If you have been following the Rebuild Lakeshore efforts, you know that back in February the Hancock County Planning and Zoning Commission ruled that we needed to remove all temporary structures on our church property by May 31. This eviction would have included all our buildings being used to host volunteers as well as our primary worship space. In late May, we went before the commission again asking for an extension. They denied our request. We appealed that decision to the Hancock County Board of Supervisors.
This morning the board held a public hearing to determine the fate of our church property camp site in Lakeshore. We arrived this morning to an almost standing room only venue. I came with a short prepared speech detailing the positive impact of our ministry for the community at multiple levels, outlining our current and future ministry plans, and ready to plead our case before the board. Several others were prepared to speak on our behalf as well.
At our point on the docket the board president, Rocky Pullman, announced the Lakeshore Baptist Church issue on the agenda. I came forward and he asked me to introduce myself and state our business. Before I could begin, our district #1 supervisor, David Yarborough, spoke up and said something along the lines of,
” Hold on Brother Don, I think I can make this quick. I think we all know how much Lakeshore Baptist Church has done for this community. When the storm destroyed their church buildings and all of Lakeshore, they could have spent the time and effort to rebuild their own facilities. Instead they put the community first and have been helping others non-stop. I think we all agree that we should give them the time necessary to rebuild their own buildings and continue doing this good work. I move we grant their request.”
A quick second accompanied the rest of the boards nods of approval. The moderator acknowledged Yarborough’s input, but added that a public hearing exists to hear the voice of the community. He asked if anyone else was present regarding this issue. In unison, most of the room stood to its feet; creating an impressive showing. Some of the board chuckled under their breath. He then asked if anyone stood against the motion. No one flinched. I’m not sure if it was the board’s attorney, Ronnie Artigues, or our County Administrator, Tim Keller, or who, but someone said, “I think we can just vote.”
“District #1?” – “Yes.” “District 2?” “Yes.” “District 3?” “Yes”…. all the way down the line. Unanimous. I heard a big sigh of relief from the folks behind me as all the members of the board expressed their gratitude of our ongoing work in the county. To God be the glory.
We can now continue moving forward with the relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts without missing a beat. I want to thank everyone who joined us in prayer concerning this issue. Can anyone doubt that God is in control of all things for the spread of His fame?