Puerto Rico Mission Trip

I am heading back to Puerto Rico and appreciate your prayers for the trip. Shortly after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island my good friend Mateo Melendez and I made a visit to check on several pastors he knows there. The mission was one of encouragement and fact finding to see how we could best serve their long term needs. I know from the experience of Hurricane Katrina that recovery can be a long hard road. What I discovered was a hand full of church planters dedicated to reaching their communities for Christ even under several layers of difficult circumstances-. Its been a joy to point our Rebuild Lakeshore network to partner with NAMB Send Relief and its been such a blessing to see new church plants moving forward for the glory of God.

On this next trip, my two brothers, Keith and David will join me as I revisit several of the pastors to encourage and see how we can best continue to partner with them in the mission God has given them.

One of the particular men I have grown to love is Pastor Jose Ponce, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Resurrección in Isabela, Puerto Rico. This faithful man of God continues to overcome numerous obstacles for the glory of Christ. Please pray for him, his church, and his family. Pray for his lovely wife as she undergoes weekly cancer treatments. We plan to sit down with Jose and see how we can best leverage our network of friends and partners for the work there on the north west side of the island. We plan to do the same with a few other faithful pastors during our stay. I know what kind of encouragement it was to know that numerous believers where praying for us. Please join me in doing the same for them.

Speaking of Jose Ponce and Iglesia Bautista Resurrección, one of our long term friends, Deb Stuber, was recently in Puerto Rico. She and her family had the opportunity to worship with them on the Lord’s Day. Deb is a member of Grace Baptist Church of Carlisle Pennsylvania that made yearly trips to Lakeshore for a full decade after Hurricane Katrina. The picture above is from her visit. What a joy it is to partner with like-minded believers!

Thank you so much for your ongoing support and prayers.

Family Mission Trips are Fun

Our good friends from Michigan made another family mission trip to the gulf coast last week. The weather wasn’t quite as nice as it is today, but at least it wasn’t cold. You never know this time of year. The rain and mud slowed us down a bit, but flexibility has always been the motto of a Lakeshore mission trip.

Being a family trip, the kids outnumbered the adults about 3 to 1, but the multi-generational team accomplished a great amount of work while here. I especially praise the Lord for the several repairs and tasks checked-off at the bunk house. Indoor jobs included tackling the Mercy House back room and warehouse. If you have ever worked back there, you know how disorderly and overwhelming it can get. The difference between the beginning of the week and the end of the week was amazing. I can’t thank them enough.

We also were able to do a little bit in The Garden, between the rain. Carrots and beet seeds were put in the ground; yes, we can garden in January on the gulf coast. I’m very excited about potting up over a dozen cuttings from my dragon fruit. The kids also potted up a bunch of Amaryllis seedlings I’ve been growing from a Katrina surviving flower I discovered on our property. It was a fun week.

I am always so encouraged by this group, not only by the work they do, but also just for the fact that they have fun while here and love coming. Its a joy to share some of our coastal living with folks from out of state. Michiganders gardening on new years day, walking the beach, and boiling crabs at the bunk house. God is good!

Gulf Coast Crabs at Lakeshore Mississippi
Family Mission Trip - Lakeshore Gardens

Bayside, Basketball, and BUGS

Bayside Baptist Church is on the rebound, in more ways than one. After undergoing a successful church revitalization in the last couple of years, the congregation says, “game on!” Thanks to a mission team from Georgia the church now has an outdoor basketball court on their church property. The new fenced in recreation area, with swing sets, will provide a much needed outlet for local kids to congregate under adult supervision. The church has a big heart for the young people of the neighborhood.

Several of the church members are also excited about the recreation area, especially because it will provide a great space for the outdoor activities of their BUGS Club. “BUGS” stands for “Building Up God’s Servants” and is their children’s ministry which includes Bible memorization, recreation, music, and more.

Rebuild Lakeshore was glad to be a small part of the Basketball court project, as the mission team stayed at our housing facilities while here on the gulf coast. We pray that God would continue to bless Bayside Baptist Church and the gospel efforts there, for the good of the community and the glory of Christ.

Mission Trip T-Shirts

If you made a mission trip to Lakeshore between 2005-2012, you will remember the T-shirt collection hanging from the ceiling of our make-shift dining hall. You probably even signed one of your group’s shirts. When the old kitchen came down to make room for the new church building, we tucked the shirts away in the attic of the bunk house. You can find a photo gallery of the over 350 shirts on our Rebuild Lakeshore Facebook page.

Nothing says “Mission Trip” like matching T-shirts.

In keeping with the iconic mission trip T-shirt tradition, we have designed several shirts for your next mission trip to the gulf coast, or as a souvenir to remember your last trip. To make it easy, you can order them online directly from Amazon. Just click on one of the designs below to go to Amazon where you can select your size and preferred color. I hope you enjoy the shirts and I look forward to seeing you on your next mission trip.

Rebuild Lakeshore for the Glory of God

Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly

Faith, Hope, Love

Here I Am Lord Send Me

Lakeshore Mississippi with Palm Tree

Lakeshore Mississippi with Crab

Mississippi Mission Trip

Hurricane Michael Disaster Relief Help Needed

Hurricane Michael Florida relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts can use your help. Our friends David and Cindy Jordan have been on the ground there, doing clean up, meeting needs, and providing meals. They have been feeding thousands of victims, volunteers, and first responders. They could use all the help they can get. Their granddaughter, pictured above, lends her expertise by advertising for the free meals they are serving. Will you do what you can to help?

I met the Jordans through their “Carpenters for Christ” mission trips to Lakeshore. They have been a tremendous help over the years. They have served Christ and given assistance to countless people across the country with their generosity. Now the need has come to their own back yard.

The Taunton Family Children’s Home in Wewahitchka Fl. has opened their doors to host mission teams that David leads. It can house up to 45 people. It is a two story house. The second story has two large bunkhouse rooms with 12 bunk beds on each side. Each side has restrooms, showers and sinks. The first floor has a large dining room to feed all at one time. The kitchen has three ovens, a microwave, gas stove, industrial refrigerator and two deep freezers. It does not cost anything to stay but a donation is always welcome but not needed.

David already has a few rebuilding projects going. A church deacon’s block home had the kitchen torn off by the storm. A team of block layers could begin work imediatly. They also could use roofers asap. Whatever you and your group can do would be greatly appreciated. Contact David Jordan (davidjordan1962@gmail.com or call / text at 850-951-3127) for more details and to plan your trip.
Hurricane Michael Disaster Relief Help Needed

Revitalizing New England with the Gospel

Nearly four-hundred years ago the Puritan influence planted churches throughout New England. Unfortunately, a long history of downgrade in the region has robbed these churches of gospel strength. Many have denied the faith. Beautiful historic church buildings are being converted to restaurants, retail outlets, and other things. Today, less than 2% of the population in the Boston area are professing evangelical Christians. Christ-centered men, like my friend Erik Maloy, desire to see God at work in New England once again. Will you partner with him?

Three years ago, in an interesting twist of providence, The First Church in Charlestown Massachusetts called Erik as pastor. The church boasts a fascinating church history. It begun in 1632 as one of the first churches in the “New World,” the founder of Harvard University, John Harvard,, served as one of its first pastors, and their first church building was destroyed in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Fast forward a few hundred years, and In the early 21st century the church dwindled to only a handful of members and threatened to permanently close its doors. Standing on the authority and sufficiency of scripture, Pastor Maloy has devoted himself to love the community, point them to Christ, and restore a healthy vibrant church for the glory of God.

I recently had the privilege of worshiping with the congregation of First Church. I was blessed and encouraged by their enthusiasm and resolve. Erik shared with me some of the vision he has, both for the Charlestown church and for the entire region. God is doing some very exciting things in New England.

Erik, along with Don McKinnon, pastor of First Baptist Church of Sutton MA, hosts The Practical Church Revitalization Podcast. Even if you do not live in New England or are not part of a particular church revitalization effort, let me encourage you to subscribe to their project, join with them in prayer, and spread the word on what God is doing.

We are especially looking for prayer partners and mission teams interested in traveling to the Boston area and working with the First Church of Charlestown. They could use mission trip teams for Vacation Bible Schools, community events, building projects, and other things. Contact Pastor Erik Maloy for more details. I know that a mission trip to Boston will feel a lot different than a mission trip to Lakeshore, but its the same big mission, for the glory of God.

Erik Mayloy and Don Elbourne

Don and Courtney Elbourne at First Church Charlestown MA

Living on Mission in Puerto Rico

Pray for Don and Janice Smith as they head to Puerto Rico for a 5 year mission trip. Talk about living on mission! I met this great couple following Hurricane Katrina as they came along side of us on the Mississippi gulf coast and proved very helpful. Their generous spirit and willingness to do even the smallest things encouraged our soul. I look forward to seeing the fruit of their dedication in Puerto Rico. The Smiths stopped by Lakeshore on their way to their new home last week. We were able to share lunch and talk about what God is doing on the island. I’m sure their service will benefit the disaster relief efforts there.

As we approach the one year anniversary of Hurricane Maria, I remember one year after Hurricane Katrina, how many folks had come to help, and how far we still had to go. We could not have made it to where we are now, if it were not for the countless people who didn’t forget about us after the media attention turned to other stories. Let us not forget about our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico.

Let me ask you to pray especially for the church planters that I have grown to love and respect. They toil for the cause of Christ in difficult conditions. Through their bold proclamation of the gospel and their active compassion for those in need, God’s glory shines brighter and brighter in the Caribbean, to the praise of Christ’s name and the spread of his fame.

2018 Summer Success

Rebuild Lakeshore hosted mission teams most of the summer as we partnered with sister churches across the gulf coast this year (2018). The mission teams stayed with us here at the bunk house, but then worked with other area churches doing back yard Bible clubs, Vacation Bible Schools, light construction, clean up, and other things. We were thrilled to be able to provide housing for the mission teams and rejoice at all the work that God accomplished through these folks all summer. I count the first year of “Partnership Gulf Coast” a great success and look forward to next year.

Summer Missions 2018

The summer is in full swing here on the Mississippi gulf coast. Our good friends Joey and Julie Gilbert are here again ministering to countless folks in the area through sister churches. Their dedication to the Lord and His work continues to amaze me as they have poured years of their lives into our community for the cause of Christ. Their crew from Georgia have been busy doing Vacation Bible Schools, sports camps, and just loving on people in the name of Jesus. May God be glorified through their efforts and may the gospel take root for long lasting fruit, to the praise of His name.

KY group stops in MS on route to missions in TX

As pastor of Oak Grove Baptist Church in Monticello KY, Tommy Floyd led multiple teams to Lakeshore following Hurricane Katrina. His folks did an amazing job at building numerous homes in our area. They also worked on our new church building. We can not thank them enough for their service for the glory of God.

Bro. Tommy now serves as director of missions for the Pulaski Baptist Association in KY. His heart for missions continues to shine through. This week he is leading a team from their association to serve in Port Arthur, TX. They spent the night with us here in our bunk house this weekend as they travel to their mission trip destination. What a joy it is to partner with such mission minded people for the cause of Christ.