New Life Church Aids Katrina Victims

New Life Church sent over 100 volunteers and 15 vans of food to the Gulf Coast region to aid Hurricane Katrina victims.

The Colorado Springs-based church has sent 134 New Lifers to devastated areas along the Gulf Coast with 15 vans of relief supplies to be distributed by local churches in the area. The local churches are prepared to provide shelter and support to the hurricane victims. About four more teams totaling 70 people are preparing to leave with an additional eight van full of supplies. New Life Church coordinates the team so that as one team arrives another team leaves the areas, replacing one another in the Gulf Coast.

“We sent down 200 (of each) wheel barrows, rubber boots, cloth work gloves, rakes, shovels, and 20,000 industrial sized trash bags on a large semi-truck,” wrote Daniel Grothe, Assistant Director of New Life Church World Prayer Center, in an email to the Christian Post. “The truck was donated by Andrew Womack Ministries here in Colorado Springs. These were all things that were requested by pastors in the area so they could clean things up.”

During the week Katrina hit, New Life Church had scheduled several mission trips to Paris, France. But instead of going to Paris on Sept. 16, the mission trip volunteers were redirected to the Gulf Coast, where they provided relief to people affected by the hurricane.

When asked what New Life’s first response to Katrina was Grothe stated, "We knew that we had to pray first. Prayer changes things, and we know that there are things that God can do when we are powerless. So we held prayer meetings at all times day and night in order to lift up the victims and their family members, the state and local governing authorities, and the federal relief organizations.

“But we knew that we had to do more than pray,” he added. “We had to get down there and make a tangible difference. And we had a rush of people at the church calling and emailing saying they wanted to get on a team and go. So we have sent, and are continuing to send teams down to help out in the efforts.

New Life Church is presently working with local affiliated churches, such as River of Life Church, River Valley Church and Bethany World Prayer Center in Louisiana. The Colorado church is sending resources such as medicines and financial support and the local churches are helping to distribute the supplies.

The church also has a “Home Sponsorship Program” where people from the church and community can volunteer to shelter evacuees in their homes. Around 600 families are participating in this program which is coordinated by the city government.

“Everything we have heard from the people who have been directly affected by this has been positive. Many hotels in the city [Colorado Springs] have opened their doors for free, and provided free meals for the evacuees,” stated Grothe. “Through the city governments efforts coupled with the help of many local churches in the city, there have been homes opened up to over 600 families directly removed from the Gulf Coast. New Lifers have opened up their homes and extended their love through their monetary gifts. We are sending Wal-Mart gift cards by the hundreds and thousands because that is a way we have found we can help practically without having to go through the ‘red-tape.’"

The first Sunday after the evacuees arrived in Colorado Springs, 31 people went to New Life Church, 10 adults, and 21 children.

“They [evacuees] had a great time, people have such a good time since they been here. They were elated to have a place to live and grateful that people gave them such a warm welcome,” reported Grothe. “Some of the disaster survivors even approached Pastor Ted after services.”

Established in 1984 by National Association of Evangelicals President Ted Haggard on Colorado Springs’ Pikes Peak, the 11,000-membered New Life Church is one of the nation’s largest churches. The New Life Church World Prayer Center, completed in 1998, is open to church members and the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.