METAIRIE— On the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Ida made landfall along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana leaving more than a million without power, homes destroyed, and essential services brought to a halt.
Recovery could take weeks and even months, but during it all, Florida Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers have stepped up to help and bring the hope of Jesus to the hurting people of Louisiana.
On Labor Day weekend, volunteers deployed to Metairie, Louisiana—a suburb of New Orleans– to assist with cleanup and recovery from Hurricane Ida. The FLDR command center is stationed at Metairie Baptist Church.
Since their arrival, four persons accepted Christ as Savior. “We have had four professions of faith so far,” said David Coggins, state director, Florida Baptist Disaster Relief. “Two of the new believers were drivers picking up a piece of equipment and one of our logistics volunteers led them to the Lord.”
The group of 80 to 100 volunteers staffing the command center have more than 200 job requests. The jobs are primarily chainsaw and temporary roofing, and a few floods recovery, said Coggins. During their first week on the ground the teams assessed the damage and completed 30 jobs.
The requests for help are sent to the FLDR volunteers from the Louisiana Incident Command call line, from a public number that has been published on Metairie Baptist Church’s website and social media, the community is walking in and “we have a contact with a pastor in St. Rose, LA that is taking work orders there in his community and passing them along to us,” said Coggins.
“In October 2018 Hurricane Michael devastated the Panhandle of Florida and cut a swath north across Georgia and Alabama,” said Coggins. “Southern Baptist disaster response teams from across the country came to Florida to help us in our time of need.”
“Then last year, Hurricane Sally tore through Pensacola. And again, Southern Baptist DR partners came to help with the recovery,” he continued.
“That’s who we are. When our folks need help, and its beyond our state’s capabilities, they come. And when other state convention’s disaster relief teams are limited, it’s our turn to go help them like they did for us,” Coggins said.
“Our desire is to be right beside those who need help, hope and healing.”