Thank you for your ongoing prayer support as God works incredible things for his glory. Rebuild Lakeshore continues our relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts on the Mississippi gulf coast. While we diligently work out in the community with house construction, debris clean-up, demolition of blighted property, etc, much of our attention turns to the construction of our new church building. This summer should see the finalization of the design drawings with ground breaking soon to follow. Keep up with us as we begin to put together a construction schedule and recruit volunteer teams for the project.
As we shift gears and enter into the next stage of storm recovery, we have lost a valuable member of our team. Jamie Dunbar served well for 6 years. the Lord has led her back to her home state of Wisconsin to be near her family. Her absence has created a void in our work and hearts. While no one could replace Jamie, many of her tasks need to be shuffled to others. I have been praying that God would send us someone to spread the load. I assume God had someone in mind, perhaps from one of our volunteer teams, to come down and lend a hand for a while. I specifically prayed for a young man that I could invest my life into and perhaps serve as somewhat of an intern in the mercy ministry. As God usually does, he answered my prayers in a richer fashion than I would have dreamed and has raised up a young man from within our local community.
Let me introduce you to Trevor Patterson. Trevor was only 14 when Hurricane Katrina decimated our area. Some of our earliest volunteer teams helped rehab his flooded home. Fast forward 6 1/2 years and God has grown Trevor into a strapping young man with a heart for the Lord and a desire to serve. Without going into all the details of his difficult post-Katrina teenage years, suffice it to say the Lord radically saved Trevor and turned his life around. I had the privilege of baptizing Trevor earlier this year.
Trevor jumped into the Rebuild Lakeshore work-flow with both feet a few weeks ago, leading volunteer teams and working hard along side of them. We plan to move him into the little cottage here on the church property so that he can be available to the 24/7 ministry. Would you consider financially supporting Trevor in our new intern program? We’ve worked out a budget of $1000 a month that will cover expenses associated with his position as well as providing him a small stipend for personal needs. The semester of our program will span the 7 months of June-December of 2012. Please download this form to direct your contribution to invest in the life of this young man and the work of the ministry here for God’s glory. As the Lord turns tragedy into triumphant praise to his name, I praise God that he sees fit to use us in the spread of his fame.
This year’s Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in New Orleans, adopted a resolution affirming human needs ministry and community involvement by local churches.” Lakeshore Baptist Church rejoices with such a statement as we seek to live it out in our daily lives.
AFFIRMING HUMAN NEEDS MINISTRY AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT BY LOCAL CHURCHES
WHEREAS, Humanity’s greatest problem at the root of all other problems is rebellion against God and separation from Him because of sin; and
WHEREAS, The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only solution to our problem, as it, through faith in Jesus Christ, reconciles us to God and to one another; and
WHEREAS, The work and ministry of Jesus involved both proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom and demonstrating the love of God; and
WHEREAS, We are commanded by Scripture both to preach the Gospel and to do good deeds so that God’s light would shine before men; and
WHEREAS, The indwelling Spirit leads us sacrificially to love our neighbor and all those in need as we love ourselves with both material and spiritual assistance; and
WHEREAS, We are ambassadors for Christ with the ministry of reconciliation to all who are alienated from God and are living under the effects of personal, social, and structural sin; and
WHEREAS, We live in a country and world where sin and its effects greatly harm individuals, families, and communities; and
WHEREAS, Southern Baptists have a long history of providing aid to all people in times of need, including disaster relief, physical assistance, and advocacy for the oppressed, among other things; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 19–20, 2012, affirm and encourage the work of our local churches, associations, community ministry centers, state conventions, and missions agencies in their ministries to human needs; and be it further
RESOLVED, That as every local church makes disciples for Christ, it should encourage every disciple to love people; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage every local church to engage the needs of its community, supremely with a strong Gospel witness in words, accompanied by a corresponding witness of deeds; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we encourage generous support of those ministries in Baptist life that are specifically equipped to facilitate the work of human needs ministry and the involvement of local churches in the same; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we encourage education, training, and equipping of Christians in human needs ministry as an expression of love, discipleship, and fidelity to our Lord as God gifts, directs, and enables us to be His hands and feet to a hurting and needy world.
Today we drilled a couple of test holes for the engineer as we get closer to finalizing the church building construction plans. The ground quality met his satisfaction. We very likely will use concrete pilings for the church to mitigate sway under full occupancy. The sanctuary will sit approximately 12′ above grade and hold up to 200 people, so we need to ensure a proper foundation. We still need to do a cost analysis and pass everything before the congregation. The tentative plan calls for poured in place pilings for the corners of the building and concrete block pilings for the rest of the structure. This layout will involve a lot of rebar. When I know exactly how much, I will share the details. In the meantime continue to pray for us as we move closer and closer to our actual ground breaking.
If you came to Lakeshore in the first couple of years after the storm, you probably helped build a shed or two, or observed other teams doing the same. We literally build hundreds of sheds for local residence as they began to put their lives back together. As folks lived in FEMA campers or other temporary housing, the sheds kept the little provisions they had dry from the weather. Others were able to outfit the sheds with washing machines and dryers, and others kept building materials as they constructed their new homes.
We constructed many of these sheds out of lumber we milled from Katrina downed trees. Sided with nothing more than painted OSB, the little storage units served as a temporary necessities. Six+ years later, many of them have started to deteriorate, as expected.
This week we demolished one that had far surpassed its usefulness. One of our church members, a widow in Lakeshore, thanked the volunteer team this week for removing the Katrina reminder from her back yard.
This same team, a youth group from Kenner Louisiana, also gave three of our sheds on the church property another coat of paint in an attempt to prolong their longevity.
The summer of Rebuild Lakeshore projects heats up next week with a string of teams making their way to the coast. Over the next six weeks we have about 250 volunteers schedule to work with us. Rebuilding, remaining clean up, and miscellaneous service projects fill the agenda. Please continue to pray for the progress as we host folks from Louisiana, Alabama, and Georgia in the months of June and July. We still have space available for many of the weeks, if you would like to join us.
I have been amiss in providing web site updates in the first half of 2012. I plan, Lord willing, to rectify that silence this summer. So keep up with us, follow the progress, and check the web site often for updates.
One of my new year resolutions for Rebuild Lakeshore hangs on the “reduce, reuse, recycle” philosophy. In an effort to be good stewards of the physical and financial resources God has provided, I have a few ideas I’d like to share and challenge ourselves to implement in the coming year.
No matter where we may stand on various environmental issues, the causes of climate change, or the existence of global warming, we can agree that God grants humans the responsibility for creation care. (Genesis 2:15) The Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative offers some issues of merit to consider. Let us not allow those who take environmental concerns to the lunatic fringe to negate our God given responsibility to sensibly care for his creation.
We should also recognize than many of these simple practices have very practical implications for the stewardship of resources. For example, we could save a tremendous amount of money each year if we reduced the amount of bulk waste we added to our dumpster. At $400+ a dump, this could add up to substantial financial savings, representing money we could reallocate to other ministry projects.
1. Build a Compost Bin
We produce an incredible amount of kitchen and yard waste. For example, next week we will host about 175 people. We will prepare 3 meals a day for 8 days. That is 4,200 meals of kitchen scraps in just one week. Adding grass clippings and fallen leaves can augment the pile and create a good carbon to nitrogen mix. The active compost bin can take these biodegradables and turn them into rich soil for our gardens.
2. Sheet Mulch
Our distribution center receives a tremendous amount of corrugated cardboard in the form of boxes and packing material. I have been experimenting with a process called “sheet mulching.” We planted a variety of citrus trees just west of the bunk house. This summer we layered flattened cardboard boxes throughout the entire area and topped them with grass clippings. The procedure successfully kept the weeds down. Come spring, when we start mowing the grass again, I plan to add more layers. I’d love to use the same process in a few other proposed garden areas.
3. Start Recycling
Hancock County does not yet have a municipal recycling program, but the city of Bay St. Louis does. If we separate these materials upon use, one of our church members has agreed to carry all of our recyclable plastic including water bottles, plastic cups, etc to the drop off location. We can bring various kinds of metal to the scrap yard and get reimbursed per pound. I like the idea of getting money back for our garbage instead of paying to have it hauled to a land-fill.
4. Consider Re-purposing
Call me Fred Sanford, but I hate throwing things away that could serve good purposes. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Even when an item has been used past its intended function, it could be used for something else. Ripped tents work well as drop cloths, scraps of carpet provide great knee protection when laying tile, a few left-over shingles create a non-slip surface on steps, etc. We always find a need for small pieces of scrap lumber. I have spinach growing in cracked rubbermaid tubs and my wife dog’s love their kennels constructed out of bread crates. Recently we took a couple of broken tables, replaced the tops with plywood, and have brand-new custom sized tables. I’ve even been known to turn a broken stove into a turkey smoker. Before throwing something away, consider that the would-be garbage could serve an alternate purpose.
5. Compact Garbage
Even with the above practices in place, several items do not fall into the recycling, composting, or re purposing categories and must go into the dumpster. Even here we have room to improve and save money in the process. We learned this principle when demolishing houses. We might fill two or three containers with debris if we just tossed it all in, but we could reduce the number of pick-ups if we layered and stacked the material. Doing this with all our garbage, as much as possible, will eliminate paying for air pockets.
If you make a trip to Lakeshore this year, please help us stick to this category of resolutions. These ideas just scratch the surface of how we can become better stewards of the tangible resources God has blessed us with. If you have any other suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
This time of year, while most folks work through their Christmas shopping list, I have been enjoying making a list of all the projects on our church property slated for the new year. January in Lakeshore brings a slew of folks from across the country eager to push our rebuilding efforts forward. Our largest group consists of around 170 people representing a couple dozen Reformed Baptist Churches.
Some of the projects on the agenda include:
Dismantling the Kitchen
For six and a half years now, we have used our neighbor’s old slab to feed thousands and thousands of volunteers who have flooded the gulf coast in our relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts. The time has finally arrived to clear this portion of our property to make way for our new church building. In January the team will dismantle our old make-shift kitchen, salvageing as much building materials as possible for use in various other projects. They will remove the slab, clear the trees, and begin site prep for the new construction.
As we say good-bye to our disaster relief cooking and eating area a new and improved camp kitchen replaces it. The undercroft of the bunk house has become a “monster camp kitchen.” It now stands (almost) fully operational, but we have a few items still on the punch list for this area including moving the wooden deck, setting the propane tank, and building some serving tables.
Moving the Wooden Deck
Several years ago we built nine 8’X8′ deck components. Placing them atop concrete blocks gave us a good bit of overflow outdoor seating for meals and gathering space. The design allowed for flexable reconfiguration. Last year we relocated the deck from the south to the north side of the kitchen. Now that we plan to clear that area completely, the deck will find a new home adjacent to the bunk house. An overhead awning will provide shade and light rain cover.
Setting the Propane Tank
As we move the big propane tank to the new kitchen we need to pour a slab for it to sit on. We can then build a 6′ wooden fence around the area. A gate with a lock will secure smaller propane tanks within the enclosure.
Building Serving Tables
When we first considered relocating the kitchen to underneath the bunk house I felt a bit skeptical that the new location would prove adequate. Now that we have set up the space, I believe that this new camp kitchen will provide a more superior cooking and dining experience than the old one. Folks traveling to Lakeshore for mission trips or retreats will find a great all-in-one facility.
The only deficiency comes in the lack of abundant storage space. We can overcome some of this by building some serving tables with under the counter shelving. We have plenty of left-over tiles for the counter-top. Setting the cabinetry on casters will give us the flexibility to move them around wherever needed.
At one time we had over a dozen sheds on our church property, much to the chagrin of the building code office who shoulder the Katrina recovery task of ridding the county of all temporary structures. In an effort to comply with the flood mitigation program, structures not built to code must go. We have been, slowly but surely, reducing the number of sheds on our property. The couple of sheds nearest the bunk house fall next on the demolition list. As we liquidate and rearrange the items stored in these places, we need to build racks in the short shipping container. Yes Allison, your old house will become the new shovel shed.
No one in the world could imagine how much stuff has been donated, stored, used, and distributed to and through Lakeshore Baptist Church over the past several years. Keeping all these items organized proves an overwhelming task. One week we might be swamped with one thing and the next week, with something else. “A place for everything and everything in its place” exists only as a dream in the mind of those not familiar with the ever changing dynamics of the ongoing work here.
With that said, now that things have slowed down a bit, 2012 would be a good time to reassess our inventory, move things from one storage area to another, group similar things together, and try to move toward a more organized storage arrangement.
Laying a Parking Lot and Driveway
This past year saw the completion of the Mercy House. The facility has become a wonderful blessing to the ministry here. A steady stream of traffic flows through our distribution center on the lower level. The upstairs room has hosted a few church wide fellowship meals, a very cool Coffee House type concert, our monthly senior adult luncheons, some of our business meetings, a community outreach counseling seminar, a hand full of baby showers, and several other events.
The site plan called for a back driveway to access the rear of the building and the warehouse. We have not yet cut this throughway yet. We will need to move the shipping container that sits in the way, add fill, and lay limestone. We have decided to add more needed parking along this area as well. Lord willing, in the spring we will begin landscaping the property as it becomes a beautiful testimony to the abundant mercy of God.
Erecting Clothing Rods
The ladies in our distribution center have requested more racks to hang clothing on. We have built some rods with wood frame and galvanized pipe that works well. The rest of the clothing sits on shelving. They would like to replace the shelving with racks.
Constructing a Literature Rack
We have over 200 people file through our Mercy House distribution center every week to receive food, clothing, and other tangible necessities. I want to make our Literature distribution a larger component of this ministry. We give out an assortment of gospel tracts, theological booklets, counseling resources, and other information, mostly from Chapel Library I believe an attractive and easily accessible rack would serve to expand this effort and make the literature more visible to those we minister to.
The Mississippi Welcome Center, not far from us, has an example of the kind of rack I have in mind. I have attached a picture above. If some folks could build something like this, for the Mercy House, that would be wonderful. Our’s does not have to be that “fancy,” but I like the fact that it is free standing and holds a good bit of literature in a small space.
Working in the Community
In addition to these and other tasks on the church property, we also plan to continue our efforts in the community. We have wrapped up all of our major projects, but we continually meet new people who could use assistance. Whether it is an attic of an elderly couple that never got insulated, an addition to a families overly small Katrina cottage, or the prospect of a home for a man who still lives in a camper, we endeavor to lift high the name of Christ as we minister mercy to those in need.