U-S Churches are needed to help with Katrina relief

By December 19, 2005

USA (MNN) — As the United States Congress is passing legislation to give relief to home and business owners, the evangelical church is also reaching out to Hurricane Katrina victims. The most damaging hurricane to hit the U-S shores has claimed the lives of more than 1,300 people, but has left hundreds of thousands homeless.

Evangelical Baptist Missions is just one organization that’s coordinating church to church partnerships. EBM’s Gary Goodje say they’re recruiting churches to help the First Baptists Church in New Orleans. “Initially the need is to go down and do what they call in that area, mudding out the houses. These are homes that, for three weeks, submerged in the salt-water, oil, refuse mix. Everything in the house needs to be thrown out. The houses have to have their dry wall torn out. They have to be sanitized, that is get all the mold spores out of the houses.” That’s when the rebuilding can begin.

According to Goodje, there’s a need that’s going to go one for a year or longer. “We desperately need more churches that could say we can spend a week or a weekend down there. We provide a list of equipment they would need. The First Baptist Church is providing house (and) the Salvation Army is providing one meal a day for workers.”

While the physical work is important, Goodge says they need teams that are interested in sharing their faith. “We’re running into people who are downtrodden, brokenhearted, emotionally devastated by what they’ve been through. There’s the physical damage and then there’s the emotional damage, which opens up the door to the spiritual side of people.” That allows volunteers to share Christ.

As the First Baptist Church reaches out, through the many volunteers who help, Goodge says, “We believe this is an opportunity to rebuild New Orleans from ground level and have a great impact in the city for Christ.”

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