From Fred Malone (Pastor of First Baptist Church, Clinton, LA)
Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God (2 Corinthians 8:1-5).
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita have changed the lives of hundreds of thousands in Louisiana and Mississippi. Five months later, thousands still live in motel rooms, tents on their property, FEMA trailers, and crowded homes with relatives. They wander in a wilderness of confusion, displacement, and uncertain futures.
However, there are reports of encouragement and faith in the midst of such tragedy. FBC has acted as a clearing house for gifts and help to ten churches of grace sorely affected by the hurricanes. We have received over $400,000 for distribution to the affected churches and other individuals in need. Most of these funds have come from reformed Baptist churches (ARBCA, Founders-friendly) and individuals who know us. We have distributed over $260,000 of these funds to date, holding some $140,000 in reserve for ongoing needs.
Further, we have placed many work teams in contact with these churches which needed clean-up, reconstruction, and just plain encouragement from brethren. Some have ongoing needs of work teams and funds.
It has been a privilege to serve the givers and the receivers in this endeavor, led by Elder Mitch Axsom in his sacrificial labors to find the needs and to visit the fields.
The following is a report of how funds have been distributed thus far:
- Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, Ponchatoula, LA – $3,000 for cleanup and benevolence to members and evacuees.
- Lakeshore Baptist Church, Lakeshore, MS – $63,982 for purchase and construction of a steel building for worship, bathrooms, pastoral support, member benevolence, etc.
- Sovereign Grace Fellowship, Slidell, LA – $31,850 for pastoral support, reconstruction, a van for church outreach, member benevolence.
- Grace Church, Cutoff, LA – $3,000 for reconstruction and home repairs.
- FBC of Algiers, LA – $18,000 for relocation to Baton Rouge, continued radio ministry, and pastoral support.
- Crossroads Baptist Church, Escatawpa, MS – $22,500 for pastoral support, member benevolence, reconstruction, etc.
- Crossroads Baptist Church, Wiggins, MS – $9,000 for pastoral support, reconstruction, member benevolence, medical needs, etc.
- FIRE Hurricane Relief Fund – $5,000 to churches helped by FIRE.
- Bayou Baptist Church, Slidell, LA – $53,500 for pastoral support, member benevolence, and materials to reconstruct church interior.
- Heritage Baptist Church, Lake Charles, LA – $7,500 for pastoral support, church repair.
- Audubon Bible Church, Laurel, MS – $3,000 for cleanup and repairs.
- Elliott Baptist Church, Elliott, MS – $2,000 for benevolent help to hurricane evacuees.
- Emmanuel Baptist Church of Faith, Biloxi, MS – $21,500 for pastoral support and materials to repair the church interior.
Other funds have been distributed for Bible distribution, individuals in need, etc.
I have been reminded continually of 2 Corinthians 8 where Paul commends the Macedonians for sacrificial giving to the poor saints in Jerusalem. They begged for the opportunity to give because they first gave themselves to the Lord. Such a spirit has been manifested in this benevolent endeavor by all who gave. To God be the glory!
Pastor Malone, Pastor
December 19, 2005 from Fred Malone (Pastor of First Baptist Church, Clinton, LA)
We have created two funds to handle the gifts that have been sent by churches and individuals around the country. The two funds are named the Hurricane Relief Fund and the Hurricane Benevolence Fund.
The Hurricane Relief Fund is for Grace churches in the area, for their pastors whose congregations have lost income and therefore cannot meet their pastor’s needs, for members of those churches and especially widows whose families are not picking up the slack, and funds for the rebuilding of those church structures.
The Hurricane Benevolence Fund is for all other needs that do not fall under the previous fund guidlines. These fund have gone particularly to individuals who have lost their homes in New Orleans who have come across our path, and for churches who might not be considered Grace churches, but definitely fall under the heading of Evangelical churches.
Now for some specifics on how the funds have been used in each of these funds.
The Hurricane Relief Fund as of 12/01/05 has received approximately $360,000 and we have disbursed $220,000. These funds have been designated in the following ways when given to Grace churches of which we had located 10 in the area:
- Funds given to those churches to disburse according to the needs of the pastor, the members, and the building.
- Because we found that the pastors would exclude themselves, we have been designating funds to go directly to pastors in some churches.
- Some funds have been designated to go directly to church members and in some cases, directly to certain needy widows.
- Some funds have been designated to go directly to known building needs in re-establishing the structures.
After our initial disbursements to the 10 churches, we found that 3 particular churches would have ongoing needs because they were not as well networked:
- Crossroads Baptist Church, Escatawpa, MS; Manuel Seymour, Pastor —We are currently providing a monthly income for Manuel until the end of the year and then we will reassess this. Other funds have gone for their building and for individuals in that congregation.
- Lakeshore Baptist Church, Lakeshore, MS; Don Elbourne, Pastor — We are currently helping them with $25,000 for a metal building on a concrete slab with bathrooms to use as a meeting room until they rebuild a Sanctuary Building (the metal building’s cost was $23,000). The bathrooms having to be ADA approved will be an expense that we are considering. A church in FL is sending $10,000 to be used on this project which will go to the slab and if anything is left over, to the bathrooms. We will add to this amount such funds as are needed to finish the project. Another church has told them that they will be providing the pews. A brother from Grace Bible Church in Canton GA, Greg London, is coordinating this building effort. We have sent funds for the pastor and for the members, nearly all of whom have lost their homes and jobs. This church is now acting as a distribution center for the whole area with about 300 cars coming through per day. Many in the community are being affected by their ministry. Water is still precious there and wells have not yet been approved.
- Bayou Baptist Church, Slidell, MS; Frank Treme, Pastor — We have disbursed to them$35,000 to assist in rebuilding. They had to gut their building. They have also received funds for the pastor and for the members.
We are seeking to monitor these churches on a regular basis and we are keeping our eyes and ears open for needs among the other Grace churches in the area.
As for the Hurricane Benevolence Fund, we have received $28,195.35 thus far and have disbursed $22,785.49. We have sent funds to 5 families and/or persons who lost their homes in New Orleans. Funds have been disbursed to help other relief centers such as the Waterfront Mission in Mobile who had a better knowledge of needs along the Mississippi and Alabama coasts. We found a church in Biloxi, Emmanuel Baptist Church of Faith that had received 8 feet of floodwaters from Katrina but their insurance would only cover the roof. We gave $10,000 for them to begin to purchase sheetrock, carpet, and other items that were destroyed. We also gave a gift directly to the pastor,Alvin Cook for his own needs. My wife and I had the privilege of handing these checks to him. Only the Lord knows how he wept in our presence. He had prayed for two months for the funds. By the way, everything lower than the line that Pastor Cook is pointing to had to be torn out along with the insulation. I must mention that all ofthe above is related to needs which were caused by Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Rita devastated much of the Louisiana coastline leaving only the water tower in some communities. We have sent funds to the Heritage Baptist Church of Lake Charles; Don McKinney, Pastor. Funds were disbursed from the Hurricane Relief Fund for this assembly.
I also mentioned to you that all funds that we receive go directly to the relief efforts. Our members are all volunteer and we delight in the privilege of working directly with these needs on behalf of churches from Rhode Island, Maine, Oregon, California, British Columbia, and even from Australia.
All funds are overseen by the officers of the First Baptist Church of Clinton, LA; Dr. Fred Malone,Pastor. We request that any funds that are given be designated to one or both of these two funds.
Fred Malone, Pastor,
Mitch Axsom, Elder
October 3, 2005 from Fred Malone (Pastor of First Baptist Church, Clinton, LA)
We are glad to report that your generous gifts for our Hurricane Relief Fund are being used with great benefit. We have received the amazing sum of over $185,000 to date and have already distributed almost $50,000 to the 10 churches we have targeted. For the past week we have been in touch with most of the 10 churches and have found out more about their specific needs. Our elder-elect, Mitch Axsom, has been our “point man” to travel to meet with pastors and to see the church needs first hand.
- As a result, we have narrowed down the most needy churches who do not have a broader support network from other reformed churches. These three are Crossroads Baptist Church, Escatawpa, MS; Lakeshore Baptist Church, Lakeshore, MS; and Bayou Baptist Church, Slidell, LA. All three have “grace pastors.” Crossroads Baptist has several families with significant storm damage to homes as well as church building damage. Bayou Baptist has significant church building damage and several members with home damage. Lakeshore Baptist is the worst we have found. Most members have lost their homes, their jobs, and their church building was completely destroyed. In this next week we will be distributing almost $30,000 more to these three churches for pastoral support and member benevolence needs. Also, we are trying to trace down a portable doublewide church sanctuary for Lakeshore Baptist. We are not sure of the cost for this as yet. We will keep in touch with the other 7 churches for needs which arise as well.
- We are holding off a bit on gifts for church building repairs to see what insurance will cover. There is much controversy over this right now since the insurance companies will pay for hurricane wind damage but not for flood damage from the hurricane. They are arguing that flood damage requires separate insurance coverage, even from a hurricane. Please pray about this. After we get information on insurance coverage, we will distribute needed funds for church repairs.
- Many of you have asked about sending “work teams” to help. Heritage Baptist Church in Mansfield, Texas, is sending 21 workers Oct. 6-8 to help Lakeshore Baptist Church. Two other churches are planning to send teams as well. This church will need work teams for some time to come. Our deacon coordinator for work teams, Glenn King, can be contacted through email. He can direct you to needy spots. Bayou Baptist Church in Slidell is tearing out its interior from flood damage and will need teams to help in repair for the next several weeks. Crossroads Baptist needs work teams for general repair to homes and the sanctuary as well. Please contact Glenn King for direction and planning. Be sure to bring facemasks, rubber boots, gloves, etc., when you plan to come. Health risks due to contaminated mud and mold are factors to prepare for.
- Mitch Axsom and three others made a trip to the SW Louisiana area of Abbeville right after Rita. The following is his report of that area:
“From the rising of the sun to its setting The name of the LORD is to be praised” (Psalm 113:3 NASB).
On Saturday, September 24, Hurricane Rita, struck Louisiana and Texas. This is just 26 days after Hurricane Katrina damaged 90,000 square miles of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama landscapes. Rita flooded much of the Louisiana coast before entering into Texas, toppling many forests and homes in its wake. We are thankful to say that the death toll was much less, but many were left homeless and without basic services. “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness” (Lam 3:22-23 KJV)
FBC Clinton had recently received a number of first response boxes. These were filled with large zip-locked bags packed with essential toiletries which would be needed just after a flood. These items would have been perfect to distribute just after Katrina struck, but at this time we were finding more who were asking for work crews. The day after Rita flooded the Louisiana coast, we knew where these items needed to go. On Monday, 4 of the Clinton FBC left for Abbeville, Louisiana, about 80 miles from Clinton. We traveled to the south part of town and found sights such as you see below:
We traveled in front of this farmhouse and passed out essential items, food, and a gospel letter to families along this road. Eventually, we found a farm family who had helped in distribution of goods for H. Katrina. This family, Allen and Laura McLain, said that they would pass out the remaining supplies and letters to families trapped beyond the point pictured. We called the McLain home on Wed. Sept 28 to find out that 70% of the items had gone to people who lived in trailers and who had lost all of their possessions. They were very glad to get the supplies and the letter. Mrs. McLain said that the remaining 30% of the supplies were going to be picked up on Thursday.
We thank the Lord for the privilege of getting to help people made in the image of God with food, possessions, and with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As you can see from this report, there is still much to do. We are trying to be good stewards of your gifts for Hurricane Relief. Please continue to pray for the believers who are giving a good testimony of trusting the Lord in such a trial. They are witnessing and ministering to others as they recover. We pray that many will come into the Kingdom as a result of their witness. Thanks again and God bless.
Love in Christ,
September 5, 2005 from Sovereign Grace Fellowship, Slidell, LA
One of the churches hard hit by the storm was Sovereign Grace Fellowship in Slidell, LA. Eddie Exposito, one of the pastors, has a blog where he is posting comments about their needs and ministry.
September 2, 2005 from Fred Malone (Pastor of First Baptist Church, Clinton, LA)
We just found out that the Red Cross has arrived in Slidell and has blocked roads leading to Heritage Park. We are not sure who they will let in. They have turned away some of our help. Until further notice, the best way to help is to send funds. We will update on the situation as we find out what to do.
September 2, 2005 from Fred Malone (Pastor of First Baptist Church, Clinton, LA)
Just to let you know of needs here in Louisiana. We are OK in Clinton. However, our church has set up a “Hurricane Relief Fund” to help Founders-Friendly churches here in South Louisiana. Also, Slidell, Louisiana, has no Red Cross and is completely devastated. They are in need of medical supplies (people are ill and dying in open parks), food, water, ice, gasoline, everything. There are no communications in Slidell. Our church people are going over with supplies, taking chain saws to work, and helping as they can. There is no gasoline in Slidell either, so our people are filling up in Baton Rouge before going.
We mostly need benevolent funds to use in our efforts to provide help. We could also use some more workers, but I must warn that there are no accomodations down here and no gasoline. Anyone who comes would need to take that into consideration. Workers will have to fend for themselves. We can accomodate some at the church who want to drive back and forth (we are only 1 1/2 hours from Slidell). A citizens Command Center has been established in Heritage Park in Slidell where we can meet and coordinate our efforts to help. Most of Slidell is still under water, so there is only one way in. Here are directions if you plan to come:
- Take I-55 from Jackson
- Take I-12 from Hammond toward Slidell
- Take the Airport Drive exit, turn right and go to the dead end
- Turn left at the dead end onto 190 and go 3 miles
- Turn right on Maris Sellas St (car wash at the intersection)
- Go to dead end and turn left
- Cross over several RR tracks and continue until the next big intersection (no street signs)
- Turn right at the big intersection and Heritage Park will be down the street
If you are interested in coming to work, please contact Fred Malone or call him at 225-719-0765.
If you wish to give to the relief effort, you can send your funds directly to First Baptist Clinton, P.O. Box 552, Clinton, LA 70722 (Make checks out to “First Baptist Church” and designate the money for “Hurricane Relief Fund” or “Slidell Relief”).
You can also give to the relief effort by sending funds to:
PO Box 150931
Cape Coral, FL 33915
You can send your tax-deductible single donation by credit card through Founders Ministries by clicking the button below.
We will provide more updates as they become available.
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