This past week, a team from our church along with several other churches ministered as part of the Rebuild Lakeshore. For those of you may not be familiar with Rebuild Lakeshore, Don Elbourne is pastor of a church whose community (and church buildings) were completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Since then, Don and his church have committed themselves to rebuilding not only the church buildings but also the homes of people in their community. Since Katrina, Lakeshore Baptist Church in Waveland, Mississippi has hosted hundreds of volunteer teams from across the country with a long-term commitment to loving their neighbor by helping rebuild lives by rebuilding homes.
I write this post to request prayer on behalf of Don, the project leadership team, and the entire church because it appears that the County Planning and Zoning Commission is seeking to pass a resolution that would virtually stop all future efforts to minister in the community after May of this year. While there have been various groups who have come and gone from this area, Lakeshore has remained faithfully committed to the task of bring hope to the destitute and a helping hand to those who have no where else to turn. Years after Katrina, still there are folks living in tents or practically homeless.
I don’t know all the rationale of the County Commission, but I struggle to hold back the frustration and confusion of preventing the rebuilding of lives and homes of people who have lost everything. Instead of placing their hand on a love-motivated shovel, they are placing it on a law-making pen in pursuit of taking the very privilege (and responsibility) of caring for the needy away from those who are bearing the burden and seeking to be a blessing. If there ever was a needed time of cooperation seeking the good of the people, surely it is now.
Apparently, the proposed resolution must first be approved by a Board of Supervisors before it goes into effect. If it does, Lakeshore Baptist will have until May 31 to shut down the operation which began the day after Katrina devastated literally everything. If this happens, it will be a tragedy for the people of Hancock County and a serious handicap to future volunteer work among people whose hearts are big but whose hands will be tied.
Please join me in praying for this situation, especially for the opportunity for Rebuild Lakeshore to work out an agreement with the County Commission that will enable them to continue the work in their community. May God who defends the destitute and oppressed be gracious and turn the hearts of politicians to the cause of loving their neighbor than writing a new law.
Here’s a video giving a glimpse into the realities they see every day: