Today we hosted a “Grow Your Own Food” event at the Mercy House. Christian Stephenson, Mississippi State University Hancock County Extension Service agent, gave the main talk. He covered inexpensive ways to create good soil, save money by planting seeds, selecting financially beneficial crops, and other topics related to starting a garden. He answered a host of questions from overcoming tomato blossom end rot, to plant spacing, his favorite tomato varieties, and other things. We also heard from Jennifer O’Banner on the nutritional benefits of eating fresh vegetables from your own garden. Everyone in attendance received a free cook book. I gave a short introductory talk on some of the reasons why I want to promote more gardening in our comunity. I think it was a good event and we hope to do more of these kinds of things in the future.
At the height of our Katrina relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts we had 6 Quonset huts on the church property. Last week, the final structure came down. We praise God for our long term partners from Cross & Resurrection Church, Ypsilanti, Michigan who worked hard in spite of equipment break-downs, busted water pipes, and other things. It was a great week and we saw wonderful progress.
The complete clean-up continues. We need to finish dismantling the quonset hut platform, move some sheds, take up temporary walkways, dispose of left over random building materials, and several other things. The job is not over. We could sure use a few groups this summer who would be willing to come and get dirty and help bring our long term vision for the bunk house property into sharper focus for the glory of God. Contact us today to plan your mission trip for this summer.
Seven new fruit trees grace the Mercy House property. Today I put in the ground an Owari Satsuma, an Improved Meyer Lemon, a Blood Orange, a Celeste Fig, two Brown Turkey figs my Dad propagated from his tree, and an unknown fig variety I propagated from a cutting off a fig tree in a nearby vacant property. Lord willing, we will eventually harvest fresh fruit, right here off our own property, to share with the community.
The Mercy House, of Lakeshore Baptist Church, in Hancock County MS operates as a benevolence distribution ministry providing food, clothing, and household items to those in need. I pray that this project will also serve as a catalyst and encouragement for future planting endeavors for the glory of God.
And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. (Genesis1:29)
A few of us from Lakeshore traveled to Baton Rouge again this past weekend to assist with the ongoing rebuilding efforts there. This time we came along side one of my daughter’s good friends. Jessica’s house took on water, in fact her house is the picture I used to announce our intention to begin helping. After drying out the house and gutting it, Jessi is doing most of the work, including re-wiring it herself. She passed her electrical inspection this past Wednesday. She is an impressive young woman. We spent Friday and Saturday hanging insulation. Rebuild Lakeshore, from the generous donations of our partners, was able to purchase the insulation materials. We can not thank you all enough! We plan to follow this project through to completion. Pray for Jessi as she tackles this big project. We look forward to the day she can move out of the camper and back into her home.
Christmas decorations, toys, and winter clothes fill the Mercy House this week as we celebrate the holiday season in Lakeshore. Every Wednesday, from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm we open to the public, to assist families in need, with clothes, food, household items, and whatever else gets donated to the ministry. This past week we included “Christmas stuff” and folks were lined up out to the street to get in.
One lady went out of her way to thank me. She said her son was so happy. Not because the gifts were for him, they wern’t. The toys were for a friend who’s family was going through a hard time. The mom said that he was so afraid his friend would not have anything under his tree. Now he will. “You just made his Christmas,” she said.
Paula and Georgia, from Maryland, have been hard at work sorting through the warehouse where toys have been collected for this time of year. They have made nearly a dozen trips down the the coast in the last decade and have become part of our family. We can’t thank them enough for their generosity, hard work, encouragement, and desire to serve to the glory of God.
Last weekend, Pastor Randy Davis and his wife came down from Hazlehurst, MS to work with Mrs. Bea. The Davis Family has been long term partners with Rebuild Lakeshore. We praise the Lord for them.
I can’t even begin to list all the locals who help sort clothes, stock shelves, and perform other tasks that make this mercy ministry a wonderful success, week after week. I do need to give a big special thanks to Mrs Ruth and Kim who faithfully assist Mrs. Bea every Wednesday. Without them, we could not do this.
The Lord allows us to show these tangible acts of mercy all year round. The task gets overwhelming at times, but folks like Paula, Georgia, the Davis Family, and countless others who come down, stay in our bunk house, and work along side of Lakeshore Baptist Church, makes it such a joy. Rebuild Lakeshore is a great mission trip for individuals, families, youth groups, Sunday School classes and churches. If you would like to come, we can always use your help. You can make a real difference in peoples lives. Merry Christmas!
I love receiving emails from folks who came to Lakeshore years ago and still remember their experience. “Timmy P.” sent me this in the middle of the night. I praise the Lord when I hear someone speak of their time in Lakeshore, over a decade ago now, as the most humble, proud, and fulfilling moments” of their life. May God receive the glory.
Good day Pastor Don,
I have zero idea what compelled me to write this or even start researching lakeshore as I was trying to sleep (failing miserably at that obviously)… I came with Mike Deese and the group from Crosspointe Community Church in Roswell Georgia, just minutes outside of Atlanta. I remember so many details vividly. That Thanksgiving was our first of two trips (Christmas was trip 2) . It was such an amazing time for us as volunteers, to be able to give in any way we could. The bonding that took place I know I’ll never forget and can never be taken away from me. As we got closer we knew what lied ahead of us, but nothing could prepare us for how bad it really was. The drive down the freeway and seeing cars 20 feet in the air up in the trees. Boats and houses as well. It was so unbelievable, it was almost like we were in a dream.
But crossing that hump (maybe railroad tracks?) and once the truck crested and came over that little hill there was a little excitement. The kids knew we we were close to the ocean so they wanted to see the water, but ALL we saw was foundation slabs where houses once laid. All the way down to the shoreline slab slab and more slabs. I don’t remember how many houses or portions of were left. Just trailers here and there and then your makeshift church, with sleeping quarters near.
I remember meeting you and you were excited and energetic about helping and even sort of happy. You were so focused on rebuilding the church and giving the local people, your friends and family, a place to return to for fellowship, worship, and providing hope.
I remember the sadness over a lot of folks. Myself included… Seeing the markings on houses that we knew meant deceased. When we were at the school giving out food and clothing, and people asking for two of something instead of one because they were helpless, hopeless, and scared. The time I spent there was personally the most humble, proud, and fulfilling moments of my life. 37 years old and it still holds true today.
I’ve cc:ed Mike Deese on this as well, but I just came across my old camcorder (remember those? When was the last time you saw one of those? Our phones are now our cameras.) with pics and videos of him, his family, and the one he will remember the most, because I betcha he still has a pretty scar on his knee. A utility truck hit a lower power cable and a transformer fell to the ground with an awful light show. Mike took a spill and gave himself a nice gash. Everyone headed back to Atlanta. We headed to the hospital. (I just chuckled a little) . Mike wasn’t gonna miss out though. He had his wife pick up some soft shelled crab and smuggle them in, and I got chick FIL A. And I’m rambling. . . Ill forward the Pics tomorrow.
But I’ve read about the complications with your eye site. And the Gulf oil spill. And there you are still not giving up and making the best out of things and you are still preaching. It’s amazing, sir. I look up to you for that. I feel like you have a lot more facial hair than you did back then though.
Christmas was a second trip and we brought 8, I believe, prefabbed staircases for people who couldn’t easily get in and out of their FEMA trailers. I remember how grateful everyone was both trips. Truly amazing.
Again, I don’t know why I started typing, but I’m glad I did. Keep on doing what you do sir. It’s motivation for someone who never lost all that you have, and again and again. And still move forward, positive, with your head high. . .
Thanks for listening to me. Take care gentlemen. Keep on doing what you do.
What are your memories?
Looking for a Fall mission trip? Here on the gulf coast we stay in shorts and flip-flops a good while after many folks in the country have bundled up for the changing season. August, September, and even into October, the weather remains so hot we wonder if it will ever cool off again. God promises “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22.
As much as we welcome the cool weather that serves as a reprieve from the summer heat, the bitter cold that eventually comes, brings hardships for many in our community who live with limited resources. Purchasing all new winter outfits proves cost prohibitive for a lot of people, especially the elderly and those with small children.
Lakeshore Baptist Church, through our Mercy House ministry, seeks to supply those in need with winter clothes. The Lord has blessed us through generous donations of clothes throughout the year. We have stuffed them away in the warehouse in boxes and bags. Its now time to pull all those winter clothes out of storage, sort through them, and make them ready for those who could use the warmer apparel. Long sleeve flannel shirts, sweat shirts, sweaters, jackets, overcoats… to be honest, I’m not sure what is in all these boxes labeled “WINTER,” but its a lot.
This week, Mrs. Bea who oversees the distribution ministry, asked if I would send out a plea for some extra hands. We could really use some help, especially between now and Thanksgiving as we bring out the winter stock. We also have a section of the warehouse full of used toys. We would like to bring those out as well, for those who might like to go through them for Christmas. This would be a wonderful project for a Sunday School class, small group, teens, or even a family to make a trip down to Lakeshore. Several days, the weekend, or even just a day trip down to the coast would be greatly appreciated… and feel free to bring your shorts, its 73° and sunny today.
As mud-out efforts continue in in the wake of the Louisiana flood, many home owners are ready to begin rebuilding. The flooded contents of their lives have been hauled out to the curb, nasty sheet rock and insulation torn out, and the wood studs have been sprayed for mold and dried. Now its time to start putting things back together. Can you come and help?
This past weekend Lakeshore Baptist Church made another trip over to Louisiana. this time we hung insulation in a home. We partnered with New Life Church of Baton Rouge and stayed in their facilities. New Life Church, formally known as Laurel Lee Baptist Church, is the church I grew up in and is still my parents church. The pastor and members there have a heart to help those in the community effected by the flood. The church building has a well-equipped fellowship hall kitchen. Classroom space can sleep volunteers on air mattresses or cots, and the building has showers. They have offered to host any of our Rebuild Lakeshore teams heading that way to help. Can you come?
Insulation in one house is just the beginning. We have several other projects lined up. We need folks who can install batted insulation and hang sheet rock to come asap. We will then continue with the projects as we see the families return home. You can email me at email@example.com, call my cell phone at (228) 671-6315, or pm me on Facebook.
Clean-up of the camp property has been moving slowly, but surely, since we dedicated our new church building, a little over a year ago. We made a big step this past week-end with the help of our good friend Kim Reed of Georgia. His Bobcat skills took down the old platform where Matthew used to sit, removed several piles of pallets and old debris, and spread several loads of dirt into low spots so the property will drain better. The area in front of the bunk house, that used to accommodate the Matthew, Mark, and Luke Quonset huts now looks ready to become nice green space. We can not thank him enough, as well as all the others who have come over the past year to see our property transformed from a make-shift relief center to a well kept campus. We are far from the goal, but progress looks good.
If you would like to come and help push things forward, the bunk house stands ready to host groups as large as 38 people. We still have plenty to do, left over materials to go through, the John Quonset hut to take down, the mobile units to rehab, sheds to move, bonfires to burn, landscaping to plant, and so much more. Lakeshore is still a great mission trip destination.
I have two of the best brothers in the world. We spent time this week in the flood relief efforts, teaming up to provide help and hope in the name of Christ. As a pastor, a doctor, and a business man we pretty much cover the field. “A threefold cord is not quickly broken” Ecclesiastes 4:12.
I’m the oldest of three brothers. I’m the pastor of Lakeshore Baptist Church on the Mississippi gulf coast where I have served since 1994. I also direct Rebuild Lakeshore, a mercy ministry involved in disaster relief, recovery, and rebuilding, launched in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Dr. Keith Elbourne is an OB/GYN and has Bayou Regional Women’s Clinic. Keith also serves as a deacon at First Baptist Church of Zachary, Louisiana, where the Mississippi Baptist Convention Disaster Relief has set up a command center for the volunteer efforts there.
David Elbourne has a successful industrial railroad construction and maintenance company, Rhorer Mutual Industries based in Prairieville Louisiana. He and our dad took a boat in, while the water was still rising, to salvage most of his files and to rescue the companies pet goat. (I’m not kidding.) The RMI offices and industrial complex took on about 6′ of water. David and I spent most of the week touching base with individuals, pastors, and organizations across the flooded region, providing supplies, lending assistance, and establishing partnerships for ongoing recovery efforts.
I can not praise my two brothers enough. They, along with our dad, are the three most inspiring, encouraging, and influential men in my life. I praise God for them.