ORANGE COUNTY, TX—On Aug. 27, Hurricane Laura hit the Southeast coast of Texas and portions of Louisiana, causing flooding and destruction. The community of Orange, TX, was significantly impacted by the storm. Just three years earlier, the same area was hit by Hurricane Harvey.
Several Texas Baptist churches were impacted and suffered damage to their facilities. Texas Baptists Church Architecture team is currently working with the Cowboy Baptist Church of Orange County and Calvary Baptist Church in West Orange to assess and rebuild damaged buildings by providing Church Building Recovery Grants and consultations.
“COVID-19 had already impacted our churches in unprecedented ways. By adding Hurricane Laura to the mix, I have been concerned for our churches as they have faced another devastating blow,” said Area Representative Ernest Dagohoy. “Texas Baptists are about the Great Commission, but the Great Commandment is also equally important to us. God compels us to proclaim the Gospel and at the same time, attend to the needs of others - becoming the hands and feet of Jesus Christ especially during times like these.”
The Cowboy Baptist Church of Orange County was three days away from moving into their new children’s building when the storm hit. The building lost most of the roof. Water flooded the interior, causing significant damage. Five inches of rain fell during the storm and another seven inches afterward.
Dale Lee, founding pastor of the cowboy church, has served as pastor for 13 years. He shared that the church had recently built the children’s building to reach young families in the community. While the loss of the building was discouraging, Lee said the congregation gathered together for worship the following Sunday. Despite a lack of power in their sanctuary, church members gathered to sing songs of praise and gave testimonies to the ways God protected them.
One elderly church member was at home in her double-wide trailer with several family members when the storm hit. She said she felt a hand push her out of bed onto the floor. Moments later a large tree fell, crashing through her bedroom wall and landing on her bed. Amazingly, she only sustained minor injuries and was able to share with her church family the next Sunday how she saw God protect her in a miraculous way.
“God is taking care of us, meeting all of our needs,” Lee said. “We know He is in control.”
More than 40 TBM Disaster Relief volunteer groups have worked in the area since the storm hit. and they have responded to 475 requests for chainsaw work. Additionally, volunteers have provided more than 7,000 meals a day in Lake Charles, LA. Volunteers have provided spiritual care and prayer to many residents. TBM was also on hand to help remove a tree from the Cowboy Church property the following week. Volunteers have set up their temporary headquarters at North Orange Baptist Church.
Click here to give to support Texas Baptists’ Hurricane Response, and select “Texas Baptist Men” or “Church Disaster Relief Fund.”