Over the past 14 months, I have been asked the same question hundreds of times. When people discover that the eye of hurricane Katrina passed right over Lakeshore, they ask, “Did the storm destroy your church?” Our answer remains, “No. The storm did not destroy the church. It did demolish the buildings, but the church still stands strong.” While the winds and water wiped our structures completely off of the property and left our entire congregation homeless, the storm could not rip apart the community of faith God established in Lakeshore.
On Reformation Day, as I think of churches being demolished or standing strong, I’m reminded of Martin Luther’s bold assertion: the church stands or falls on the doctrine of sola feda (Faith Alone). I preached Romans 1:17 this past Sunday.
The body of Christ in Lakeshore shows strong resolve to move forward for God’s glory. As we begin to make plans to re-build our church buildings we want to hold onto the five solas of the reformation by standing solidly on scripture alone, proclaiming salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. We set our feet on the sure promise that Jesus made, “upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”
btw, in celebration of Reformation Day, check out the audio from today’s “Renewing Your Mind” broadcast. “Martin Luther’s Here I Stand” hosted by Max McLean.
I think it was last November when Northside Baptist Church of Charlotte, NC sent a team down to Lakeshore. This wonderful energetic crew helped in so many ways. In the video you can see them pouring the footers for our metal quanzet hut that serves as our temporary church building. The pictures encouraged me this morning because many of the homes they were doing preliminary work now have families living in them. For example, you see them hanging sheet rock in the Ward’s house – the Wards now have a beautiful home. They worked in the Nesome’s – the Nesomes now live back in their spacious house (FEMA campers get mighty cramped with 6 kids).
We could not have made a dent in the progress over the last 14 months without teams like Northside Baptist and hundreds of others giving of their time and talents to come down to lend assistance. Plenty of work remains to be done. Thousands of people still live in campers and need your help to rebuild their homes. Videos like this give you a glimpse into what a mission trip to Lakeshore feels like. Why not plan your trip today? Call our church office at (228) 469-0110 for details. If no one answers, it means we are probably all out working on houses. Please leave a message and we will return your call asap. We would love to see you come help rebuild Lakeshore to the glory of God.
My friend, Cindy Swanson, interviewed me for her radio show a couple of months ago. You can read and hear excerpts here: Katrina: One year later, a Mississippi church continues to rebuild. I want to thank Cindy and others who continue to help keep the relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts in the conscience of people from across the country. We’ve seen progress over the past 14 months, but the task continues and we face years of ministry opportunity.
btw, Cindy also interviewed Justin Taylor recently as they discussed the question, “Where is God when bad things happen?” They highlighted the book “Suffering and the Sovereignty of God” that grew out of the 2005 Desiring God National Conference. In God’s providence, the conference came weeks after Katrina devastated our community. A year later we used the DVD series to re-enforce many of the issues we have grappled with since the storm as we point to our all-valuable sovereign God who can hold a hurricane in his hand as He turns unthinkable tragedy for His glory.
One year ago our friend Stephen Ake made his first trip to Lakeshore, just 7 weeks after the storm. Since then, he has averaged about one trip a month. Read about his thoughts on Lakeshore – 1 Year Ago and Now. Every trip he has tried to post images that capture the progress of the clean up and rebuilding efforts. Check out his Lakeshore Gallery. I’ve also placed a link in the sidebar for continuing reference for those looking for more pictures.
Everyone who has been to Lakeshore over the past 14 months has fallen in love with James and Mrs. Bea. Mrs. Bea serves tirelessly in our food distribution center. James works as our right hand man in the rebuilding efforts. Katrina completely destroyed their home. The week after the storm I posted a plea to find them a camper to live in. They later moved into a FEMA issued camper and then into a garage built by volunteers. Its great to see their house finally going up.