The Category 4 hurricane struck the coast of southwest Louisiana under the cover of darkness on Thursday, August 27. Laura underwent one of the fastest and strongest intensifications in Gulf history before hitting the Bayou State. Landfall brought a deadly storm surge and 150 mile-per-hour sustained winds. The storm continued to track along the state’s western border as a hurricane and then as a tropical storm before moving into central Arkansas.
As the sun rose and the widespread devastation was brought to light, a Samaritan’s Purse (SP) crew was already on the way to Louisiana from their Southwest Ministry Center in Coppell, Texas. By Saturday, the 15-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, the first group of volunteers were sent out to help in the aftermath. Laura’s devastating power uprooted and toppled trees, downed power lines, and ripped apart homes. Families who fled the storm were afraid to return; those who stayed were in a state of shock. We can all empathize with their great burden of loss and emotional struggle. But those living in the four areas of greatest need are learning that they are not alone.
Samaritan’s Purse has been responding to the devastation in Lake Charles, Jennings, DeRidder, and DeQuincy. An army of volunteers are there to ensure that homeowners don’t have to face the devastation by themselves. They are putting their faith into action offering not only the much-needed hands-on help, but also personal encouragement through prayer and compassion. Each day, volunteer teams are mending homes and hearts. They help remove downed trees, clear debris, tarp roofs, mud-out flooded homes, and salvage personal belongings that may have survived the storm. The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains are also there to provide spiritual support, offering the hope found only in the Gospel.
Samaritan’s Purse is a First Church mission partner.
The content of this article is taken from information on the Samaritan’s Purse website, including “Mending Homes and Hearts in Storm-Weary Louisiana” dated August 31, 2020, http://samaritanspurse.org/article/mending-homes-and-hearts-in-storm-weary-louisiana/.