Two years ago today Hurricane Katrina slammed into the gulf coast. This morning my mind goes back to my thoughts as crews restored power in Baton Rouge where we had evacuated to. Jammed phone lines wouldn’t allow us to contact anyone. We watched as news and rescue helicopters flew over our neighborhood and we tried to take in the scope of what had just happened and wrap our minds around the tremendous horror still unfolding. As soon as the internet came back up, I sent out the following email and posted it to my web site:
I am alive. My wife and two kids are alive. My family survived Hurricane Katrina. Still numb from the devastation around us, I canâ€™t help but praise God for the safety of my family and the assurance that Godâ€™s providence works all things together for our good and his glory.
We live in New Orleans, or I should say we used to live in New Orleans. We still do not know about our house. We assume its underwater and perhaps a complete loss. We evacuated to my parentâ€™s house in Baton Rouge. We may not be able to return for weeks or even months. Its hard to watch our city fill with water like a bathtub and try to decide where to go from here. Our hope rests in the firm foundation of our sovereign God who holds us in his right hand. This morning I think of John Newtonâ€™s words, â€œThrough many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come; â€™Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.â€
I still have not heard anything from any of our church members from Lakeshore Baptist Church. Most of them live very close to the water. I know most of them evacuated.
For those not familiar with the gulf coast, Lakeshore sits about half way between New Orleans LA and Gulport. MS, just outside Waveland/Bay St. Louis. Our church is only about a mile from the gulf, in a very low lying area. As soon as the roads open I want to get in and assess the damage. I will be very surprised if any of our church buildings still stand at all.
Now that I have internet access I will post updates as I find out more information. I just wanted to post this to let everyone know that we are safe. Please pray for us as we pick up the pieces, rebuild, and move forward to the glory of God.
Don A. Elbourne Jr.
August 31, 2005
Two years later and we still find ourselves picking up the pieces, digging out from under the rubble and seeing God Glorify himself in ways we never could have imagined. For 730 days now God has poured out his mercy and sustained us with his grace.
Katrina completely destroyed our church buildings and left everyone in our community homeless. Through the hard work of God-sent volunteers we have physically helped over 100 families in Lakeshore rebuild their homes by rehabbing the remains of their flooded skeleton structure or rebuilding from the ground up. Donations from across the country have provided assistance to literally hundreds more.
The long road ahead still looms in front of us. Several more years of rebuilding and recovery challenge us to press on and “not grow weary of doing good.” (Galatians 6:9-10) I know two years is a long time, but the job is far from complete. Please do not forget about us. Remember us in prayer, tell others of the work God continues to accomplish here, and plan a trip to come participate in this mission of mercy as we rebuild Lakeshore for the glory of God.