It is day 2 here in Louisiana, and we met with LT. Boyce at the Baton Rouge Police Headquarters, where we also met Chaplain Don Shreffler, who is here serving from Southwest Iowa Chaplains. As we entered police headquarters, we met another Police Officer/Chaplain that serves with LT. Boyce who’s name is Tweedy.
He spoke a powerful word to us, and it’s been on my mind and heart all day. He immediately thanked us for coming all the way from California and said our presence here encourages him and it also convicts him! I thought to myself convicts you? He then said seeing all these Christian brothers, sisters, and Chaplains doing the work and praying with people here should have or could have been done by the family of believers here. He mentioned how the Lord has plans to use you and if you are unwilling he’ll use someone else and you could miss out on the blessing of being used by God. (A reference to Esther 4:14)
“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
He continued on and said it’s like having your room, which was given to you, and you mess it up and have someone come in and clean it for you and your parents pay the cleaner! Having someone else do what you know to do and someone else gets the reward.
He went on to tell us how he’s begun to pray at roll call for the officers before they go on patrol, praying in Jesus name that the officers are kept safe and may the love of of the Lord shine through them. He wasn’t sure how that was going to be received and his fellow officers commended him and thanked him.
After that we got to attend a 9/11 Memorial service where officers and fire fighters were honored. It was also a memorial to the three officers killed by the lone sniper back in July. LT. Boyce opened in prayer and closed the ceremony in prayer.
We then met up with Major Chaplain Persyn, who serves the Denam Springs PD and Livingston Sheriff’s. This area was badly affected by the flood and the Sheriff’s department was completely wiped out. Major Persyn’s own home was affected and currently sits fully “gutted” waiting for a team and a general contractor to determine what needs to be done to restore his home. We got to spend an hour eating a meal with him and he said it was a divine appointment he needed. He needed to get himself grounded and focused because the combination of things he was dealing with was overwhelming. In this area of Denam Springs, we saw piles of trash up and down the streets, and you could see on many of the buildings the watermark left by the flood. Some areas the water was 2 to 3 feet and there were many areas where the water was 5 to 6 feet high.
Lastly, we met up with Operation Blessing International. They are a Christ based relief organization and their primary focus is to help those get their homes “gutted”, cleaned out, and ready for rebuilding. They said it looks like a lot has been done but there are still hundreds of homeowners still in need.
It doesn’t seem like we’ve got to do very much but it was clear as I close the day that Pastor Gary and I were …appointed for such a time as this. To be a ministry of presence to our fellow Christian brothers – particularly the first responders. To be iron sharpening iron as Tweedy mentioned, strengthening one another to be used by Jesus and and bring His love and hope to the community.
To say the least, the needs here are great and there’s a lot that has to be done before people can get things back to normal. Please continue to pray for the people here and pray specifically for the Police Officer / Chaplains because they are working double duty in both capacities. Pray for healing for the community and for the families of the slain officers. Pray for provision and protection for the people. Protection specifically for con-artist posing as contractors to steal their money. Pray for Gary and myself as we roll into day 3 to scout specific locations and projects for our team in October.