Two years ago on August 29, 2021 Hurricane Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana and began its pathway north leaving behind devastation and destruction. Many areas were damaged and some worse than others. One particular place was in the southernmost part of Terrebonne Parish in the areas of Montegut and Pointe-aux-Chenes. I’m not sure that anyone down there was spared from effects of the storm. The day after the storm, August 30, a couple from First Baptist Covington, Gary and Joyce Toups, who love that area of our state and its people immediately made their way to Terrebonne Parish. I’m not sure if they knew it at the time, but what they saw would change their lives and compel them into action. Moved with great compassion, they found a place to set up and hand out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which turned into delivering food and supplies into neighborhoods in Montegut and, when the roads opened, into Pointe-aux-Chenes, where they came into contact with Native American people that have lived for generations in the area. The devastation was overwhelming. They found people living under the remains of their homes depending on tarps and duct tape to keep out the elements of the weather. They found homes that were totally lost and people with no way to rebuild. Underneath it all, they found people that nobody was aware of or paying attention to.
The key to missions is relationships. The key to recovery and rebuild is the desire to do so. When you put these two together, God can do great things. Over the past couple of years the relationships that have been built and the help that has been provided to the Pointe-aux-Chenes area and people has been amazing. Fellow FBCCOV church members and others have been instrumental in getting supplies and people to Pointe-aux-Chenes to help. Loads of food, cleaning supplies, plywood, insulation, toilets, water heaters, mattresses, furniture, and other items have made their way to this area of Louisiana that most people do not even know about. A lot has been done, but much work still exists. There are still families living in FEMA trailers on their property trying to figure out ways to rebuild. In the middle of all this, Gary and Joyce, along with fellow FBCCOV members Brent and Judy Harris started a ministry called Blessed Assurance Ministries. The mission and the ministry is to help rebuild homes in that area of Louisiana. They have purchased and restored a home there to house work teams. They have arranged, not only for a place to stay, but also ways that teams can be fed and sup-plied with most of what they need to do the good work set before them.
What part can you play in the work being done with the Pointe-aux-Chenes people?
- You can PRAY for the people who are in need, for their homes to be restored and for workers that will help that become a reality.
- You can GIVE your time, talent, and resources to this mission.
- You can GO to Terrebonne Parish along with others from our church to help re-build. You can be a skilled or unskilled laborer. BOTH are needed.
Three ways to GO!!
- Go as part of an FBC mission team. Dates will be determined and published.
- Go with your Connect Group. Organize a time that fits your group!
- Go as an individual, as a family, or with friends by contacting Blessed Assurance Ministries directly.
Are you ready to GO? Come hear about this mission in person, or see firsthand what is going on!
- Come to our Rebuild Pointe-aux-Chene information meeting on Sunday, October 1 at 3:00pm in Room W412 at the church. We are forming FBC teams now with tentative dates.
- Schedule a time with the folks from Blessed Assurance Ministries to drive down and check things out. The people of Blessed Assurance Ministries are constantly in Pointe-aux-Chenes and can accommodate you. Contact Joyce Toups at 985 302-2824 or email at Blessedassurancems@att.net.
One of the things that I love about mission trips is how they bring people together. I think it is because for a short period of time you take a group of people (11 on this trip) that no matter their age, income, likes, dislikes, etc., they are united because of the mission and because of the gospel. The gospel does that. It brings people together, unifies them, and leads them sometimes into places they never thought they would go. This time it was to Uganda, a place familiar to our church, but not very familiar with our team. While there the team worked with three well established ministry partners:
African Hearts Uganda: a ministry dedicated to rescuing children from one of the slums in Kampala; providing healthy transition from the streets and into school. Our team was able to experience the full process of the ministry and how God is using faithful people to serve very broken children. Our team was allowed to observe, learn about, and work in every step of the rescue process. We toured and did ministry work in the middle of a slum where everyone who lives there are vulnerable to the elements, drugs, and violence, especially the children who are alone. Next we spent time in two transition homes, one for boys and one for girls, designed to help rescued children feel safe, wanted, and valuable because of the love of dedicated believers. Our team was able to interact and hear the stories of the children. All of them had been physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. But everyone on the team could see how the love and care of Jesus Christ had begun to wash away the despair, filth, and hopelessness of the slum and replace those with joy, purpose, and hope only found in Him.
Hope Shine Uganda: a ministry that seeks to help vulnerable mothers and their children by sharing the love of Christ through Christian training, vocational training, prenatal care, postnatal care, and food distribution. The team was able to see, understand, and experience how the ministry makes such a difference in the lives of women and children. We heard testimony of how training and needed care can lift them out of desperate conditions and elevate them toward self-sustainability. We were able to openly share the gospel with them through testimony and preaching and distribute food to hundreds of women on a very rainy day.
Passion Christian Ministries: While serving with PCM our team was able to worship with their church, serve in their school, and visit a somewhat distant rural village to work in a malnutrition clinic that sought to identify at risk children and get them the medical help they needed. A good portion of our work with this ministry was dedicated to the malnutrition clinic both in the rural village and in PCM’s clinic back in the city. The babies that were identified for help were sick, fragile, and visibly unhealthy. Their moms were afraid but hopeful. Our team worked directly with the kids preparing them for the days ahead of healing and restoration. We worked with the moms giving them the opportunity to hear and respond to the good news of Jesus. It was beautiful to see all members of our team from youngest to oldest sharing their faith in Christ.