[Jas 1:19 NKJV] 19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;
Today was a day to dig in and get our hands (and every other part of us) dirty. We began to help the Denham Springs Police Department as they repaired the damage from the flood. Every inch of their station flooded between 6 and 18 inches in depth. They had just gotten new carpet and painted all their walls about two months before the storm and now all that was ruined. They had to tear the drywall out up to about 4 feet, remove all the insulation and spay special mold killing chemicals on the studs. Only two guys were working on it, a police officer and a city maintenance guy and they were spending 12-14 hours a day on it. We were able to help them clean up some areas, remove damaged furniture and wipe down things that were covered in drywall dust.
While all this was important the most important thing we did was listen. Every police officer had a story of where they were when the flood waters came in. how deep they were (some experienced chest high water), and what was left in the aftermath. Thirteen of the thirty-five officers had their homes damaged as did some civilian personnel. For one officer, the only funds he got from FEMA was a check for $250.00. FEMA is asking all the flood victims to raise their homes three feet about the peak flood level. For some this would involve raising their home about seven feet at the cost of $60,000 per foot. For most this would be more than their house was even worth. There is a growing sentiment of anger and frustration amongst all the residents and the police are not immune from it. Those in law enforcement are laying their lives on the line for their communities while at the same time they might be losing everything they have financially.
[1Pe 3:15 NKJV] 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always [be] ready to [give] a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;
Things look very bleak for the town of Denham Springs. Most business are closed which has put people out of work and reduced the tax revenue to the City. People are worried because they are not in their homes and do not have enough money to fix it. There still are piles of debris all over some more than 10 feet high. Officer Dan Beadle told us that this does not bode well for the citizens of his town. Despair and anger are beginning to set in. Some of it may be directed at the police but others will turn to alcohol, drugs or suicide. He said that what the people really need is the hope of Jesus Christ. What they are experiencing now is bad but what they will experience in an eternity without knowing Jesus will be so much worse. He knows the the answer for his fellow officers and the citizens is Jesus.
Denham Springs is a small town and an even smaller police department. As a result much of the aid that has been coming in to help other government agencies has either bypassed them or required them to put the money out first and than get reimbursed. That would be fine if you had money which their city does not. Hence they are not able to hire a crew to renovate the police department. They cannot even afford to pay more than two of their own staff to work on it.
We also had the opportunity to pray with a young man named Matt. He had just gotten out of high school and had been in and out of trouble. He saw that he was going nowhere and he wanted to rededicate his life to Jesus. We were able to pray with him in the parking lot of the police station.
Tonight we had dinner with Lt. Boyce from Baton Rouge PD. He has such a heart for the men and women in the police department. It was blessing to listen to him talk about his heart for those who are hurting. This has truly been a ministry of presence as we have had so many opportunities to hear the heart of the people.
We got blessed too:
This morning, Tony and I were in our chaplains uniform and we were having breakfast at IHOP. I got up to pay and an older lady came up to me and said “I’d like to pay your bill.” I told her that it was okay and she said “please let me pay.” She took the bill and paid it then walked out with a God bless you! We went up to talk to her and her friend in the parking lot and they told us their names were Linda and Brenda. We were able to thank them and then pray for them in the parking lot. Linda for healing and deliverance and Brenda for God’s grace and mercy. As we walked away, Linda told Brenda, “See, I told you we would be blessed today.” Then we went into Walmart to buy some things and the line was long to check out. A woman in front of us said, “please go ahead of me.” Again, we declined. She said, “please, I want to do a good deed today.” Gods blessing. We are here to show love and kindness to the people and here they show it to us.
Please pray for:
1. Continued wisdom as we prepare things for the team coming in October. We especially need drywallers and finish carpenters.
2. Pray for Matt, that he would get plugged into a good bible teaching church and walk strongly with the Lord.
3. Pray for strength for the men and women in law enforcement here who have been through so much tragedy and suffering.
4. Pray for the victims of the flood that are trying to rebuild their lives but so many don’t know Jesus.
5. Pray for our remaining time here to continue to be fruitful.
6. Pray for an effective door of ministry to be open to us both now and in the future.
Pastor Gary Kusunoki
Calvary Chapel of San Juan Capistrano
31612 El Camino Real
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Office Phone: +1(949)443-2572