By Carl Stagner
Louisiana’s unprecedented flooding disaster may be fading from the headlines, but the cleanup is only beginning. Two of our Church of God buildings sustained severe damage, one of which lost everything they had. All of our Baton Rouge-area congregations had members whose homes—sixty houses in total—were completely destroyed. Because the flooding hit areas not considered flood zones, these families did not have flood insurance. Refrigerators and ovens are no longer operable, so most are left without a way to prepare meals. Black mold is a serious threat, and FEMA can only offer minimal support. The Church of God must do something.
When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, the Church of God rallied together and gave generously to fund disaster relief. Together, we must do the same for Louisiana in the wake of a disaster said to be more widespread and far more costly. “Katrina got the low-lying areas, areas which were generally covered by flood insurance,” Steve Nelson, state coordinator for Louisiana Congregational Ministries of the Church of God, explains. “Cost-wise, this is much worse. And it was so widespread—twenty-two parishes were flooded. Up to thirty inches of rain fell in just twelve or thirteen hours.”
In the weeks since the flooding crested, some Church of God teams have already come to assist in the clean-up effort. The damaged homes of our Church of God families have been gutted and treated for black mold. Before new sheet rock and carpet can be installed, work has to be put on hold while everything dries out. Meanwhile, the scene up and down the streets of Baton Rouge and its suburbs is other-worldly; mountains of broken furniture, sheet rock, flooring, and appliances line the streets. Work also continues at Chapelwood Church of God in Denham Springs and Christ the King Christian Center in Baton Rouge.
Supplies like towels, sheets, pillows, and hygiene items are being collected and will be stored at Pleasant Ridge Church of God in Covington. Some are sending gift cards to restaurants to help families that are running low on food. But right now, the greatest need is still for monetary donations. The Church of God in Louisiana has distributed all of the money they’ve received so far, and much more is urgently needed.
The time is now to contact Steve Nelson to arrange for your church to send a work team to help in the relief efforts. In just two weeks, work teams will begin restoring homes, including replacing sheet rock, flooring, and painting. Contact Steve at 318-395-1389 or firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements today!
Please consider a generous donation to the Disaster Relief Fund today. Donate online at www.jesusisthesubject.org/disaster-relief/. Donations can also be mailed to Church of God Ministries, PO Box 2420, Anderson, IN 46018; please note that your gift is for Disaster Relief, Project # 45.04502. Thank you!