Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Journey to Lakeshore, Part 5

When I arrived in Lakeshore, I did realize what I was getting myself into. I thought I was going to come for the summer help out in any way I could, then go on from there and get a "real job". I remember a woman from West Virgina talking to me that first summer, asking if I had looked into the US/C2 program through NAMB. Honestly my thoughts at that point were, how can I decide if I want to stay here another 2 years...that is a serious commitment and a long one at that. Two years seemed like forever...what if I decided Lakeshore was too difficult or not for me.
Who would have guessed that the Lord laid it on my heart to stay "a little bit longer." First it was for a semester, then another semester. Then I decided I wanted to grow up a little and make more of a commitment, so I decided to stay for a year...thinking I would leave around June of 2008.

But the Lord got a hold of my heart and turned it totally toward Him and helping at Lakeshore Baptist Church. I went ahead and made the commitment to stay another 2 years as a US/C2 in the Spring of 08. Not seeing it now as a long time...actually now seems very short.

I am into the 8th month of that commitment and June of 2010 seems like it is fast approaching. I am not sure what the Lord's plans for me are after this appointment is over, but it is going to be very hard to leave Lakeshore (if I do) - a place that has become home for me. I can't begin to explain all that the Lord has done in my life while I have been in Lakeshore...that would take another 5-10 days of blog posts. But I'll leave you with this...He's been faithful and merciful, conforming me more into his likeness and has blessed me with a great pastor and church family here in Lakeshore.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My Journey to Lakeshore, Part 4

My second trip to Lakeshore happened in March of 2006, my spring break week. This week was just as much fun and hard work as the first. My love of Lakeshore increased as well as I helped out in the distribution center...seeing the severe need of the people still at that point.
I remember talking to a woman who had just returned to the area after evacuating 9 people and 2 dogs in a minivan just before the storm arrived. They were now living in a tent hoping for a FEMA camper to arrive.

There was a lot happening in the community and through the church that was great. Many folks were being helped with food and clothing as well as help in their homes, putting things back together, but the devastation was still very present all around us.
I hadn't given it as much thought as I do most big descisions in life, but I decided one day to talk with Pastor Don one day and ask him if I could come help out for the summer. I was graduating and hadn't found a job yet, so it would be a great time to do this. He said that would be great. So as soon as I arrived back in Wisconsin I began contacting the North American Mission Board to see what it would take to become a summer missionary.

Plans were made. I graduated May 13, 2006, my sister was married June 10 and I headed toward Lakeshore June 12. Arriving at 9:30pm for what would be one very busy but wonderful summer.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Journey to Lakeshore, Part 3

Preparation for the first trip was somewhat minimal...

In my conversations with Greg London prior to the trip he told us to be self-contained. There were showing facilities and port-a-lets on site. And because we were a small group and the only group that week we were allowed to stay in the quonset hut next to the distribution center. We did have to bring our own food and cook for ourselves, that was not a problem!
So January 9th eleven college students packed into a van a headed toward Lakeshore, about an 18 hour trip. We arrived late in the evening and though it was dark saw nothing but devastation all around us. My heart sank and I was unsure of how to feel.
That week would would spend most of our time on the church property. Some working in the distribution center and some inside the metal church buildings (putting up walls and building stairs). Others worked off site sanding sheetrock at the Ward's home.

It was a joy to meet the people in Lakeshore - Pastor Don, James, Mrs. Bea, Mrs. Lynn. And we were pleased to do anything that needed doing...including delivering sheds that arrived on a semi late at night until some crazy hour in the morning...But it was a privilege to be here in Lakeshore.
We returned from Lakeshore January 14th, but I was already to head back down. I hated to leave, but had to get back to school. Spring break was just around the corner, however, so I worked on planning another trip south...

Monday, January 26, 2009

My Journey to Lakeshore, Part 2

It must have been late November 2005 my Pastor, Jeff Nettles, heard about Lakeshore Baptist Church. Word has it that Jeff heard from another pastor in Wisconsin who'd heard about Lakeshore from a friend in Texas.

November 28, 2005 I received the following email...
Hey folks, I received some emails this morning with more info on the Lakeshore Baptist Church project.

Several churches around the country are helping, and God is at work there! It is exciting to see that we can join in and serve God by blessing our brothers and sisters in great need.

Check out this link to get some more information. Pastor Don Elbourne Jr. write this weblog and you can check out the articles and links.

They've been meeting in a tent the past few weeks and they're hoping for a metal building to be shipped and put up soon.

Lakeshore Baptist will be needing some Christmas help, folks. Be in prayer about that.

Looking back who would have thought "several churches" would amount to over 500 churches in three and a half years, with over 10,000 volunteers coming through Lakeshore Baptist Church.

But that email would be the first of many more emails concerning Lakeshore. This I thought was an answer to my prayers for an opportunity to serve. And quickly resulted in me, with my pastor's assistance, planning a trip to Lakeshore during the university's Christmas break...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Journey to Lakeshore, Part 1

Over the following couple of days I want to write my testimony of Katrina and how I ended up in Lakeshore. A place I am so grateful the Lord brought me, an experience that is like no other, and a church family and community I love.

On August 29, 2005 I never would have thought I would be living in Lakeshore, MS in 2009. I'd never heard of Lakeshore, Waveland, or Bay St. Louis....

I remember the day before the storm was to make landfall, praying the Lord would be glorified through the storm. We knew it was going to be destructive, though I could have never imagined how destructive. I didn't know at that point, but the Lord began to give me a desire to help those who were going to be affect by this storm, the worst storm the United States had ever seen.

A few months went by with the occasional email or notice in church about upcoming disaster relief training and possible trips put on by the Minnesota/Wisconsin Baptist Convention, but as a college student I was unable to get away during the semester. But as the semester went on, my desire to head south became stronger and stronger. I wanted to help, but where to start? And when could I go?

I was watching the news almost everyday to see what was taking place. But midway through the semester most all of the news was coming out of New Orleans, and the stories were beginning to fade out of the news headlines. But my heart was being turned to the gulf coast, so I waited and prayed for an opportunity to come about...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lakeshore Bapitst Temporary Buildings Situation

By now many have heard about the situation that's unfolding here at Lakeshore Baptist Church. For those who haven't heard the Zoning Board had voted to give us until May 31 to take down all our temporary structures on our property, including the volunteer housing, the kitchen, and our metal church building. This would leave us in a tight spot, not being able to house and feed volunteers and leave us without a building to meet for corporate worship.

I will admit when I first heard this it was hard to believe and even harder to swallow, but knowing the Lord is in control and is bigger than any zoning board or government helped me be at peace.

I don't know the outcome of all of this, but the Lord has been faithful. We know that we will continue to worship and spread hope and the gospel to this community, whether the temporary structures are here or not.

Do continue to pray for us at this time. Pray for wisdom, direction, and guidance as we press forward. Pray for my pastor, Don Elbourne, that he'd be guided by the Lord and that he'd continue faithfully preaching the gospel and loving this community devistated by Katrina. And above all things pray the Lord would be glorified in us and this community through this trial - no matter the outcome.

For more updates check out Also check us out in our local news the sea coast echo and wlox

Friday, January 16, 2009

Tiny house nearer to completion

Great things have taken place this week in Lakeshore. We've had about 150 skilled workers that have worked at around 25 different worksites. One place that has been inundated with volunteers this week is my little house, also known as the Missionary House. They have gotten a ton accomplished.

Last week Liz, Jayme, and Allison worked on tiling the house...They did a fabulous job. Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of the tile yet...Lord willing will post them soon.

Volunteers got the electric up and running in the I just need water and I will be set! Well, I guess a bathroom door would help too. There are a few things that need to be done. I came back and found a very percise listing of those things today.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Memorizing the Word of God

Last year Pastor Don introduced the Fighter Verse system to the church and encouraged us to take them home and memorize the Bible verses throughout the week. This year we started another set of Fighter Verses; I am hoping to stick with the memorization all year this year. Allison and I decided that we are going to keep each other accountable to memorizing out verses. So far we are off to a rocky start, but we both acknowledge that and want to improve that.

I was reading a recent sermon from John Piper where he encouraged his congregation to let the Words of Christ dwell in them. He gave personal testimony for why he memorizes scripture and also the testimony of Christ. Dr. Pipers testimony summed up into 8 short sentences.

  1. Memorizing Scripture makes meditation possible at times when I can’t be reading the Bible, and meditation is the pathway of deeper understanding.
  2. Memorizing Scripture strengthens my faith because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ, and that happens when I am hearing the word in my head.
  3. Memorizing Scripture shapes the way I view the world by conforming my mind to God’s viewpoint.
  4. Memorizing Scripture makes God’s word more readily accessible for overcoming temptation to sin, because God’s warnings and promises are the way we conquer the deceitful promises of sin.
  5. Memorizing Scripture guards my mind by making it easier to detect error—and the world is filled with error, since the god of this world is a liar.
  6. Memorizing Scripture enables me to hit the devil in the face with a force he cannot resist, and so protect myself and my family from his assaults.
  7. Memorizing Scripture provides the strongest and sweetest words for ministering to others in need.
  8. Memorizing Scripture provides the matrix for fellowship with Jesus because he talks to me through his word, and I talk to him in prayer.
The rest of Dr. Piper's sermon can be found on the desiring God website

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Resolutions worth keeping

I know I said I do not make New Years resolutions, but a set of resolutions worth taking a look at and keeping are those that Jonathan Edwards penned in the 1720's. Edwards wrote these then read them over once a week to remind himself and examine himself as he strove to know God and glorify Him in every aspect of life.

I intend to look over Edwards 70 resolutions throughout the year as to remind and examine myself. Here are the first 21 resolutions, which Edwards wrote in one sitting in New Haven in 1722

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God' s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.

2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new contrivance and invention to promote the aforementioned things.

3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.

8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God. July 30.

9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances do not hinder.

12. Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.

13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.

14. Resolved, never to do any thing out of revenge.

15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger towards irrational beings.

16. Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.

17. Resolved, that I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

18. Resolved, to live so, at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.

19. Resolved, never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.

20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance, in eating and drinking.

21. Resolved, never to do any thing, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

2009 Bible Reading Plan

I do not make New Years resolutions primarily because they are meant to try to follow, but ultimately break. Any New Years resolution I have made in the past has ended that way. But I do desire to establish a better routine for studying the scripture this year.

Last year I had no plan for scripture reading and realize now how I could have benefited from a scheduled scripture text each day. I still intend to study a couple books of the Bible more in depth this year, but need to read the whole scripture too.

There are many Bible reading plans out there. This year I have chosen to use the plan Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL is using with their church body this year.