[PHOTO GALLERY] Hurricane Laura destroys, Arkansas Baptists respond

This article was written by the Association of State Baptist Publications

Hurricane Laura ripped through the city of Lake Charles, Louisiana, on Aug. 27 with winds of up to 150 mph. Two weeks after Hurricane Laura ravaged the area, Chad Gilbert, community and missions pastor for Trinity Baptist Church there, said, “There’s a desperation that’s in the air for everybody. It’s catastrophic.”

Soon after Hurricane Laura unleashed its destructive fury, Arkansas Baptist disaster relief volunteers responded with tangible expressions of God’s compassion. At the Incident Command Center set up at Trinity, Arkansas Baptist DR volunteer Jimmy Blackford served as the “white hat,” directing the center’s massive relief efforts. 

Southern Baptist volunteers from multiple states have joined forces with Arkansas Baptists in the anticipated long-term relief effort in Louisiana. From the roar of the chainsaw to the aroma of food being prepared to the sight of yellow T-shirts and hats, Louisiana residents are experiencing God’s love through the selfless actions of Arkansas Baptist DR volunteers.

Editor’s note: If your church would consider partnering with a Louisiana Baptist church that was damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Laura, find more information here. If you would like to get connected or give to Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief, click here.

Photo 1:
Don Settles, associational director of missions for Current-Gaines Baptist Association, missed his 60th wedding anniversary to serve with Arkansas Baptist DR in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in mid-September. The people his team helped “don’t get to pick when there’s a disaster,” he said. “You don’t get to choose when you’ll need help.” Photo by Susan Stevens/Courtesy of Association of State Baptist Publications
Photo 2:
Members of the DR kitchen crew from Current-Gaines Baptist Association prepare hamburgers to be distributed to the community at Trinity Baptist Church, the Southern Baptist DR hub in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Photo by Susan Stevens/ Courtesy of Association of State Baptist Publications
Photo 3:
As cleanup crews worked in Lake Charles, Louisiana, the DR kitchen crew from Current-Gaines Baptist Association prepared meals to be delivered to the community by the American Red Cross and served in the drive-through meal line at Trinity Baptist Church in the city of about 78,000. Photo by Susan Stevens/ Courtesy of Association of State Baptist Publications
AR DR Photo 4:
Men from First Baptist Church of Marion and Indian Springs Baptist Church in Bryant use a pulley system to remove debris from a yard damaged by Hurricane Laura in Sulphur, Louisiana. DR volunteers are: (L to R) David Kausler of FBC, Marion; Don Byram of Indian Springs, Bryant; Greg Foust of FBC, Marion; John Roberts of Indian Springs, Bryant; Dale Mayfield of Indian Springs, Bryant; John Craig of Indian Springs, Bryant; and “others.” 
Photo 5:
Arkansas Baptist Jimmy Blackford has volunteered in DR efforts since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He has seen many people who experience disaster begin to lose hope. DR volunteers, he believes, provide hope and find opportunities to share the gospel as they meet disaster victims’ practical needs. Photo by Susan Stevens/ Courtesy of Association of State Baptist Publications
AR DR Photo 6:
DR volunteer Mark D. Hamner of First Baptist Church in Brinkley cuts up a tree at a home in Sulphur, Louisiana, that was brought down by Hurricane Laura. Photo by Susan Stevens/ Courtesy of Association of State Baptist Publications
AR DR Photo 7:
DR volunteer Mark D. Hamner of First Baptist Church in Brinkley takes a much-needed break after his chainsaw work in relief efforts following Hurricane Laura’s assault on Louisiana. Photo by Jessica Ingram/ Courtesy of Association of State Baptist Publications
AR DR Photo 8:
DR volunteer Mary Miller of Indian Springs Baptist Church, Bryant, celebrates as the DR volunteers make progress in their relief efforts in Louisiana following Hurricane Laura’s destruction. Photo by Susan Stevens/ Courtesy of Association of State Baptist Publications
AR DR Photo 9:
DR volunteer Mary Miller of Indian Springs Baptist Church, Bryant, hauls limbs at a home in Sulphur, Louisiana, that was damaged by Hurricane Laura. She says women are needed on chainsaw teams because they can connect with the women of the house and haul the smaller debris. Photo by Susan Stevens/ Courtesy of Association of State Baptist Publications
Devastation to home:
Hurricane Laura cut a heartbreaking path of devastation throughout portions of Louisiana and Texas in late August. This home is a sobering image of the storm’s powerful destruction. Photo by Sam Evans/ Courtesy of Association of State Baptist Publications
Devastation with massive trees:
Massive, centuries-old trees were brought down by Hurricane Laura in Louisiana, destroying homes and leaving many residents homeless. Photo by Sam Evans/ Courtesy of Association of State Baptist Publications
Drone devastation:
Entire neighborhoods were devastated by Hurricane Laura’s destructive path throughout Louisiana. Photo by Marc Reitzel/Courtesy of Association of State Baptist Publications
Ark Baptist DR Generic:
As victims of Hurricane Laura pick up the pieces of their lives after the storm has passed, the Arkansas Baptist DR tractor trailer is a welcome sight. It reminds storm victims that they are not alone. Recovery efforts in Louisiana will likely take weeks, even months. Photo by Susan Stevens/ Courtesy of Association of State Baptist Publications

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