Baton Rouge: Heartbreaking stories and new beginnings

Go Now Missions student volunteers worked in Baton Rouge, La., repairing homes affected by flooding last year.

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When I received the email saying I would serve in Louisiana, the excitement was overwhelming. It was my first Go Now missions experience, and I had never been to Louisiana before.

Fifteen of us worked in Baton Rouge, in an area affected by the flood last August. Words can’t describe the damage or how badly people there were affected.

Baton Rouge team 300I loved working with the people on my team. At first, I was scared to get to know them. But as God allowed us to work with each other, we did not just become friends. We became a family—a family that will always be together, no matter how far we are from each other. It was amazing to see how all of us connected and were able to work together and make each other laugh, no matter what.

One thing that was pretty cool was learning how to do different construction jobs. We learned how to take down walls, put up drywall and do some things we had never done. Despite being sore and tired as the days went on, God gave us the strength to be able to endure and continue our job.

We really didn’t know what the stories of the people we served were going to be. As we prepared ourselves to go and serve, some of us didn’t know how heartbreaking it would be. We saw home after home with “for sale” signs in front. FEMA trailers were here and there to provide a home for those lucky enough to receive one. It was sad to see debris still everywhere and for some houses to be in the condition there were in.

One story that really just affected me and changed my view concerned Mrs. Meyers. Her house is 62 years old and has been through a lot. She really never expected to go through a flood and to lose most of her belongings. To see the look on her face as she told her story made my heart break. She lived with her daughter and her grandaughter before the flood. She is a very loving mother and wife. Her husband cannot walk, so she has to do most of the work. For now, she is staying with one of her grandsons. She is living in his attic, and that makes it really hard for her to be comfortable. The hardest part for her has been the fact that she can’t be in the comfort of her own home.

Mrs. Meyers is very thankful for Pastor Todd, who has helped her through all of this, and he has sacrificed many things for her. Mrs. Meyers is a strong lady, and she has endured a lot. She is very hopeful and relies on the assurance God has everything in control. He is showing his love by providing for people as they start over after the flood.

I always will remember the work we did. I learned God is at work throughout Baton Rouge and will continue to be—not in Mrs. Meyers’ life, but throughout everyone’s life there. God has allowed them a fresh start—to begin a new chapter and to glorify his kingdom.

Flor Martinez, a student at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, served with Go Now Missions in Baton Rouge, La.

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