Last year, a team from Living Hope went to Baton Rouge, LA, to help a church with their flood relief efforts. Thousands in the area had lost their homes to flood waters and needed immediate assistance gutting and dry walling their homes. Our team was glad to help but knew that the rebuilding efforts would continue for months and years, as the vast majority of people did not have flood insurance and would have to do the work on their own or depend on volunteers.
So two weeks ago a team traveled to Denham Springs, LA, the hardest hit community in the state, to help Pastor Casey Belgard of The Oaks Church (a part of the Acts 29 Network) with his home. Here are some reflections on the trip from team members Barry Carter and Andrew Bowie.
Andrew: The need was far greater than I expected. Over half of the businesses in Denham Springs are still closed. I was shocked at the amount of debris that still lines the streets as you drive through neighborhoods. Wal-Mart hasn’t even opened back up, yet!
Barry: Every family in the community was affected. It was common for multiple families to be living together in a single home, because even if you had family in the area, their house was probably flooded, too. Everyone we met in restaurants or out in the neighborhood had a moving story.
Andrew: We were happy to shorten our family’s move-in date by a couple of weeks. They have been working non-stop, day and night to get back into their home. Casey (the homeowner) was sick and not able to work during the days we were there. It was clearly God’s providence that we were able to be there and work while he was unable.
Barry: Some of the repair jobs we were asked to do, I had not done before. But the Lord gave our team the ability and skill to tackle what was needed. I felt blessed that I was able to help this Pastor get back in his home and, as a result, serve his congregation better.
Andrew: Getting to know fellow Living Hopers and serving alongside my wife Cathleen was great. Barry also took the time to teach me some of his Jedi craftsman skills! God convicted me of my selfish desire to stay home and be comfortable. Once we got there, I had a clear sense of why God worked it out so that we could go.
Watch for details as a Living Hope team comes together to tackle more home repair projects locally and in response to natural disasters nationally.