In regard to the Spiritual Care and outreach in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and Rita, our chaplains have seen an amazing response. The basic physical needs of food, water, and dry goods, have been combined with spiritual counseling and even a few hugs in our chaplain’s field tents in numerous cities in Louisiana and Mississippi:
- Lake Charles
- Long Beach
- Morgan City
- New Orleans
- Pass Christian
The chaplain tents were an immediate anchor in these communities as people returned to their homes for the first time following the storms. Lay workers served hundreds of meals daily, listened with a compassionate ear, provided “coffee cup counseling” and had prayer with the masses as needed. Within the first thirty days, 520 ministry team members were in shelters across the three-state area.
Teams from around the nation joined the many Louisiana teams to provide spiritual care. In just the first few weeks following the storm teams had partnered with us from Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virgin, and Washington.
PRC Compassion has partnered with the United States Emergency Chaplains Corps and over 15 local Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) teams to attend to the unique and confidential needs of the First Responders in a professional manner. Caring for the emotional and spiritual needs of these law enforcement and support officials is a key priority, particularly in this tense situation.
Our chaplain leadership team has made great efforts to both find and encourage the pastors and church leaders that have been displaced by these horrific disasters. PRC has spent countless hours locating evacuated pastors and their families. Many displaced pastors are being “adopted” by churches from nearly every state in the Union. These pastors are receiving both financial as well as spiritual care.
One of many chaplains’ experiences:
Each face tells a story…..
In the wake of Katrina, one of our chaplains was making his rounds the day before Rita hit to encourage his men. Everyone was ordered to secure quarters, stay in, and ride out the storm. The chaplain asked if they wanted a blessing. As the first few men began to assemble, word went through the house that the chaplain was going to say a blessing for everyone. Almost 40 men assembled reverently, pressing in to hear the words from Psalm 91, referencing the verses of protection from the terror of night, the destruction at noonday, and the charge of angels to keep charge over them. As the chaplain finished and began to put his Bible away, two men approached him very quickly, took his hand and reopened the bible to reread the words. Our chaplain calmly marked the spot and told them to keep it. Even our finest and bravest realize the need for spiritual care and embrace it readily.