Oil Diving

For I will take you out of the nations;
I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean;
I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
-Ezekiel 36:24-26

The past 50+ days have been a nightmare for the people of South Louisiana. The oil spill is affecting our shoreline, our wetlands, our wildlife, our food, and our people... And somehow it seems unfixable! It seems like there is no end in sight, and that's scary, especially as the oil moves toward the gulf stream, and we start looking at the Atlantic coast being contaminated as well. You can't turn the TV on without seeing horrible pictures of dead or dying oil soaked wildlife, hearing stories of the men on the oil rig who lost their lives, or of the fishermen who are losing their livelihood one day at a time. Katrina was horrible for South Louisiana, but everyday we hear more and more people making the claim that this is worse. When we walk out of our house on a windy day, the stench of the oil makes it seem even more real. We can't escape it... We can't fix it... It just seems to be absolutely destroying us!

This situation desperately needs your prayers, and every one of them is much appreciated! The spill seems soooo out of control, and yet I know that I serve a God who is in control of all things... We have tried and tried to volunteer with the clean-up of animals and beaches, but there doesn't seem to be anything they will let us do to help... and so we pray.... and we pray, and we pray, and we pray... we pray for this awesome God-made creation that is quickly being destroyed by human error... we pray for His protection over His wildlife, and His children who have to deal with the aftermath... and we pray that we will be changed for the better through this catastrophe and that God will be glorified.

In normal Anna Kathryn-fashion, I feel the Lord teaching me already through the oil spill... I'll try to share what I'm learning with you as short-winded-ly as possible!

When I look at the images of the pelicans on the news, I can't help but think about myself, and my own stench, the sin-soaked slow death that I was once stuck in. No matter how much I tried to clean myself, no matter how much I did to try to mix this sinfulness with the God I love, I couldn't... In the same way the oil in the gulf will not mix with the pure water out there, neither would my sin mix with my perfect and holy God. I couldn't escape it... I couldn't fix it... It was absolutely destroying me!

Can any of you can relate? It feels hopeless, doesn't it? Like the pelicans, the sea turtles, the manatees and dolphins.... we will die if we're not cleansed by something bigger and better than ourselves!

I've attached some pictures of the process the pelicans are going through, from contamination to being cleaned... I hope you'll look at the pictures and see the awesome example that the wildlife workers give us of our God's cleansing work in our lives! First we see these hopeless birds, just soaking in the filth that they can't escape from on their own. Then we see the workers seeking them out and bringing them to safety where we see them being cleaned and made healthy again. Finally we see the final product, a healthy pelican regaining his strength until he is ready to be safely released back into his pelican community.

How perfectly does this depict our journey toward faith!? While we were still sinners, Christ sought us out! (Romans 5:8, Luke 15:1-7) He shed His blood for us, cleansing us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9), so that we can be clean and prepared to go into our communities and the nation to teach about Him and His awesome love for each of us! (Mark 16:15)

Unfortunately, one of the organizations that is rescuing the pelicans is releasing them in Tampa after they've been cleaned... If and when the oil reaches the gulf stream, the very same pelicans that were rescued and cleaned, will be in danger again. Does God send us back into the world after He has rescued us and transformed us? Yes! ....does He send us out there unequipped to face the dangers and sinfulness we will face? No! He doesn't allow us to be tempted beyond what He has given us the capacity to stand up against! (1 Corinthians 10:13) So what does this mean for us? ...for our future? Does this mean when we go out into the world, we shrivel under temptation and dive right back into the oil...? Or do we show gratitude to Him for rescuing us and use the tools He's given us to remain clean?

I guess that's a decision you can make for yourself...

For me... Some days I feel like I do a lot more oil diving than actually using those tools and being grateful to Him for what He's done in my life. Seeing those pelicans everyday is serving as a great reminder to live a life of gratitude. I hope they do the same for you!

Again, your prayers for our people and our coast are greatly appreciated!

I love you all so very much!
--Anna Kathryn

"I thank my God every time I remember you!
In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy!"
-Philippians 1:3