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Gustav victims hear volunteers’ witness

HOUMA, La. (BP)–It had been nearly a week since 66-year-old Brett Morin left the comfort of his Florida home for a 15-hour trek to Louisiana — first to Baton Rouge and then, on Sept. 8, to Houma.

Hurricane Gustav, which roared through the region Sept. 1, gave Morin plenty of somber sights.

“There were huge trees down. I mean 52 inches in diameter. One was an oak tree fallen from the side of a bayou right into the home of a couple,” Morin said.

But this is what Morin, associate pastor of administration and missions at First Baptist Church in Lutz, Fla., expected when he arrived with seven others from his church.

Equipped with a trailer and a construction skid used to move tree branches and debris, his crew and volunteers from Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Hillcrest and Olive Baptist churches in Pensacola, Fla., and Santa Rosa Baptist Association have been among Baptist volunteers from 16 states at work in Louisiana.

Leon Branch, a coordinator with Florida Baptist disaster relief, reported Sept. 8 the state’s clean-up and recovery units had completed a total of 30 jobs since Sept. 4.

Morin described the area as still without power in some places, and said volunteers had been removing limbs from the roofs of modest single-family homes in a predominantly African-American neighborhood and sealing holes with blue tarps to prevent moisture and rain from getting inside.

“There’s still a long way to go here,” Morin said.

The Florida volunteers reported at least 10 professions of faith, Branch said in a conference call to Florida Baptist officials earlier in the day.

“Sure,” Morin told the Florida Baptist Witness. “That’s what we are here for. To share our faith and reach people with the Gospel.

“Fixing the houses is a byproduct,” he said. “I am grateful for the North American Mission Board and Southern Baptists and Florida Baptists, and we just have the greatest people who have a heart for God and Christ….

“I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now,” Morin said.

One woman that his group helped lived alone on six acres of property with horses. Some large trees were obstructing her driveway and a large part of her shed had caved in.

“She was a real sweet Cajun lady,” Morin said, probably in her 50s.

She made a decision to receive Christ after someone in the group shared the Gospel with her.

“It’s exciting to see a person’s life changed,” Morin said. “We stop to say, ‘Hey, there is someone who loves you even in the midst of all of this, someone who cares.'”

At another house where Morin shared his faith, a man also prayed to receive Christ.

“We always pray ahead of time and somehow, during the time we are with them, we share the Gospel,” Morin said.
Joni B. Hannigan is managing editor of the Florida Baptist Witness, on the Web at www.floridabaptistwitness.com.

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