The churches whose hands have provided ongoing assistance throughout the past five months of relief and recovery along the Katrina-hit Gulf Coast are now extending their compassion with a renewal rally in Biloxi, Miss.
While many churches and other facilities remain waterlogged and filled with rubble, Cedar Lake Christian Assembly will be opening its doors to the storm-affected population for a night of encouragement on Jan. 29.
"Because of Katrina, so many of us are working in scaled-down or crippled buildings, but Cedar Lake has the facilities," said the Rev. Mike Barbera of Church of the Good Shepherd in Pass Christian, according to the Sun Herald. "Our churches have had a stream of relief workers coming down, getting people's homes dry, safe, restored.
"We also have the desire to do something broader to build people up emotionally and spiritually," he added.
The Katrina Redemption Rally will feature a Vietnam veteran, Dave Roever, whose message of overcoming pain will be conveyed to a crowd of hurricane victims struggling for recovery. Roever was hospitalized for 14 months after a phosphorous grenade exploded in his hand and face during his duty in Vietnam. Today, he is an inspirational speaker both nationally and internationally who draws upon his war experiences of pain as well as life's triumphs.
"All the suffering he went through and the lessons he learned is an important message for the Coast right now as we recover from the hurricane," said the Rev. Murphy Matheny of Cedar Lake Christian Assembly.
The rebuilding of South Mississippi has been captured in a television series that will premiere tonight and be rebroadcast Sunday. "Beyond Katrina," hosted by John Johnson, will show scenes of the area's first responders, steps toward recovery and an inside look into the city's new course.
Sponsors of the Katrina Redemption Rally include Church of the Good Shepherd in Pass Christian, Cedar Lake Christian Assembly in Biloxi, and Gulf Coast Worship Center in Long Beach.