and recovery from Katrina. 

My first visit to New Orleans after Katrina hit was in October, 2005.  Our team met with the Mayor’s staff to share our plan to help with the recovery.  We toured the area to survey the damage.  The devastation was great. The military dressed in full fatigue (battledress) and long rifles guarded the entrance to the Lower 9th Ward at both bridges.  It was other world like a war zone.  Houses had become piles of stick.   Many times the only evidence that a house had been there was a concrete step. Building were torn apart.  Many of the high rise buildings downtown, including City Hall, were still standing strong but the insides were destroyed because windows had been blown out by the strong winds of the storm.  It was evident the journey to recovery would be long. 

After the resettlement of our survivors in California, I returned to New Orleans the first weekend in January 2006.  On Saturday, my Field Director and I met with Apostle Leonard Lucas of Light City Church and Pastor Raynard Casimier of Love Outreach Church in Algiers.  On 1st Sunday, we attended service with Apostle Leonard Lucas and Greater St. Stephen Missionary Baptist Church with Bishop Paul Martin.  The services were beautiful.  It was amazing to see people praising and worshipping God with such passion in the midst of all the devastation.  We met a number of pastors and local leaders at event at the Ashe Cultural Center including Pastor Dwight Webster, senior pastor of Christian Unity Baptist Church and the local leader of a new group called Churches Supporting Churches.  We joined with Churches Supporting Churches because its mission and vision was the same as ours to help rebuild churches and began the work.

As an independent missionary, I used my consulting, facilitation and grant writing skills to help with recovery planning for the churches and neighborhood groups.  

For months, I prayed that God would give me a name for the ministry.  Finally, November, 2008, He gave me the name “Kingdom Works.”  I immediately incorporated Kingdom Works, Inc. as a Louisiana nonprofit.  

To Learn More / To join forces / To become a part of  Contact:

 Pastor Camelia Joseph, 626-354-0436 / pastorcamelia@kingdomworksonline.org

OUR PROGRAMS AND SERVICES

TRAINING AND SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES

Disaster Preparedness, Response and Recovery Ministries
Because of my experience with Hurricane Katrina and the fires in the mountains of San Bernardino, God placed heavy on my heart the need to: 

  • Mobilize churches to become active in teaching Disaster Preparedness and raise up Emergency Response Teams from your congregation and community
  • Building an army of volunteers to help with gutting out and rebuilding homes and churches
  • Training clergy and leaders to minister to the spiritual, emotional and psychological needs during crisis.
  • Provide assistant to home owners and churches on inventorying personal property and advocacy with insurance companies to ensure they are not taken advantage of by their insurance company.
  • Develop donor to give financially, supplies and building materials for rebuilding 

During my work in this area, I was exposed to a variety of wonderful disaster preparedness, response and recovery programs (you will see below).  I feel responsible to share with others these training programs.  We will provide Train-the-Trainer training to leaders from your congregations to train them to teach preparedness to individual and families for the type of disaster most common to your geographic areas.  We will assist you in setting-up Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training conducted by your local Fire Departments at your church for members of your congregation and community. We will provide training to you (the pastors, clergy and Christian leaders) to prepare you to provide Spiritual Care and Comfort to your members, friends, and neighbors when disaster hits.  

POST-TRAMATIC STRESS RETREAT FOR NEW ORLEANS PASTORS AND SPOUSES

The STAR staff from Eastern Mennonite University conducted the training at a Christian retreat center in Alexandria, LA.

About STAR

STAR assisted thousands of New Yorkers after the traumatic events of 9/11 and worked with community members, social workers, school personnel, and religious leaders in the region affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. 

Internationally, STAR workshops have brought trauma healing and resilience strategies to Kenya, Liberia, Sudan, Uganda, Burundi, Nicaragua, Mexico, Colombia, Croatia, Palestine, and numerous other countries.

The curriculum is developed by internationally-renowned faculty and training staff of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University. Licensed counseling professionals (U.S.) can earn continuing education hours for their training.

What you will explore in STAR

By attending one of our five-day seminars, you’ll join more than 5,000 participants from 62 countries who have been equipped with strategies for handling post-traumatic stress and leading others beyond traumatic events, informed by the latest trauma healing research from the fields of neurobiology, psychology, restorative justice, conflict transformation, peacebuilding, and religion/spirituality.

·       Common responses to trauma: emotional, cognitive, physical, spiritual, behavioral

·       Transforming trauma: breaking the cycles of victimhood & violence

·       Trauma intervention for individuals, communities, and societies

·       Self-care for leaders and caregivers

·       Restorative justice as a response to trauma—reconciling victims and offenders

Violence leads to trauma; unhealed trauma leads to recurring violence against self and others. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Individuals and communities can learn skills for addressing trauma, healing relationships, and building resilience which improves the well-being of all.

Multidisciplinary Approach to Trauma Healing

STAR combines the latest in trauma research, personal self-care and innovative strategies for ending the cycles of victimhood and violence within our local, national and global communities. Participants have found that STAR equips them with tools to address a range of situations that are caused or influenced by traumatic events.

STAR is an evidence-based trauma awareness and resilience training program. STAR brings together theory and practices from neurobiology, conflict transformation, human security, spirituality, and restorative justice to address the needs of trauma-impacted individuals and communities.

STAR is for individuals and organizations whose work brings them in contact with populations dealing with current or historic trauma: mental health, medical and legal professionals, clergy, educators, peacebuilders, humanitarian, human rights and development workers — all those who need to be trauma-informed in order to do trauma-sensitive programming.

STAR training options: CEU and CE credits are available

  • STARLevel I: This five-day training is the foundation to STAR and introduces the theory, processes and tools for addressing trauma, breaking cycles of violence and building resilience. STAR Lvl 1 Registration
  • STARLevel II: This five-day training is for participants who wish to deepen their knowledge and skills of STAR frameworks and processes and equipped to present STAR presentations or workshops. The training also provides materials and information on applying STAR to particular audiences such as youth, those who have suffered historical harms, returning veterans, etc. STAR Lvl 2 Registration
  • STARLevel IIICertification Track: This training prepares participants to lead full-length Level I trainings in their home area or with STAR at EMU. It also qualifies them to apply for Certified STAR Site status under the auspices of an existing organization/NGO in their community.
  • To learn more about STAR click here.

PHYSICAL SUPPORT IMMEDIATELY AFTER CRISIS

REBUILDING HOMES AND BUSINESS STRUCTURES

Many policyholders need help creating inventories of their personal property to meet the requirements of their insurance company and not to leave a lot of money on the table that could be used to replace their personal property and in some cases help them with the shortfall they have for repairing or rebuilding their homes or businesses.  I.D. A House Catastrophe Services, Inc. can help.  It is a nonprofit disaster response and recovery service provider, founded by Leon Seabrooks.   I met Leon many years ago during my work on the recovery of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. I was amazed with the work he was doing.  For 27 years, on behalf major insurance companies he has worked as an “All Line Adjuster” following disasters around the country evaluating losses, recommending how much policyholders should be paid for their losses, and settling claims.  God has called him to use the knowledge he learned while working for insurance companies to help policyholder get all  they are entitled to under their policy.  He has helped many families and businesses get what they deserve from their insurance companies by teaching some of them how to do their own inventories and providing the tools to use a professional format.  Others, he has done the inventories for them.  He provides the policyholder 3 vetted contractors by verifying their contractor with the State Board of Contractors and verifying their general liability insurance and worker’s compensation.  He also provides policyholders with three references for each of the contractors have repaired or rebuilt homes or businesses for.  He takes the frustration out of dealing with your insurance company and the contractors.

Our main mission is to help homeowners and business owners, recovery after a disasters by giving them the information and tools needed to maximize their claims, choosing the right  mitigation companies, general contractors and help them with inventorying their personal and business personal property.

Now I would like to share with you what I. D. A House Catastrophe Services program does after disasters to assist policyholders.

We offer the following services.

  1. We explain what our program does for Home, business and church leader in order to recover what they are entitled to under the provision of their policy.
  2. We explain their policy limits once they provide a copy of their declaration page of their policy.
  3. We help policyholders identify competent general contractors. We check their credentials through the state board of contractors, we verify their workers compensation and general liability insurance. And we ask for three references from property owners who they have either repairs or built their homes or businesses.
  4. We assist policyholders with their putting together a professional personal property inventory list, that is require by the insurance company if they file a personal property claim.
  5. We guide policyholders through the claims process that they may know what is happening with each aspect of their recovery.
  6. We help prepare policyholders for any future disasters they may face.
  7. We enroll up to 4 people in policyholders’ household into our emergency preparedness program.
  8. We provide each member with emergency photo ID cards
  9. We provide each member with emergency ID tags (Military ID)
  10. We enroll each member into our 24 hours a day emergency notification hotline. Each member provides us with 3 people from their support group who they want us to notify if they are ever in an emergency and can’t speak for themselves. If they are every faced with an emergency and they can’t talk, the first responders will call us once the see the ID on them. We will verify the situation and contact their support group anyplace in the world.

Visit Website:  https://idahouse4u.com/