Old News

Last year our old web site hosting company closed down. Another company generously picked us up with donated hosting. In the move, six years of blog posts fell off the back of the truck. Well, that’s not exactly how it happened, but I lost all the posts in the transfer. I could explain the behind the scenes, legacy servers at our old site, incompatible WordPress versions, PHP stuff, and Sql database techno-bable: but suffice it to say all the old news went off-line. The good news is, I finally got it all back. I pulled a few fist fulls of my hair out in the process, but I finally got the wheels turning again. You can now go back and read 558 old posts, dating all the way back to August 2005, right after the storm.

I just went back and read some of the old posts from the fall of 2005. Wow, this has been some kind of ride.

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21

New Web Site

Thanks to the generous folks over at BalboaTech, we have a new web site as they donate web hosting services to Rebuild Lakeshore. If you need a web site, I highly recommend checking them out. With their state of the art servers, I am able to do some things on the back-end that I couldn’t do before. I am taking this opportunity to do a complete site overhall. In the coming weeks I’ll bring all the old content over and tweek the design. In the meantime, I wanted to get everything up and running as we watch a tropical storm heading our way scheduled to hit on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Stay tuned.

Frequently Asked Questions

I just wanted to remind everyone planning a trip to Lakeshore this summer to please read the “Frequently Asked Questions” page (FAQ) of our web site. You can find links in the toolbar across the top and the sidebar to the right. There you will find information about meals, housing arrangements, restroom facilities, job assignments etc. We ask that all teams planning a trip read through the entire document. We have found it also very helpful if the team leader direct every member of the trip to our site as well. The better informed everyone is, the more productive we will all be.

One of the more important sections explains how we do the meals. Look under “Food” on the FAQ. We explain how every week one of the teams takes the lead in cooking. While we do not have many rules here, I do stress that we do not want any teams soliciting donations from other teams. We have several reasons for this, but at the risk of sounding alarmist, if team-to-team donations cut us out of the loop we will not have the finances to continue our relief efforts. While we do not charge anything for folks to come stay and work with us, we do assume that most teams have some sort of budget for their trip. Most teams have part of their budget set aside for a donation to the cause. If that donation goes straight to the group preparing the meals for the week, we will not have money for electricity, propane, upkeep, and overhead involved with keeping the Lakeshore operation going. Instead, we ask the cooks to utilize donated food items already present in the kitchen as much as possible and then to supplement that with purchases made from their groups budget. If the need exceeds the available finances, the church office will provide supplemental funds. We have found this method to work well so far.

I hope the time we took to put together this Frequently Asked Questions page will prove helpful for you as you plan your trip to Lakeshore. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us. We are excited about you coming to be with us and we praise God for your generosity, dedication, and service.

Follow Lakeshore on Twitter

I’ve been hearing a lot about the social networking and micro-blogging service called Twitter. At first, every description seemed uninspiring. Its basically a micro-blog for 140 character or less entries. In answer to the question “what are you doing?” people post what they are eating for breakfast, what ball game they are watching, or what’s playing on their ipod (or blue alien). Its sort of like the status thing on Facebook. Seems like one of those things where people say, “doesn’t he have anything better to do?” 🙂

I doubt anyone wants to know what I’m having for lunch, or when my wife takes our dogs to the vet, but we do have a lot of friends around the country wanting to keep up-to-date with the progress in Lakeshore. So I decided to try an experiment with another Web 2.0 technology and opened an @lakeshore account on Twitter. In contrast to the longer posts here on Rebuild Lakeshore I can post things like when a team arrives, what houses received attention today, short special needs, etc. Depending on the interest, I may even announce what the cooks are preparing for supper.

A nifty feature of the system allows you to receive the short updates via text message on your cell phone, if you would like, or via your instant message client. How cool is that?

Still confused? Just go to twitter.com and click the “Get Started – Join” button to sign up. Then link to our @lakeshore account and click “follow” to start receiving quick updates about the progress here. While you’re at it – share the love and tell a friend about us. Its just another way to partner with us to rebuild Lakeshore to the glory of God.

Email overload

Last week I mentioned our web site woes where you were unable to leave a comment to a blog post. Our friend, Stephen Ake, helped track down the problem. I’ve always used our church lakeshorebaptist.net email address for communications, but apparently when we launched the Rebuild Lakeshore web site, email addresses for this domain were also created. These emails have been piling up on the server and filling our allotted space. Long story short, the limitation caused problems for our blog database. I’ve now retrieved the 11,909 unread emails. Yikes. Most of them are spam, but I’ve already spotted a good number of legitimate emails in there. I feel so bad, because some of them come from folks wanting to make mission trips to Lakeshore, send donations, or other pertinent communications. I hope people didn’t think I was ignoring them – I never received the emails until now. Many of them date back to 2005. I will go through the massive inbox, cull out the spam, and respond to the messages. It may take me some time. I appreciate your patience.

Back up and running

Praise the Lord. If you came by our site in the past 24 hours you may have encountered an error message or a “experiencing technical difficulty” notice. I did something really stupid yesterday. Hyped up on DayQuil, battling a sinus infection, and between phone calls, I decided to upgrade our WordPress installation – which should only take less than 10 minutes. The newest version of our blog software requires Mysql 4.0.0 or higher. Since the latest version of Mysql is at 5.0.45, I assumed the server could handle the upgrade. I assumed wrong. After having other unrelated problems transferring the upgrade files over a less than stellar connection, the installation process slapped me in the face with an error. Fortunately, I had backed up my database – or so I thought. I realized that somehow the backed-up database only contained user information and not the posts. It looked like I had lost all my blog posts for the last year. I almost cried. To make a long story short, after a couple hours of hair pulling, I recovered the data and installed a legacy build of WordPress. Its all good. Now, if I could just kick this sinus infection and keep my head from exploding.

What will we do?

I updated our Frequently Asked Questions page with a little more detail on project related inquiries. I hope this will aid in planning your mission trip to Lakeshore.

What kinds of projects should we expect?

The skill level of your team will determine what particular projects you should expect to encounter on a mission trip to Lakeshore. For example, if you have electricians, plumbers, or finish carpenters, we almost certainly will use their skills on one of our many projects. At any given time we have several houses at almost every stage of progress, from pouring a slab or shingling the roof to hooking up appliances or moving in furniture, and pretty much everything in between.

Do you have work for teams without any special skills?

Yes. We always need people to do storm debris and construction clean up. We also need people to work in the distribution center, unload delivery trucks, move building materials, and a whole host of other tasks.

Can you tell me exactly what project we will work on while in Lakeshore?

We ask all teams to come to Lakeshore with flexible plans that bend toward fluidity. While we strive to best utilize special skills to their maximum effect, ever changing circumstances sometimes cause us to shift tasks in midstream. For example, unpredictable thunder storms may move a roofing crew to another house to hang sheet rock, paint, or lay flooring. A donation delivery may pull a clean-up crew off a pile of rubble to unload a truck. Come with a willing flexible attitude and God will use you for His glory.

We ask everyone coming to Lakeshore to read through the entire FAQ and to feel free to contact us if you have any other questions.

A long road ahead

rebuild lakeshore

Fifteen months ago hurricane Katrina demolished Lakeshore Mississippi. Shortly after the storm we realized the clean up and rebuilding would take years of hard work and dedication. In the last few months the overwhelming reality of that long term task truly set in as we face the second year of recovery. Thousands of volunteers have flooded our community with helping hands, strong shoulders, willing hearts, and encouraging words. We have come a long way and we could not have made it this far without God turning so many hearts toward the gulf coast. Several families have been able to move back into their homes with the help of volunteers working along side of them, but hundreds more face a long road ahead. A passion to see the overwhelming task through to completion drives us forward by the grace of God.

For a look back, please checkout the archive of my personal blog. Posts dated between August 31, 2006 until today give brief glimpses into our journey of recovery thus far. We have decided to move future news updates, and information all to this central location. Browse our rebuildlakeshore.com site to discover how you can help with ongoing needs and continuing projects. See our answers to frequently asked questions and consider planning a mission trip to Lakeshore to participate first hand in the efforts.