September 10, 2017
Dear Friends in Christ,
As you know, we are currently serving the Lord in Naples, FL. Mark is planting a church called the “Golden Gate Pelican”- reaching out to non-English speakers. The church is serving a community of 70 people after just 9 months- most of whom are Spanish speakers. Once we received word that Irma was heading our way, we packed up our family pictures and some other small items and loaded up the van. Annalise, Erik and I left in the middle of the night and arrived near Ocala early Thursday morning. We are staying here with friends. Mark stayed in Naples. He is currently bunkered down with a couple from our mother congregation a few miles from the coast. He has been helping people from the church who didn’t know where to begin with these preparations. Attached is a picture of a couple whom he helped with boarding up the windows. There was no plywood available so they broke apart the wood deck to use to cover the windows. He has also been putting post-Hurricane supplies in a safer area so that after the storm he can help those who were unable to leave. He also went back to our home to further prepare it and to encourage neighbors to leave since our home/neighborhood will likely be affected by the storm surge.
People have a variety of reasons why they did not leave. Please refrain from judging. I have been in contact with my first grade class- half of whom are still in Naples. Annalise and Erik have been staying in contact with their friends- many of whom are there. I am staying in touch with my team of first grade teachers- half of whom are there. The reasons vary- and they are all valid. They all know the strength of what is coming their way. They all know the risk they are taking but they had to make a decision. Keep the focus on praying for their safety and protection. Many of those who evacuated are still in the path of the storm. Please pray for them as well. We are preparing for the storm here as well- knowing that we are going to be affected by it as it moves north. A few days ago the path was directly over where we are, but now it looks like it is heading a little more west.
Our Lord is a mighty God. He has all of us in His loving arms. Yesterday Annalise, Erik, and I attended a prayer service. I am so thankful that I went. I left with the peace, hope and comfort that can only come from our Lord. Attached is the bulletin of that service.
Thank you for your prayers, care and love. God’s blessings to you all. I will send an update in the next day or two.
Your Brother in Christ,
Associate Pastor of Mission & Outreach
Grace Lutheran Church, Naples, FL
The Pelican Lutheran Church, Naples, FL
** Se habla español. **
“Yo te pongo ahora como luz para las naciones, a fin de que
lleves mi salvación hasta los confines de la tierra.” Isaías 49:6
(“I will also make you a light to the gentiles that you may take my salvation
to the ends of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6 )