The First Baptist Church of Buford, Georgia, is here this week, working in St. Bernard Parish, staying in Hopeview Church, helping to construct the new FBC of Chalmette. Mike Rhodes, a former leader of our Kenner church, now belongs to the Buford congregation along with wife Pam and daughter Molly.
Susan, a member of the Buford team, visited our associational offices today (Monday) and said the folks back home are clamoring to be part of the next trip. She is one enthusiastic lady–and this is after her second night sleeping on a foam pad on the church floor! We are delighted these folks are here and we welcome them. (see below for Tuesday’s encouraging update.)
Monday we officially welcomed part of our new Baptist collegiate ministry team which will be working on our local campuses. Corey Olivier has the overall responsibility and came by with Kevin, who will guide the BCM work at Delgado, and Ben, who will spearhead the UNO ministry. Corey is full-time and will work out of the Tulane Center, while all the others will be interns while they’re pursuing seminary degrees. We appreciate the support of Dr. David Hankins and Student Ministries director Mark Robinson of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.
We’re always glad to get good news anywhere it can be found. The front page of Monday’s Times-Picayune announces the rebirth of the Eastover community in New Orleans East. This is an expensive part of town and the 225 homes of Eastover lie inside a high fence with entrances gated.
After the hurricane’s floodwaters receded, residents returned to find the area looking like a bomb had gone off. Authorities say from 6 to 10 feet of water covered this area for weeks.
Today, 87 of the homes are occupied and 81 are being repaired. The other 25 percent have been gutted with a single exception (the owners are still waiting on their insurance).
The paper says some gutted out houses in that section were sold as-is, meaning someone bought them for about one-half their pre-Katrina rate. The house at 5941 Doral Court sold for $750,000–which tells you the kind of ritzy neighborhood this is.
Prior to the storm, the Eastover golf course boasted 36 holes. These days, they have just about rebuilt the front nine holes. Another 9 holes are being converted into garden homes which will range in price from $325,000 to $415,000.
The city says some 218 businesses are up and running in East New Orleans. That’s not many, but it’s a far sight better than none.
Gradually, we’re coming back. Thanks to all who are helping.
TUESDAY UPDATE on the folks from FBC Buford, Georgia. I spoke with Mike Rhodes Tuesday afternoon and learned they are working on the Hopeview Church (in St. Bernard Parish) where they are also staying, installing the plumbing and electrical wiring. This is where we will host groups coming to build the “new” FBC of Chalmette.
Mike had a great story to tell.
On Monday, Susan had said the Georgia folks were bringing in a lot of clothing to give away. Not just any clothing, though, she emphasized. Some of the dry cleaners in their area heard that they were headed down this way and donated all their unclaimed clothes, items that people had brought in and forgot. So, Susan said, it’s all great stuff and it’s dry cleaned and in bags.
Mike Rhodes told how some of the members of their group went to a grocery store in St. Bernard and stood out front passing out fliers telling of the clothing giveaway one day this week. “As they were talking to people,” he said, “They led two people to Christ!” That was good, but it gets better.
One lady was interested but her husband showed no interest in spiritual things at all. When the Georgians asked the woman how they could help her, she said, “Put my furniture in my house.” She had purchased new furniture from some store in this area and it had been delivered. However, the delivery people said they were not required to bring it into the house, so they dumped it on the front lawn. Yesterday afternoon, the Buford folks spent an hour carrying her furniture into the house and helping her position it. And as a result of their kind help and sweet friendly spirit, the husband softened his heart and he prayed to receive Christ, too.
That’s how it’s done. How does that line go–“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”