Hurricane Relief Fund Report

First Baptist Church, Clinton, LA

Oct. 3, 2005

 

                We are glad to report that your generous gifts for our Hurricane Relief Fund are being used with great benefit. We have received the amazing sum of over $185,000 to date and have already distributed almost $50,000 to the 10 churches we have targeted. For the past week we have been in touch with most of the 10 churches and have found out more about their specific needs. Our elder-elect, Mitch Axsom, has been our “point man” to travel to meet with pastors and to see the church needs first hand.

                1. As a result, we have narrowed down the most needy churches who do not have a broader support network from other reformed churches. These three are Crossroads Baptist Church, Escatawpa, MS; Lakeshore Baptist Church, Lakeshore, MS; and Bayou Baptist Church, Slidell, LA. All three have “grace pastors.” Crossroads Baptist has several families with significant storm damage to homes as well as church building damage. Bayou Baptist has significant church building damage and several members with home damage. Lakeshore Baptist is the worst we have found. Most members have lost their homes, their jobs, and their church building was completely destroyed. In this next week we will be distributing almost $30,000 more to these three churches for pastoral support and member benevolence needs. Also, we are trying to trace down a portable doublewide church sanctuary for Lakeshore Baptist. We are not sure of the cost for this as yet. We will keep in touch with the other 7 churches for needs which arise as well.

2. We are holding off a bit on gifts for church building repairs to see what insurance will cover. There is much controversy over this right now since the insurance companies will pay for hurricane wind damage but not for flood damage from the hurricane. They are arguing that flood damage requires separate insurance coverage, even from a hurricane. Please pray about this. After we get information on insurance coverage, we will distribute needed funds for church repairs.

3. Many of you have asked about sending “work teams” to help. Heritage Baptist Church in Mansfield, Texas, is sending 21 workers Oct. 6-8 to help Lakeshore Baptist Church. Two other churches are planning to send teams as well. This church will need work teams for some time to come. Our deacon coordinator for work teams, Glenn King, can be contacted through email at: glenn38@cox.net. He can direct you to needy spots. Bayou Baptist Church in Slidell is tearing out its interior from flood damage and will need teams to help in repair for the next several weeks. Crossroads Baptist needs work teams for general repair to homes and the sanctuary as well. Please contact Glenn King for direction and planning. Be sure to bring facemasks, rubber boots, gloves, etc., when you plan to come. Health risks due to contaminated mud and mold are factors to prepare for.

4. Mitch Axsom and three others made a trip to the SW Louisiana area of Abbeville right after Rita. The following is his report of that area:

 

"From the rising of the sun to its setting The name of the LORD is to be praised."  [Psa 113:3 NASB]

 

On Saturday, September 24, Hurricane Rita, struck Louisiana and Texas.  This is just 26 days after Hurricane Katrina damaged 90,000 square miles of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama landscapes. Rita flooded much of the Louisiana coast before entering into Texas, toppling many forests and homes in its wake.  We are thankful to say that the death toll was much less, but many were left homeless and without basic services. "It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."   [Lam 3:22-23 KJV]

 

 FBC Clinton had recently received a number of first response boxes.  These were filled with large zip-locked bags packed with essential toiletries which would needed just after a flood.  These items would have been perfect to distribute just after Katrina struck, but at this time we were finding more who were asking for work crews.  The day after Rita flooded the Louisiana coast, we knew where these items needed to go.  On Monday, 4 of the Clinton FBC left for Abbeville, Louisiana, about 80 miles from Clinton.  We traveled to the south part of town and found sights such as you see below:

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


We traveled in front of this farmhouse and passed out essential items, food, and a gospel letter to families along this road.  Eventually, we found a farm family who had helped in distribution of goods for H. Katrina.  This family, Allen & Laura McLain, said that they would pass out the remaining supplies and letters to families trapped beyond the point pictured.  We called the McLain home on Wed. Sept 28 to find out that 70% of the items had gone to people who lived in trailers and who had lost all of their possessions.  They were very glad to get the supplies and the letter.  Mrs. McLain said that the remaining 30% of the supplies were going to be picked up on Thursday.

 

We thank the Lord for the privilege of getting to help people made in the image of God with food, possessions, and with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

                As you can see from this report, there is still much to do. We are trying to be good stewards of your gifts for Hurricane Relief. Please continue to pray for the believers who are giving a good testimony of trusting the Lord in such a trial. They are witnessing and ministering to others as they recover. We pray that many will come into the Kingdom as a result of their witness. Thanks again and God bless.

 

                                                                                                Love in Christ,

                                                                                                Fred Malone