About 15 years ago, as my wife and I were newlyweds, we had the blessing of being involved in a couples small group through our church. As a part of this, we met a wonderful couple - Mike and Christina Hogg. They became our good friends, and I still remember the way in which they approached all of life with joy and good humor - and most importantly, with a focus on the Kingdom of God. Mike was finishing up his studies at Fuller Seminary, and Christina was spending much of her time looking after their 2 young children.
Since that time, Mike has spent time as an Assistant Pastor at another church in the New Orleans area, and more recently, was called as the Senior Pastor of Canal Street Presbyterian Church. We have kept in touch mainly through Christmas cards and seldom placed phone calls (mostly from Mike to us - pictured above with the very snazzy vestiments). Over time each of our families has grown; ours from two to four and the Hoggs from four to SEVEN (count 'em).
To this day, I will never forget dropping in on a preaching class at Fuller, the day Mike was to deliver a sermon. His text was this, and to be frank, I cannot remember much of the sermon but Mike's conclusion. When he finished, he looked at us all and said, "Indeed....................................what kind of man................is this" - with the pauses caused by Mike's inability to speak due to the tears he was trying to hold back. In short, my friend Mike loves Christ deeply; he felt this sermon in his soul.
I did some messing around tonight Google Earth, and found exactly the location of Mike & Christina's home and Canal Street Presbyterian Church. Mike lives very close to his church. Since I am a commercial real estate guy, I have reviewed this image and compared it with those found at Digitalglobe, and it is difficult to say, but it looks like there is a lot of water in the neighborhood.
But perhaps I should let Mike speak for himself. My favorite bits:
"YOU ALL ARE CONSTANTLY IN OUR PRAYERS...,not a minute goes by without our thinking of you all.
I THINK YOU ALL KNOW THIS, but let's agree together that the Lord is indeed going to get us through this...,together. We may not know the how's and when's, but by the end of this whole experience, the testimonies of God's goodness will outweigh the tradgedies by far..., not because of who we are, but because of who God is!!
I HATED TO MOVE SO FAR FROM THE SCENE OF THE CRIME, but it seems best for our fam. and us as C's family releives some of our stress. For the most part, it will not matter where we are geographically at least for the first few weeks? as I mostly coordinate/communicate by e-mail and phone...., I will be back in as soon as the city opens up and will be available to travel as needed..., if the diaspora of CSPC continues to reside grouped in various cities throughout the US, I will make the rounds to see you. I hope Wayne Smith can go with me, at least then it will feel like a rock tour.
Anyway, we are fine, kids are good, keep them in prayer as we lost rabbits, iguana, "cheesecake" (hamster) and had to put the dog asleep on the way out here.., we still have a cat, but he's got a worried look on his face! OFFERS are pouring in from the body of Christ around the country. Homes, offers of finances, clothes, equipment, groups wanting to come in when the rebuilding and clean-up begins...., YOU ALL NEED TO KNOW that people who don't even know you want to help!
The message to you is this, you don't have to do it on your own..., lean on the body of Christ, learn the gift of receiving.., it is the glory of God revealed through his body!
WE ARE A BLESSED PEOPLE..., the generosity of people is more awe inspiring than the greatest storm. Never doubt that this is a great country, and we have an awesome God. Lift our church, city, and national leaders in prayer, refuse to join in on pessimistic finger pointing, continue to pray for unity of our city and country, pray that the end result of this disater will be a glowing city on a swamp, known for it's faith in a God who reconciles and rebuilds even New Orleans!!"