By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
LAKE CHARLES, La. (LBM) – Paige LeDoux was deeply troubled when she encountered Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief chaplain Mark Morelock, pastor of Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, Bogalusa, in the Trinity Baptist Church feeding line.
Since the beginning of the year, LeDoux had seen a family member succumb to a life of drug addiction, and on top of that the novel coronavirus pandemic had cut short the baseball season for her two sons, which was a weekend passion for the family.
But when Hurricane Laura made landfall Aug. 27, it destroyed LeDoux’s home in Lake Charles, and she fi nally felt hopeless and helpless. Laura was the last straw, and she was a broken person, emotionally.
However, a visit to Trinity Baptist Church on Sept. 4 changed her life: She is one of 152 storm victims who have turned to Christ at Trinity Baptist during the aftermath of Laura through Sept. 17.
“She had continued to express how she didn’t know where else to turn,” Morelock told the Baptist Message. “After a time of listening I told her there is no way to return to how things were but she had a hope. I asked if she had placed her faith in Christ and after a conversation she accepted the Lord.
“She was broken and tearful before coming to the church,” continued Morelock. “Now, she has a bright future and a reason to live.”
LeDoux has since begun the process of connecting with Trinity Baptist to grow in her faith and plans to follow through with baptism at a later date. Morelock said while clearing debris off homes, offering showers to residents and feeding thousands of people a day are vital, salvations are paramount to the mission of disaster relief.
“We have a very strong emphasis as individuals and a group to show the love of Christ through not only actions but words,” Morelock said. “Many come simply seeking physical relief, and we meet many needs, without strings attached. But we also give them spiritual relief. It goes deeper than water or a hot meal. It’s who we are as Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.”
Stan Statham, a consultant with Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief and associational missions strategist for Baptist Associations of Southeast Louisiana, added that chaplains are among hundreds who are sharing Christ to the many individuals searching for hope amid a crisis.
“It is great to see pastors serve as disaster relief chaplains,” he said. “All of the chaplains serving in Hurricane Laura relief efforts are making a huge difference by sharing the Gospel, praying with people and doing simple acts of ministry.”