Last week our friends from Grace Baptist Church of Carlisle PA organized another trip to Lakeshore with like-minded ARBCA churches. With 21 churches represented the 120+ member crew accomplished a tremendous amount of work. Check out their ARBCA in Lakeshore 2009 blog and do not miss their pictures posted in Deb’s Picasa web album and Mark’s Flicker photostream. I can not tell you how much these folks have encouraged me.
- Ballston Lake Baptist Church, NY
- Bible Chapel of Delhi Hills, OH
- Cornerstone, AZ
- Church of the Savior, MD
- Ephesus Church, GA
- Faith Chapel, Carlisle, PA
- First Baptist Church, Clinton, LA
- First Presbyterian Church, Henderson, NC
- Grace Baptist Church, Cape Coral, FL
- Grace Baptist Church, Carlisle, PA
- Grace Baptist Church, Chambersburg, PA
- Grace Baptist Church, Taylors, SC
- Grace Fellowship Church, Bremen, Indiana
- Grace Fellowship Church, Hazleton, PA
- Grace Covenant Church, Gilbert, AZ
- Grace Reformed Baptist Church, Rockford, IL
- Greentown Bible Fellowship, PA
- Living Word Fellowship, Wellsboro, PA
- New Covenant, IL
- New Life, Williamsport, PA
- Woodruff Road Presbyterian Church, SC
Last night WLOX reported on the Hancock County Zoning Board’s decision to shut down our volunteer efforts and close the doors to Lakeshore Baptist Church. You can watch the video: WLOX – Volunteer Efforts Could End.
This past Thursday the Hancock County Planning and Zoning Board passed a resolution that mandates that we remove all temporary structures from our church property by May 31st. This eviction includes all volunteer housing, our volunteer dining hall, our distribution center, and even our temporary metal church building – everything except the church office. Losing these facilities would bring our relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts to a screeching halt and leave Lakeshore Baptist Church without a gathering place for corporate worship.
The story made the front page of our local newspaper The Sea Coast Echo. See: Lakeshore Church’s fate In the Lord’s Hands.
I do not believe God plans to bring Lakeshore Baptist Church or her mercy ministry of hosting volunteers to and end. With a firm reliance on God’s sovereignty and His control over all things, we also want to investigate all our options. These action plans may include erecting permanent buildings a little quicker than our master plan called for. We also have been in conversations with our board of supervisors who, if we understand correctly, can pass rulings that trump the zoning board. Our county supervisor stands behind us and has vowed to do all he can to keep our volunteer efforts going.
I will try to post updates here on the Rebuild Lakeshore blog as details unfold. We ask our friends to remember us in prayer as we seek the Lord’s wisdom, guidance, and direction in this matter. Above all else we pray that God would continue to glorify Himself.
We began the new year by beginning two new construction homes. The first is the tiny house for Samuel. Last week our friends from Sovereign Grace Church – Chippewa Falls Wisconsin set the concrete blocks. This week folks from ARBCA churches framed the house.
For the second house, as the new year rolled in a group of BGM (Baptist Collegiate Ministries) students from Georgia cleared the property. Last week the Wisconsin team strung out the lines and set placements for the pilings. This week the ARBCA crew drilled the holes, set the pilings, and poured the concrete. Lord willing, next week folks from Oak Grove KY will frame the house and keep things moving forward.
All the other projects have seen progress also.. With about 150 or so volunteers here this week we have been working on about 25 houses and ongoing projects to the glory of God. I am excited about what God has in store for the work this coming year. Continue to keep us in prayer and consider making a mission trip to Lakeshore to be a part of what God is doing for the spread of his fame.
Yesterday I posted about a man currently living in a tent. Samuel story is not unique. This past Friday we had two families come by the church asking for tents and blankets. I did not catch their full stories, but circumstances have driven them to seek shelter in sub-third world country living conditions. As MEMA begins to pull all cottages from Hancock County in light of the March 31 deadline to close out all government provided temporary housing, we fear more and more families, individuals, and elderly will get pushed out with nowhere else to turn.
We have a few tents packed away from the days we used to sleep in tents here on the church property after the storm. Some of them show signs of wear, but we have been going through them seeing which ones could be used by folks needing shelter.
I know tents do not provide a good solution, but the limited shelter beats sleeping outside exposed to the elements. For many people, these are the only two alternatives. To help with this pressing community need we find ourselves, like the first days after the storm, once again asking for donations of tents, sleeping bags, cots, and blankets. If you would like to help in this way you can ship these items directly to our church property or make financial designated contributions for the cause. You can find our address on the contact page. Thank you so
When I first met Samuel, he introduced himself as “Samuel – as in Second Samuel from the Bible.” I guess he figured he wasn’t worthy to be named after “First Samuel.” He has had a hard life and made several poor decisions that cut him off from any contact from his family for years. Before the storm he lived a lone in a meager rental property.
Samuel never received a MEMA cottage or FEMA camper. Because his pre-Katrina rental property remained physically inhabitable he lacked eligibility for any government assistance. While the gulf coast housing shortage pushed his living quarters above his financial abilities, FEMA regulations deemed his housing loss “not directly storm related,” so he has been in the tent and his vehicle for nearly three years now. Hurricane Gustav flooded his car, so he has been left with only a tent set up on the slab of a storm-destroyed home. To the glory of God, our church has secured a piece of property and the teams framed a tiny house for him this week. Lord willing, it will not take us long to have it ready for him to inhabit.