Our Mercy House distribution center ministry depends on donations of clothing, household items, furniture, toys and other things. These donations are placed in needy homes just as fast as they come in… well, almost. Much of the stuff goes into the warehouse where it can be sorted, organized, and stored until they are needed. Toys suitable for Christmas are tucked away in a special location. Seasonal clothing has its place. At least that is the theory. The reality is that serving people face to face usually takes precedence over working in the hot lonely warehouse and over time the organization gets more and more chaotic. The result is a warehouse out of control.
Last week an energetic group of young people from Massachusetts spent the week with us and set as their main goal to conquer the disarray. All week they sorted through mounds of clothing, rearranged boxes like a giant game of Tetris, sorted through the clutter, and found a few things we didn’t even know we had. By the end of the week there was a place for everything and everything was in its place. As tidy as the warehouse is today, with a sheepish grin we did have to tell the group that we can’t promise how long it will stay that way. God has blessed us with a very active ministry, but this much needed overhaul will enhance the efforts exponentially. We can not express how grateful we are for this hard work and how much more productive the next several months will be as we seek to serve our community for the glory of God.
Earlier this summer I received an email from Pastor L.T. Louge. A decade ago he made several trips to the gulf coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. I remember Bro. L.T. because he was instrumental in our decision to build one of our first houses, from the ground up, for one of the widows in our church, Mrs. Redford. Now at a different church, he wanted to make a return trip to Lakeshore to expose his folks to the amazing work God accomplished here on the gulf coast and to lend a hand in our ongoing ministry.
Last week he brought about 20 hard working volunteers from Georgia back to Lakeshore. Accompanying him was Brother Kenny Rowland and folks from his church as well. They tackled several projects including working in the Mercy House, pressure washing our buildings, adding windows to the pastor’s cabin, and continuing the efforts to decommission our temporary infastructure.
They were able to catch up with Mrs. Redford who thanked them again for the reconstruction of her home.
On Wednesday night they blessed us with a concert featuring some very gifted voices including the group BASIK Truth. While not singing, they were working hard… well actually even when they were working they were singing too; which was a tremendous blessing. We thoroughly enjoyed the fellowship and appreciate their generous work.
If you would like to make a return trip to Lakeshore, contact us for available dates. The bunk house sleeps 38 and is ready to host your group.
Eleven years ago, last week, a group of folks were working with us here in Lakeshore as part of our Hurricane Katrina relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts. Glen and Pat served on that team and were sleeping in the shipping container bunk rooms when they got a phone call in the middle of the night, from back home in Georgia, telling them about the birth of their grand-daughter Reagan. Last week Glen and Pat returned to Lakeshore on a mission trip, this time bringing their precious 11 year old grand-daughter along. She is a great worker, has a beautiful smile, and a wonderful sweet spirit. Happy Birthday Reagan!
Glen and Pat sang for us last Wednesday night and we were greatly blessed.
Also, since their first trip to Lakeshore, Glen has surrender to the ministry. Please pray for this dear brother as God continues to use him for His glory.
For the past year a faithful group of folks from Georgia have been involved in revitalization efforts at a sister church here in our comunity. Bayside Baptist Church was going through some difficult times and the doors threatened to close. A group of brothers and sisters in Christ didn’t want to see that happen. For an entire year they have been traveling to the Mississippi gulf coast every week, bathing the church in prayer and working tirelessly to establish a solid foundation for future ministry. Their hard work is paying off and God is blessing.
Lakeshore Baptist Church and Rebuild Lakeshore has gladly partnered with these efforts by making our bunk house available to their ministry teams. A couple weeks ago they sent a large contingency to do a VBS at Bayside with tremendous results. With over 100 locals in attendance, the week made an amazing impact. Yesterday they baptized 6 new converts to the glory of God.
Please continue to remember Bayside Baptist Church in prayer as they consider a new pastor and join us in praising the Lord for this gospel work.
Katie Smith is a phenomenal young woman. She has traveled to Lakeshore before on a mission trip. This year when her family began planning their vacation, she convinced them to make the Mississippi gulf coast their destination. Along with a swamp tour, time at the beach, and other local attractions, Katie, her sister, and parents spent a good chunk of their “vacation” volunteering here at the Mercy House. What an awesome family! They were a tremendous help and such an encouragement to us. God bless you Katie.
Do you have a family vacation planned for this summer yet? Why not consider the Mississippi gulf coast. We would love to see you!
Men from the North Delta Baptist Association (Mississippi) spent the week with us here in Lakeshore. We enjoyed a great time of fellowship while getting a long list of tasks accomplished around the church property. Among other things they hung some large wall sized mirrors in the baptistery changing rooms and constructed some very helpful shelving in our workshop. My good friend Mike Boren, who serves with me on the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, led the team. These men have been with us here in Lakeshore before and often do mission trips, especially around the state, whenever needed. Its great to be a Mississippi Baptist!
Today we hosted a “Grow Your Own Food” event at the Mercy House. Christian Stephenson, Mississippi State University Hancock County Extension Service agent, gave the main talk. He covered inexpensive ways to create good soil, save money by planting seeds, selecting financially beneficial crops, and other topics related to starting a garden. He answered a host of questions from overcoming tomato blossom end rot, to plant spacing, his favorite tomato varieties, and other things. We also heard from Jennifer O’Banner on the nutritional benefits of eating fresh vegetables from your own garden. Everyone in attendance received a free cook book. I gave a short introductory talk on some of the reasons why I want to promote more gardening in our comunity. I think it was a good event and we hope to do more of these kinds of things in the future.
At the height of our Katrina relief, recovery, and rebuilding efforts we had 6 Quonset huts on the church property. Last week, the final structure came down. We praise God for our long term partners from Cross & Resurrection Church, Ypsilanti, Michigan who worked hard in spite of equipment break-downs, busted water pipes, and other things. It was a great week and we saw wonderful progress.
The complete clean-up continues. We need to finish dismantling the quonset hut platform, move some sheds, take up temporary walkways, dispose of left over random building materials, and several other things. The job is not over. We could sure use a few groups this summer who would be willing to come and get dirty and help bring our long term vision for the bunk house property into sharper focus for the glory of God. Contact us today to plan your mission trip for this summer.
Seven new fruit trees grace the Mercy House property. Today I put in the ground an Owari Satsuma, an Improved Meyer Lemon, a Blood Orange, a Celeste Fig, two Brown Turkey figs my Dad propagated from his tree, and an unknown fig variety I propagated from a cutting off a fig tree in a nearby vacant property. Lord willing, we will eventually harvest fresh fruit, right here off our own property, to share with the community.
The Mercy House, of Lakeshore Baptist Church, in Hancock County MS operates as a benevolence distribution ministry providing food, clothing, and household items to those in need. I pray that this project will also serve as a catalyst and encouragement for future planting endeavors for the glory of God.
And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. (Genesis1:29)
A few of us from Lakeshore traveled to Baton Rouge again this past weekend to assist with the ongoing rebuilding efforts there. This time we came along side one of my daughter’s good friends. Jessica’s house took on water, in fact her house is the picture I used to announce our intention to begin helping. After drying out the house and gutting it, Jessi is doing most of the work, including re-wiring it herself. She passed her electrical inspection this past Wednesday. She is an impressive young woman. We spent Friday and Saturday hanging insulation. Rebuild Lakeshore, from the generous donations of our partners, was able to purchase the insulation materials. We can not thank you all enough! We plan to follow this project through to completion. Pray for Jessi as she tackles this big project. We look forward to the day she can move out of the camper and back into her home.