News Articles

Beth Moore simulcast touches evacuees & those helping them

HOUMA, La. (BP)–Christian speaker and best-selling author Beth Moore wants women to do more than just study the Bible. On the Louisiana Gulf Coast, Moore’s counsel resonated with a group of women watching her via simulcast at First Baptist Church in Houma.

Ever since Hurricane Katrina, the women had been practicing Moore’s exhortation to be faithful in sowing the seed of God’s Word.

Moore’s “Living Proof Live” simulcast, originating from Continental Airlines Arena at the New York City-area Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J., was seen by 60,000 women Oct. 7-8 in 458 churches around the United States and Canada.

“In this church,” said Phylis Aucoin, who directs First Baptist’s women’s ministry in Houma, “I have seen the women who had been in Bible study [and] when it came time to serve, they got out there and served.

“They were the hands and feet of Jesus,” Aucoin said. “Whatever gifts they had been given, they used them in this stressful, disastrous situation.”

Although Houma wasn’t as badly ravaged as surrounding communities, the needs of those in the community were still pressing. The church, undamaged by the storm, immediately opened its doors and served as a shelter to those with no other place to go.

The church housed as many as 200 evacuees and 165 Red Cross volunteers.

“Our church shut down all our activities -– all Bible studies, choir, Wednesday night services and Sunday night services,” Aucoin said. “Our entire focus was serving our community and helping with the shelter.”

Sharon Guidry is the church hostess, and although her own property sustained minor damage that needed to be cleaned up, she felt drawn to be on-site at the church as three meals a day were prepared for an entire month.

“I was just grateful and thankful to the Lord that I was able to come here and serve our Terrebonne Parish evacuees and provide a meal for them,” Guidry said. “I have never felt closer to the Lord than I did at the time of serving during the storm. I just felt His presence each time we were serving the food.”

The Living Proof Live conference was the few activities other than Sunday morning worship services that the church didn’t cancel. When Aucoin originally planned in February to host a simulcast, she expected to fill the church’s sanctuary, which seats about 500 people.

But Hurricane Katrina changed those expectations. With so many people having other priorities, the simulcast at First Baptist Church ended up drawing about 200 women.

“One of my prayers was that even though we couldn’t have what I had envisioned, the number of people, I really felt like the people who were here were the ones God called to be here, the ones He wanted to speak to,” Aucoin said.

Because space was plentiful, Aucoin received permission from LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, which sponsors Living Proof Live events, to give away tickets to evacuees and others who might not be able to afford the conference. So Aucoin distributed tickets both to church members in need and to others in the community.

“We’re so honored that we were able to help First Baptist minister to these women who have lost so much,” Faith Whatley, director of women’s ministry at LifeWay, said. “We felt like this was something we could do to offer them the comfort from God’s Word through Beth’s teaching.”

One of the recipients was Beverly Sons, of Chauvin, La., who lost her home and nearly all her possessions in Katrina. Sons stayed with various family members, and her daughter-in-law told her about Beth Moore.

“It was awesome,” Sons, a Roman Catholic, said of the conference. “I never thought once that it would be something like this. Last night I felt like a new person. I felt so much better. God’s Spirit was coming into me.”

Church member Becky Davis was actively involved in the church’s ministry after the hurricane. She sat at the door and processed evacuees as they came in and vividly recalls the number of people who didn’t know where their loved ones were.

Davis recalls overhearing dozens of phone conversations from people looking for family and friends. To her, Moore’s encouragement to be active in something with which God is involved was especially significant.

“I couldn’t help but think about these experiences,” Davis said. “You rub elbows with the human tragedy and triumph, and you see a lot of it on TV, but I think this time we all got a first-row seat.”

For Aucoin, the Moore conference affirmed the efforts of the women in the church who sacrificed greatly to help others. Aucoin cited Guidry’s willingness to cook meals for evacuees staying at the church. Guidry seldom said anything in Bible study, Aucoin noted, but that didn’t stop her from ministering.

“When it came time, she was beautiful,” Aucoin said. “We did get out of our Bible study and we did sow the seed.”

In doing so, Aucoin discovered her church didn’t even have to go outside the building to reach the community with the Gospel.

“This time the community was in here,” she said. “We didn’t have to go out. They were here, and we got to serve them. We got to show them the love of Jesus.”
One more 2005 Living Proof Live event with Beth Moore is scheduled in Fresno, Calif., Dec. 2-3. Ten others are scheduled for 2006. For more information, go to www.lifeway.com/women.

    About the Author

  • Tim Ellsworth

    Tim Ellsworth is associate vice president for university communications at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. BP reports on missions, ministry and witness advanced through the Cooperative Program and on news related to Southern Baptists’ concerns nationally and globally.

    Read All by Tim Ellsworth ›