When Your Only Prayer is to Help

Beliefnet reader Sylvia writes in that she was feeling helpless watching Hurricane Katrina coverage on television. She writes, "I said a prayer, 'Lord, I am giving money, but I want to do something personally. Send me someone to help.' About 15 minutes later my phone rang. My neighbor said, 'We are helping 75 evacuees who are moving into a camp near Pell City, Alabama. Do you want to help?' 'YES,' I said. My husband and I moved into high gear. We gathered up linens, pillows, blankets, comforters, hair dryers, hot rollers, toiletries, make-up, soap, tools, clothing, 15 pairs of shoes, etc. I am giving Wal-Mart gift certificates to hand out as well. It was such a joy for us to be able to share what God had blessed us with to help someone who had nothing."

A Remarkable Journey

Syndicated columnist Lisa Earle McLeod, writing on Beliefnet, details the harrowing escape from New Orleans undertaken by single mother Mabel Brown and her family. Now safely sheltered at McLeod's home and the homes of several of her neighbors, Brown's family will resettle in Atlanta. McLeod describes Brown as a living inspiration:

"I wish I could say I swooped in like a white knight and saved Mabel, but I didn't. All I could do was use my Internet connection and my phone to run interference for the most resourceful woman in America as she saved herself--and 18 members of her family."

Saved By His Cat

Bill Harris can credit one living being for the fact that he is alive today: Miss Kitty, his gray-and-brown cat. The Slidell, Louisiana resident was in danger of drowning in his flooded condominium when, he says, Miss Kitty led him to the chair that he stood on for three days until he was rescued. When Harris was taken to a hospital for treatment of his chronic kidney condition, Miss Kitty was feared lost. But the MSNBC news blog reports that the cat is in the hands of animal control and is soon to be reunited with her owner. A devout Baptist, Harris feels that his life was perhaps spared so that he could start a ministry. The name of the ministry? "Wild Bill and Miss Kitty."

Televising Hope

Hurricane Katrina's evacuees need more than access to the latest news on television, according to executives at the Sky Angel television networks. "These families are also in need of the positive, uplifting family entertainment that Sky Angel delivers that they can enjoy together," said CEO Rob Johnson in a statement. Accordingly, the company, which airs Christian inspirational programming and family programming, is delivering free service to a hurricane shelter in Ft. Worth, Texas, in the hopes that storm-weary evacuees might enjoy something positive as they wait to see where life will lead them next.

The Hero Within

Beliefnet blogger Jesse Kornbluth posted this story of a group of heroes who have slogged through dangerous waters to rescue needy strangers:

"There were two guys with their airboat flying down Napoleon, then returning 30 minutes later with boatloads of people. I asked Tim what their deal was. He said they just showed up on Tuesday and had been living in their truck ever since. He said they rescued more than a thousand people the first day by themselves. When I asked them about it, between gulps of Miller Lite, they just said "No big deal" and kept on rescuing people. A news crew wanted to interview them. They said they had too much to do to talk. I think they just didn't have time for anyone that wasn't willing to get wet trying to help --- wet from that filthy, stinking, muddy water."

A Boy and His Dog--Reunited

Snowball, the fluffy white dog who was wrenched from his young owner's arms when the boy had to board an evacuation bus, has reportedly been found, MSNBC reports. The dog is one of over 3,000 animals that have been rescued into the Louisiana animal shelter system. The boy is taking the happy trip to Gonzales, Louisiana to reunite with his furry friend.

Recovering the Holy

The Sikh community of New Orleans, after a 22-hour rescue operation, successfully recovered its sacred scriptures from its house of worship, which had been badly damaged in Hurricane Katrina. The group had previously petitioned the federal government for help in reaching the scriptures, called Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and meanwhile had opened a shelter for 1,300 storm refugees. After not hearing back from the government, the community went through the process of getting permission to undertake the mission themselves. Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji was brought out intact, to the joyful welcome of area Sikhs who had lost so much else.