Gov't to 'Do What It Takes' as Faith Groups Continue 'Effective' Katrina Efforts

President George Bush said the government will "do what it takes" to help the Gulf Coast rebuild, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters Wednesday.

Bush will make his tenth trip on Thursday to the Katrina-ravaged area where he will view progress in New Orleans and the Biloxi-Gulfport area of Mississippi. Tomorrow's visit is one of many visits the president and government officials will continue to make to help rebuild the communities, according to McClellan.

The trip is also the president's first to the U.S. Gulf Coast region following recent reports criticizing the government's response to Katrina and continued acknowledgement of faith-based groups by government officials for their large disaster response and essential aid work in the Gulf Coast.

In a report last month, President Bush recognized faith-based organizations for their “essential” aid work.

Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) last Friday further said at a news conference that if not for the faith-based organizations working in the Gulf Coast, the survivors of Hurricane Katrina would be in worse shape than they are now.

Not only have they been essential in relief efforts, but faith-based groups have also been more effective than the government in helping people, said Souder.

The U.S congressman on Friday also announced Hope Crisis Response Network's "Hope City" project, which includes a fleet of mobile disaster units for volunteer workers. Three trailers are being sent to Biloxi, Miss., to house volunteers without burdening the community. The "mobile city" is being supported by churches from the northeast Indiana region and the University of Saint Francis. The fleet is scheduled to arrive at base camp on Thursday.

In the meantime, the churches themselves are a mission field as congregants and church begin the ground works for rebuilding. The United Methodist Church announced its mission-based plan for rebuilding damaged churches in New Orleans.

"The United Methodist Church will continue to make disciples for Christ, even in the most affected areas of the city," said Bishop William W. Hutchinson, according to the United Methodist News Service. "New Orleans is, in many ways, starting over from scratch. This approach will treat the devastated areas as a mission field, building on bold, creative approaches to deliver the Gospel."

Hutchinson named several key elements for a successful rebuild, including team players who have a passion for reaching people for Christ, "out of the box" thinking, and clergy families living “Mission Zones.” Each of seven Mission Zones where 38 New Orleans area churches have been identified will be headed by a team leader. The team will develop creative ways to bring church ministry to the areas served by the churches in the group, according to UMNS.

"We must demonstrate by our presence that United Methodists believe in the city and its future," he said.

Clergy appointments will be made in June and the mission plan will be executed immediately following UMC’s Louisiana Annual Conference.