Seven years ago, members of Good Shepherd Hispanic Baptist Church in Metairie, La., had compassion on fellow believers in Honduras hit hard by Hurricane Mitch. And now the favor is being returned many times over as Good Shepherd recovers from Hurricane Katrina.
Seven years ago, members of Good Shepherd Hispanic
Baptist Church in Metairie, La., had compassion on fellow believers in
Honduras hit hard by Hurricane Mitch. And now the favor is being
returned many times over as Good Shepherd recovers from Hurricane
The congregation at Good Shepherd sent 12 containers
of food and clothing to an evangelical church and a Baptist church in
Honduras in 1998 to help meet some of the needs left by the destructive
“Now that Katrina has hit New Orleans, we never
expected they would appreciate what we did for them seven years ago and
they would decide to come here,” explains Gonzalo Rodriguez, pastor of
Juan Ramon Rivera, pastor of the Baptist church in
Honduras that Good Shepherd helped, brought a love offering of $1,000
from his church when he visited the church in October.
“He brought $1,000 from people who work in the marketplace and who are very poor,” Rodriguez explains.
Daniel Romero, the pastor of the evangelical church
that Good Shepherd aided after Hurricane Mitch, delivered a check for
$17,000 from his Hispanic congregation.
“What makes a difference is that Honduras is what we
consider a country of the third world,” Rodriguez notes. “They are very
poor people and we never expected they would come here to help us.”
In addition to the love offering, Rodriguez said
Romero gave $4,000 to purchase a new floor for the church and its
missionary house because both were heavily damaged by the flooding in
New Orleans. Carpet was ruined and pews were tossed around, he said.
One of the two air conditioner units stopped working and is in need of
Romero brought five men along with him, Rodriguez
said, to help in cleanup efforts, and one of the men happens to own a
restaurant in Honduras. So he bought and cooked a chicken meal for
everyone at a celebration service Good Shepherd had Oct. 16, attended
by more than 450 people.
“It was exciting. The church was packed and we had more than 25 professions of faith,” Rodriguez says.
Before Katrina hit, Good Shepherd had two Sunday
morning services with a combined attendance of around 400. But a large
portion of the congregation scattered because of the storm and not all
have returned. Rodriguez said guests throughout the community and
volunteers from other states that had come to help with recovery
accounted for some of the large crowd during the celebration service.
Even after the $18,000 in sacrificial giving from
Christians in Honduras, Rodriguez cited financial problems as the main
challenge Good Shepherd still faces, much like many other churches
along the Gulf.
The South Louisiana congregation discovered that
their flood insurance covered the church building but not the
missionary house, which must be repaired.
And during this opportune time, Rodriguez hopes his
church can reach out to other Hispanics in the community and offer them
the hope of a personal relationship with God through Jesus.
“Pray for a lot of people that we need to reach,”
the pastor says. “We need to organize an evangelistic team because
there are a lot of needs among all the people without a place to stay,
and we need the wisdom to see how we can help those people.” (BP)