Rolling Hills Church and their work in Lakeshore made the local newspaper in Platteville Wisconsin. I posted about their first trip. Their Pastor, Jeff Nettles accompanied them on their second visit along with a fellow Wisconsin pastor, Jeff Skinner. One of their church members, Jamie Dunbar, plans to spend the summer with us as a NAMB intern.
Little Church doing Big Work!
Rolling Hills Spring Break trip to Lakeshore, MS
~ Jeff Nettles and Jamie Dunbar
A Spring Break trip to Lakeshore, MS proved to be a humbling trip and a learning experience for a team of 20 from Rolling Hills Church and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. This was the second trip for some (a team went from RHC in January), the first for most of the team – and it was overwhelming. Those who had been down in January noticed progress; but the woods are still full of debris, storm-drowned cars litter the roadsides, and piles of rubble are all that remain of most houses. It has been over six months since hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, but restoration work along the Gulf still has a long way to go. Most people in Lakeshore have no idea when they will get back into a house. The primary family dwelling is a still FEMA trailer. 100 to 300 people per day still come to the distribution center at the church to get food, clothing, and other necessities; yet Lakeshore Baptist Church is doing what they can to help.
Work for the Platteville team began right after church Sunday, setting up cots for a team from Georgia. Monday morning teams formed for work in homes and at the church site. Some teams laid flooring, some painted, and some wired a house; others hung doors, worked sheet rock, and built a deck. A few workers cleared an area where the new church office will go. Others worked inside the distribution center stocking shelves and helping families find supplies. Water deliveries were unloaded periodically during the week. All these jobs were completed while competing with biting gnats, which were in abundance morning and evening!
There was never a lack of work. When a team finished one job there was always another, with one option being a trip to the sawmill. The portable sawmill, donated by a church in California, allowed teams picked up logs 16 inches or more in diameter at the dump and take them to the mill where a group steadily milled out much-needed lumber.
Lakeshore Baptist Church is diligently helping their community recover from the storm. As Pastor Don Elbourne of LBC talked about Katrina Wednesday evening, his love for his congregation and community was very evident to the teams from Georgia, California and Wisconsin. Pastor Elbourne, who has led LBC for 11 years, has been at the church site continually since the storm hit. He works from a camper on site, getting home to his family a few nights a week, yet he labors on without complaint. So do many others. Lakeshore Baptist is functioning as church office, benevolence headquarters, and general contracting center of operations – literally a funnel for grace and help to the community at large, and the center of activity in town. The church meets in a metal Quonset hut for now; they will eventually build a permanent structure, but their priority is people. They are working on homes of members and non-members while receiving, organizing and stocking goods for the distribution center. The love of Christ is very evident in all of this labor and in the giving and receiving.
While the media has largely moved past Katrina, Christians from all over the country are still coming to serve and help those who lost it all. This encourages the Lakeshore residents and strengthens their hope for the future.
The Spring Break volunteers from Rolling Hills and InterVarsity will not forget this trip or those precious people. Helping a little church serve their town is big work and good work! Working with people who have nothing also puts life and possessions into perspective. Rolling Hills will continue to help Lakeshore over the next two years.