Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are headed to Leesville, Louisiana, to assist in cleanup efforts following Hurricane Laura.
Two ABDR chainsaw teams will work alongside South Carolina Disaster Relief to help in the Leesville area, according to Mark Wakefield, disaster relief strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. Leesville is located in south central Louisiana, about 70 miles north of Lake Charles.
Additionally, two Alabama Baptist volunteers will help with cooking for volunteers. ABDR also is providing a shower unit with three volunteers and two skid steers with operators.
All Alabama teams and volunteers should be considered “on alert” for possible deployment to areas affected by Hurricane Laura, according to an ABDR Facebook post.
Wakefield said Alabama Baptists have offered other assistance in Louisiana, and that ABDR will “help however we can.” Wakefield said he expects more volunteers will be needed in the coming weeks due to the hot and humid conditions combined with COVID-19 precautions that are in place.
Hurricane Laura made landfall Aug. 27 along the Louisiana-Texas state line as a Category 4 storm, causing flooding, downed trees and power outages in Louisiana, as well as in several other states.
Several deaths are attributed to Hurricane Laura, including that of James Cart, pastor of First Baptist Church in Iota, Louisiana.
Cart, 68, died late Wednesday when a tree fell and struck his home north of Iota, the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s reported.
“We are heartbroken to learn of Pastor Cart’s death,” Steve Horn, executive director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, told the Baptist Message. “We urge all Louisiana Baptists to pray for his family and his church family.”
Bert Langley, director of missions for Acadia Baptist Association, said Cart was a man who loved to tell others about the love of Christ.
“He came back to pastor in the town he grew up in,” Landley said. “He loved his wife and family. He loved people. He loved his church. He will be missed by all who knew him.”
Several Louisiana Baptist churches sustained damage from the storm, according to a report from the Louisiana Baptist Convention:
- First Baptist Church in Gillis lost awning and the door on the education building was damaged.
- Pine Hill Baptist Church in Leesville sustained damage to its roof and had a few broken windows.
- A tree fell onto Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Pitkin, and caused extensive damage to the building.
- The steeple at East Ridge Baptist Church in Lake Charles came off its building and entered the roof. Glass also was blown out and metal carports were destroyed.
- A section of the roof of the main building on the Emmanuel Baptist Church, Lake Charles, was ripped off by high winds.
- Trinity Baptist Church, Lake Charles, suffered moderate damage to the roof, light flooding and windows. A number of trees were uprooted as well.
- East Ridge Baptist Church, Lake Charles, lost its steeple.
- The roof at the McNeese State University Baptist Collegiate Ministry building was damaged, and the structure lost some siding.
- Two trees fell on the roof of Comrade Baptist Church, Simpson, causing damage also to the worship center interior.
- Winds blew the roof off the education space and worship center at Pine Hill Baptist Church, Leesville.
- Good Hope Baptist Church, Anacoco, lost siding from its building.
- The worship center at the First Baptist Church, Sulphur, lost some roofing which also caused some interior damage. A stained glass window inside the facility and the family life center also were damaged.
- High wind blew out a wall in the worship center of the First Baptist Church, Lake Charles.
- The roof and steeple were damaged at the First Baptist Church, Vinton.
- A tree fell on the parsonage of the First Baptist Church, Basile.
- A tree was blown down on the front lawn of the parsonage property of First Baptist Church, Winnsboro.
- High winds blew off the sign at Salem Baptist Church, Stonewall.
- Louisiana College experienced a number of downed trees around the campus, but no damage to facilities has been noted.
How to help
Anyone wishing to help with relief efforts in Louisiana may contribute through Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief. ABDR will be working with state convention partners in affected states as they minister to people in the weeks and months ahead.
Funds given through ABDR will be used only for relief efforts to help people. None of the funds are used for administrative or overhead purposes.
To give online, go to sbdr.org. Donations by check may be mailed to:
Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions
P.O. Box 681970
Prattville, AL 36068-1970
for: “Hurricane Relief”
Please note: Churches are asked to make their donations by check rather than by credit card in order to maintain the accuracy of church giving reports. Individuals may choose to donate online or by check as described above.
(Compiled from news reports)