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How even Hurricane Harvey Couldn’t Silence God’s Message to Me.

It was just a few short weeks ago that Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas Coast as a category 4 hurricane. It was the strongest such storm to hit this part of Texas in at least 56 years. Many watersheds in our area experienced 500 and 1000 year flood events as Harvey came and just would not leave. My own family and ministry lost almost everything we had.

After the storm we were making one last check through what little was left before leaving our little apartment for the last time. God led my wife to reach her hand into a pile of trash for just one more check. While she was doing this she pulled out a blue velvet box in a white cardboard wrapper. The first part of this miracle was that I had not seen this box since our wedding day almost 13 years before ! The second part of the miracle was that even through the horrific storm, the recovery efforts, etc. it had remained in perfect condition !

 

On the side of the cardboard wrapper was written my name, and the letters ChCKOR-DSR. Inside the box was a gold cross shaped medal suspended from a ribbon. More formally it is known as The Cross of Honor of the Most Honorable Order of the Christian Knights of the Rose. The letters ChCKOR stand for Chaplain Knight Commander of the Rose, my rank within the order. The letters DSR carry great significance in the military community. I was awarded the DSR designation by the Knights of the Rose because I served as a military policeman while a member of the Texas State Guard.

 

I placed the medal where it would be kept safe not immediately realizing myself the significance of what had taken place. Given the circumstances it was very unlikely that my wife would find something so personally and historically valuable randomly searching a pile of what had been deemed trash. It is further unlikely that this decoration would have been found untouched after being hidden away all these years. I am convinced that God’s hand were in these events.

 

The time since has left me only further convinced that I was being mobilized by the Commander in Chief of Creation. I am convinced that it is no accident that the item returned to me in the opening sentences of the toughest chapter my family has ever faced was a cross ! It is not lost on me either that it was not just “any” cross, but a knight’s cross, my knight’s cross ! It is as if God was summoning me to the battle that was just beginning. It was and is as if God himself wanted to reassure me of His confidence in my ability to wage the battle. I was handed a symbol of authority. First of all of His authority.  However also the authority of one who was not only a spiritual leader, but a commander of soldiers, His soldiers ! Since that day God’s people have been comforting to us, and generous  toward us.

 

Our family and community are still battling against Hurricane Harvey. I’m not even sure the end is in sight. However my wife and I have already talked about it. This cross will have a prominent place in our new home when we get there. It will always remind us of His message to me and his presence with us during some of the most trying times we will ever see. There is still much that is uncertain about our future. Of only one thing am I certain. I have been given my marching orders by an authority that neither Harvey nor any other storm can quiet.

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Knights of Columbus Helping in Harvey’s Aftermath, in Preparation for Irma

NEW HAVEN, Conn., Sept. 7, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ — The Knights of Columbus has raised more than $1.3 million for victims of the disastrous flooding in Texas and in preparation to help those who may be in the path of Hurricane Irma.

The organization has taken a leadership role in assisting those affected by the historic flooding in and around Houston, Corpus Christi and an enormous swath of inland and Gulf Coast towns and cities in Texas, distributing more than $150,000 for food, water and other necessities.

The Knights began reaching out to its members throughout the U.S. in Harvey’s immediate aftermath and is now expanding its appeal to the general public, as Irma bears down on Florida and the Caribbean.

“We have seen incredible generosity from our members, and we invite others to join us in providing aid that is urgently needed,” said Knights’ CEO Carl Anderson. “The funds we raise will make a real difference in the lives of those already affected and those who are bracing for the worst.”

Consistent with the K of C’s longstanding policy, 100 percent of all disaster relief donations are being used for current relief efforts and the needs that may arise from Irma.

Knights in Texas are already providing food and shelter to victims, helping people return to their homes, clearing debris and solving local problems such as providing upwards of 5,000 meals in in the Beaumont area and 8,000 in Ingleside. Weekend Masses were held at a Knights’ hall in Dickinson due to flood damage at the local parish.

Meanwhile, Knights in the areas that may be affected by Irma, are preparing disaster plans. The hurricane was strengthened to a dangerous Category 5 storm on Tuesday.

Donations by check or money order can be sent to: Knights of Columbus Charities, P.O. Box 1966, New Haven, CT 06509-1966 with “United Disaster Relief” in the memo portion of the check. They can also be made online at kofc.org/flood or by calling 1-800-694-5713.

Knights of Columbus Charities Inc. is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a charitable organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

The K of C was founded in 1882 by Venerable Father Michael McGivney, a parish priest, in New Haven, Connecticut. The organization was formed to provide charitable outreach and care for the financial well-being of Catholic families. It has grown to include more than 1.9 million members worldwide.

The Knights set a new all-time record for charitable donations in 2016, with more than $177.5 million in donations and more than 75 million hours of service valued at $1.8 billion.

Church of God in Christ Hurricane Harvey Relief Effort

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Sept. 5, 2017 /Christian Newswire/ — The Church of God in Christ (COGIC) Charities has launched a massive national response to the crisis in the Texas Gulf Coast area by collecting and deploying needed resources.

Photo: West Angeles COGIC opens center in Los Angeles — Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Mrs. Mae Lawrence Blake, Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

COGIC Charities, the benevolent arm of the Church of God in Christ, has set up regional collection centers, in COGIC churches and other facilities around the country, that will collect much needed items over the next two weeks for the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

These regional collection centers are asking their communities for basic needs items, to include hygiene products and kits, toiletries, nonperishable food items, bottled water, new undergarments (for men and women), new men’s and women’s clothing, new children’s clothing, baby diapers (all sizes), baby formula, cleaning products, plastic garbage bins, shovels, tools, and plastic trash bags.

Volunteers at each COGIC regional collection centers are planning to load approximately 40 semi tractor-trailer trucks with the donated items. Our collection weekend is Friday September 15 thru Sunday, September 17,

On Monday, September 18, 2017, following the collection weekend, semi-tractor trailers will depart from each of the regional collection centers nationwide, in route to the COGIC Super Resource Center in Houston, Texas a 25,000 square foot warehouse. The COGIC Ground Zero Task Force, led by the National Missions and Evangelism Departments and volunteers will unload the large trucks at the Resource Center. From the Super Resource Center the Task Force will load and dispatch smaller trucks for rapid ground response, distributing resources to Houston and the impacted Gulf Coast Areas.

COGIC’s Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. says, “Hurricane Harvey has devastated the Texas Gulf Coast area. Many of our pastors, members and thousands of Houstonians were forced to leave their homes submerged in water, along with several of our churches. The Church of God in Christ will help as many people as possible for as long as possible. Our prayers, our hearts and our resources go out to all of those affected by this overwhelming natural disaster.”

To view the COGIC Charities regional collection centers go to http://www.cogic.org.

The Church of God in Christ, headquartered in Memphis, TN, is one of the oldest and largest Pentecostal denominations in the world and the 4th largest Protestant group in the United States, with churches in 87 countries worldwide and a membership of nearly 6.5 million adherents.