Hurricane Isaac didn’t pack the devastating punch that Katrina brought to the Gulf Coast in 2005. That fall, cable news brought us images of desperation and a deep concern for those who lost an entire way of life, and even life itself. But what happens when Gulf Coast residents suffer when a nation isn’t watching? What happens when residents lose their way of life no matter at what destruction category the storm registers?
Terry Ellis, pastor of Broadmoor Baptist Church in LaPlace, La., and his congregation are working to answer these questions and have begun the short-term work of providing food and water to LaPlace residents affected by the hurricane. Ellis says the immediate needs include sustenance and shelter but that he and other mission teams are there long-term to renew and rebuild.
“I was in LaPlace this past Monday, handing out food and water to people affected by the hurricane,” Ellis said. “It was hot. It was busy. And the need in this state will go on for many years as we help rebuild. But most importantly, it was a blessing to me and the other folks from Broadmoor to channel our compassion through our work in LaPlace with CBF Louisiana and other partners.”
The tendency, Ellis said, is to ignore the need for relief when commercial areas remain intact after hurricanes. Indeed, the commercial areas of LaPlace were relatively untouched by Hurricane Isaac, but those who travel a little further up small bayous and dirt roads find a different picture. While expensive buildings and homes weathered the storm through lofted construction, more meager homes were completely destroyed or swept away. Moreover, these folks generally lack insurance and resources to rebuild, Ellis said.
“Like all natural disasters, Hurricane Isaac hurt worst the people in our society with the fewest resources,” Ellis said. “Damage from the wind and water is not as obvious as with other storms until you get to the places where the poorest lived. Uninsured houses are gone and thousands of people will feel the damage for years to come. But God wants to use you as an agent of grace to hurting people. God wants you to give your time to help those in need.”
The Broadmoor congregation along with CBF Louisiana is calling for financial gifts to CBF Disaster Response as well as mission teams to aid LaPlace residents still reeling from the storm. Teams will experience safe, clean, air conditioned lodging, showers and meals, with separate accommodations for men and women, and meaningful fellowship with others who desire to be the presence of Christ in this hurting world. Those interested in on-site work in LaPlace, may contact Reid Doster, Coordinator of CBF Louisiana, at email@example.com or go to CBF Louisiana.