Christmas in Lakeshore or God’s glory on display

It is always amazing what God uses to bring glory to Himself and this Christmas in Lakeshore was no less amazing. By man’s standards, God makes the impossible; possible. Let me set the stage for you: two weeks before Christmas, over 500 children in need, one Sunday for churches to get the word out, at least three days of shipping time, seemingly limited funds by God’s people this close to Christmas and the need for people to act immediately. Impossible for the need to be met in a seven day time span by human efforts, yes, but not impossible when God is about the business of bringing glory to Himself. The SOS went out by word of mouth, e-mails, many, many phone calls and the internet blogs. Immediately, the body of Christ responded as the Holy Spirit prompted their hearts. Churches, individuals and groups went shopping, bought gifts, wrapped and packed them for shipment and shipped or drove them to Lakeshore by Friday, Dec. 22. After all the families were adopted, the phone calls and e-mails did not stop. People sent in money, more toys and gift cards for anyone that came in at the very last moment in need. One of the most precious aspects about the gift -giving came in the form of those who work at the distribution center everyday since Katrina got to be the very ones to pass out the gifts. Those sweet folks that have been the sounding boards, shoulder to cry on and the ones to pour out your troubles to got to be the ones to pass out a little hope in the form of Christmas gifts from so many of you.

Thank you to all of you who participated in this display of God’s glory. It is important to note that not one of the people who gave wanted to have their names on the cards to the families or wanted to receive credit in any way. God received all the glory. The many families that were blessed by the gifts asked that we tell you all how much they appreciated your love toward them. More than one family said it was the best Christmas that they had ever had in their whole lives.

Somehow saying “Merry Christmas” at the end of this post doesn’t seem to fit; maybe a more fitting close would be to say “Happy Extravagant Grace of our Loving Lord.”

One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts. I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works. Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, and I will declare Your greatness. Psalm 145:4-6

The Shiyous – Home for Christmas

The Shiyou's House

When I returned to Lakeshore after the storm and began visiting each of our church members homes, I found the Shiyou’s house in shambles. The storm surge topped the roof, shifted the structure from its foundation, and left it beyond repair. Heavy equipment finished the job and brought the house down to the slab.

The detached car port survived, so we enclosed the walls, ran plumbing for a bathroom and small kitchenette, and turned it into a 400 sq foot apartment. This week a team from South Carolina will pick up where last week’s Pennsylvania team left off and franticly try to make the tiny dwelling place inhabitable by Christmas.

Finishing Touches

Finishing Touches

We hope to have the Lizanas in their home by Christmas. An eager volunteer team from South Carolina hit the ground running this morning cleaning windows, hanging blinds, patching sheet rock, paining trim, and tackling several other items on the punch list.

The Lizana home suffered irreparable structural damage from the storm. We had to completely clear the lot and start from the ground up.. A beautiful new home now sits in its place.

old house after storm

new house after rebuild

Help Mr. George come home

George's trailer

Eighty-four year old Mr. George lived in Lakeshore before the storm. His mobile home took in several feet of water but the structure remained intact. He now lives in a cramped FEMA camper on his son’s property in Long Beach. Mr. George desperately wants to return home. Next week we plan to finish gutting and cleaning the trailer and begin the rehab process. If you visit Lakeshore in the next couple of months, you may work on helping Mr. George realize his humble dream.

Christmas Party 2006

Christmas Party 2006

This past Sunday night, Lakeshore Baptist Church hosted a wonderful Christmas party with the help of Hebron Baptist Church of Hebron, MS and Pastor Tommy Davis. We had promoted the party, but after about an hour before kick-off we decided to “go out into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in.” Several folks knocked on doors at the local FEMA trailer parks and invited all who would come. The strategy proved a great success. We saw a wonderful response as several families gladly joined the party. About three-hundred people gathered to sing Christmas carols, make crafts, receive door prises, enjoy fellowship, and feast on the holiday bounty. The evening offered a welcome reprieve and an opportunity to continue building strong relationships with the community for the cause of Christ.

Christmas Party 2006

Christmas Party 2006

Christmas Party 2006

News from November 2006

Nearly half of December has flown by and I have not caught my breath from November yet. We praise God for the following teams who came to work with us last month.

  • Sierra First Baptist Church – Alta, CA
  • Harvest Community Church – Charlotte, NC
  • Heritage Fellowship – TN
  • Lima Baptist Temple – Lima, OH
  • First Baptist Natchitoches – Natchitoches, LA
  • Northgate Baptist Church – Beckley, WV
  • First Baptist Church – Altamont, KS
  • Briggs Memorial Chapel – Scooba, MS
  • Decatur Baptist Church – Decatur, AL
  • West Congregational Church – Haverhill, MA
  • Chapel on the Hill – Cedar Grove, NJ
  • Riverside Fellowship – New Port Ritchie, FL
  • First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs – Crystal Springs, MS
  • Forest Point Church – Gastonia, NC
  • Highlands Fellowship – Abingdon, VA
  • Calvary Baptist Church– Holland, MI
  • Calvary Baptist Church – Carney Point, NJ
  • Grace Baptist Church – Cape Coral, FL
  • George and Kathy Nelson – Meridian, MS
  • Ellison Ridge Baptist Church – Winston, MS
  • Trinity Lutheran Church – Joppa, MD
  • First Baptist Church of Saltillo – Saltillo, MS
  • First Baptist Church of Benton – Benton, AR
  • Welchland Baptist Church – Spencer, TN
  • Mt. Harmony – Riceville, TN
  • Reunion Church – Chicago, IL

Yes, we stay busy!

Christmas Gifts 2006

Christmas gifts

Christmas in Lakeshore may not be what it was in the past, but it resembles the standard of Christ more and more. The picture of Christ’s giving to His creation is without the expectation that we can ever come close to giving back to Him in kind. Yet, we are called to be like Him in all things. How do we do this at Christmas?

There is a need for Christmas presents (toys) for 300 kids in the Lakeshore community. You get the chance to give to kids you may never see but they will see Christ-like giving through your gifts. We wanted to open up this opportunity as another avenue of giving to Lakeshore at Christmas.

If you’d like more specific information: the children’s age groups, requested toys and the estimated children in need please contact: Pam Lackey at Plackey@alltel.net or by phone at (678)880-0157 or her cell at (678) 860-0448

We will take gifts up to Friday, December 22. We are requesting the toys be shipped directly to Lakeshore Baptist Church and labeled “Penguin Supplies.” It would be very helpful to send a hard copy of the gifts to Pam before you send them so she can check them off the list.

Sherman’s Slab

Sherman's Slab

Another house begins. We poured Mr. Sherman’s slab yesterday, on his wife’s birthday. The new house sits in the same location of the one destroyed by the storm; a home the couple had lived in for 50 years. They showed overwhelming appreciation toward the teams from California and Oregon working the concrete. We pray that God will use the ministry of team after team constructing the house to point this family to the wonder of Christ’s boundless grace.

Thanksgiving 2006

We stayed so busy the week of Thanksgiving, I did not find the time to report on the wonderful week of hard work in Lakeshore. Check out Jamie’s blog for pictures and news. Eleven teams from nine states worked on several houses, including Ms. Peewee’s home, all culminating in a splendid Thanksgiving Day.

I hate to start mentioning particular names, because whenever I do, I feel the guilt associated with not being able to tell about all the wonderful people who come work with us, but let me highlight a few representatives.

I especially enjoyed seeing my friend Jeff Hill and his crew again from New Jersey. When Jeff arranged his first trip we soon learned that we both planned on attending the Together for the Gospel conference which immediately sparked a friendship.

I always love to see the folks from Grace Baptist Church. Thanksgiving week, Donald Johnson, the Ascol kids, and their crew served long hours in the kitchen. I finally did catch them square dancing in there one evening. We could have raised enough money to build the new church buildings if we would have sold tickets to see Donald doing the dosey-doe.

We also received an immense blessing from Paula Hamilton from Maryland, who I know faithfully reads the blog. Since the storm several individuals from across the country have gone above and beyond with encouragement and support. She stands among that group. Thanks Paula!