By Norm Miller, Baptist Message special correspondent
DRY CREEK, La. (LBM)—Hurricane Laura uprooted, snapped off, and twisted more than 500 trees, obstructing the landscape at Dry Creek Baptist Camp such that workers spent almost three days clearing a short stretch of camp road that led to a garage where equipment, needed to restore the campus of the 95 year-old encampment, was kept.
“Our greatest need is for some volunteers who can come and stay for a while — I’m talking weeks,” said Todd Burnaman, Dry Creek camp director. “Maybe some RV-ers or some folks who could stay in our cabins and help keep things moving at a steady pace. We love having youth groups coming in for a day, too,” he said.
Three weeks after the hurricane swept through the area, the camp still has hundreds of trees that need to be removed, and other general clean-up work must be done.
“We’re just using every bit of energy we have right now to get the trees off the ground,” Burnaman said. “I can’t even start to think about spending energy taking care of people, which hurts, because that’s what’s important. If we don’t get trees off the ground we can’t get people here.”
Camp staffers, including administrative assistants, have pitched in to remove brush, broken limbs, and other debris. Burnaman said, “We’re in a pretty tight financial spot these days, and our staff is all-in. We have a ‘do whatever it takes’ attitude.”
Access to supplies is not a problem. “But one of our biggest needs is finances. We’d already depleted savings because of the coronavirus. We’re just kinda hangin’ on, here,” he said. For volunteers coming in to assist the community, “we need to be able to house them and feed them.”
Burnaman anticipates ongoing repairs will include roofing, electrical, drywall, painting, etc. “We are still assessing which buildings we can assign to volunteer, and which will need professional contractors.”
On a personal note, Burnaman said, “I’ve known for a long time — since I worked here when I was in college — that God had wired me, had put me together to do camp ministry.” With tearful eyes, he continued: “That’s the toughest part. We can’t do ministry right now.” Burnaman said the pandemic and the hurricane put an unwelcome 6-month pause on his life’s calling. But, despite the devastation, Burnaman said he and his family are “fully invested here.
“Whenever I wake up in the morning, I just know this is where I’m supposed to be,” he said. “There’s no question about whether we give up or look for something different.”
Burnaman first visited Dry Creek during pre-teen camp when he was 9 years-old. “Ever since then I’ve heard people say that they could just ‘feel the presence of the Lord when you come through the gates.’ If people are going to continue to say that, it won’t be because of beautiful pines trees or the nice buildings,” Burnaman said. “It’ll simply be because of the Spirit of the Lord.”
Interested in helping Dry Creek Camp? Go to www.drycreek.net.