For almost the first time in nearly five years, its quiet here in Lakeshore. With no teams here for a few weeks in a row, I’m fighting the temptation to lose momentum. We can’t slow down now. We see far too much ahead to grow weary at this point. So, pray for us as we lean on God’s merciful sustaining grace.
Looking forward to the summer, we have some exciting projects on the horizon. Its not too late to plan a mission trip. Unlike last year, where almost every week the camp site neared capacity, we only have a few weeks maxed out. So feel free to call us today to plan your mission trip for this summer. Let me wet your apatite for some of the exciting things in store for June, July, and August.
New Home Construction: We currently have a handful of new homes under construction. One of them sits 15′ above grade and has been dried in. The next step includes wiring, plumbing, and HV/AC. Once those things have been installed and inspected we can hang the insulation and sheet rock, paint, lay the flooring, set the cabinets, do the trim work, and get things ready for the homeowner to move in. A second house, only a few feet off the ground, sits in about the same stage of construction. We look to do a lot of work on these houses this summer.
We have been talking to several more families about their possibilities to rebuild. Please include these families in your prayer as they strive to put together a workable plan. When things come together, we want to stand ready with volunteers to assist with the labor. Lord willing, we will frame up a few more houses before long.
Rehabs and Miscellaneous projects: In addition to the houses that we have been working on from beginning to end, we have several other projects harder to classify. A good number of residents in our community have been doing all the work on their homes themselves. After 4 1/2 years they struggle with fatigue and discouragement. Its hard enough, under the best of conditions, to build your own home. Trying to do it with limited resources, living in temporary housing, dealing with the grief of losing everything, exposed to everyone in your circle of family and friends going through the same thing, and you have a recipe for despair. We like to help these folks get over a hump, by finishing their sheet rock, or laying some tile, or hanging their siding, or perhaps even just cleaning up their yard.
Bible Distribution: Nearly 100% of our community lost everything 4 1/2 years ago to Hurricane Katrina. For many, that included their Bibles, if they had one. We have been distributing Bibles in association with our various relief efforts. I’ve noticed, however, that many homes in our community, especially those of unbelievers, still do not own a Bible. We have acquired several hundred Bibles and would like to do a systematic distribution in our community. We plan to go door to door with the goal of placing a Bible in every household. Join us in prayer that the gift of God’s Word, scattered like seed throughout south Hancock County will bear fruit of encouragement and Kingdom growth for the glory of God.
Landscaping: Up until this point nearly all of our rebuilding efforts have focused on doing the bare minimum of putting a roof over our heads. Landscaping portions of the church property will encourage not only our own church members who have gracefully put their selves last in these efforts, but also bless the community by enhancing the slowly returning beauty of Lakeshore Road. We look to plant trees, shrubs, and grass, set borders around parking lots, and build flower beds. I should add here; we do not have a budget for this project. The amount of landscaping of the church property done at this stage of development will depend on funding. So, if anyone would like to contribute financially to the landscaping project, please let me know.
Special Events: If you have been to Lakeshore before, you know that every day is a special event here. How many churches host a church picnic every day, three meals a day? In addition to all that, we have a few things in the works I’d like to share.
Not really a “Rebuild Lakeshore” event, but Lakeshore Baptist Church will celebrate its annual homecoming on Sunday June 13 with an old fashioned dinner on the grounds. This year marks 99 years of ministry for us. Founded in 1911, God has seen fit to bring the church through countless obstacles and continues to bless us through his providence. We stand in a pivotal time in our history as we look forward to how God will continue to glorify himself in the future.
On Thursday June 24 we have a Mercy Ministry event in the works. We are hammering out the details but it will be along the same lines of our recent free seminar on “How To Stretch Your Grocery Budget.” We will need people to help with this event to work pre-registration, unload the food truck, assist with child care, etc.
The week of July 11th we will host a Vacation Bible School. A couple of Churches from the Laurel Mississippi area will help with this years “Saddle Ridge Ranch.” Please pray that we will impact many families for the cause of Christ through this week long event.
Sunday August 29, 2010 will mark the five year anniversary of the storm.
The Mercy House: In addition to special events and all the work out in the community rebuilding and rehabbing homes, we have been slowly moving forward with the church property master plan. We hope to complete the Mercy House by the end of August. Lord willing, teams will complete the HV/AC, electrical, and plumbing next week. Pending inspection, we will then be able to blow in insulation, hang sheet rock, and move forward with the progress of this building all summer. Completion of the Mercy House will allow us to relocate our distribution center ministry to that building. This move will open up the property for the ground breaking of our permanent dining hall.
As you can see the next few months will see jam-packed activity in the relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts. Its not too late for you to plan your trip to be a part. I’m excited about what God has in store for us as we seek the expansion of his glory on the gulf coast for the spread of his fame.