Louisiana churches in Beauregard and Vernon Baptist associations gathered for special prayer services and asked God for much needed rain in areas where wildfires have scorched more than 50,000 acres.
On Sunday (Aug. 27), the congregations of First Baptist Church DeRidder and East Leesville Baptist Church services sought God’s help, through prayer, to ask Him to intervene as weary first responders, church members and people in the community have waged a two-week battle against the wildfires. By the end of the evening, their prayers were answered as many areas in west-central Louisiana saw their first measurable rainfall since mid-July.
The Sunday evening gathering at FBC DeRidder drew more than 350 people while the service at East Leesville Baptist attracted more than 120 in attendance.
“We believe that God wants His people to draw close to Him in every circumstance,” FBC DeRidder pastor Steve Graves told the Baptist Message after the service. “The drought and fires happen to be the circumstance that has brought our community closer to God. And when that happens, it’s pleasing to God and honors God.
“God is faithful, whether it rains or not,” Graves noted. “And last night, in His mercy God blessed us with rain.
“There were believers from numerous churches and denominations who gathered to seek God‘s helping hand, not only for physical rain, but also for spiritual rain,” he said. “We confessed our needs in every way and asked Him to pour out his blessing on us.”
Besides prayer filled services, Louisiana Baptists also rushed to the communities impacted by the fires to bring much needed drinks and snacks.
At First Baptist Church Singer, 20 members distributed water, Gatorade, Powerade and snacks to firefighters, police officers and others in need. They also helped deliver meals that were prepared by Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief teams.
“The community is seeing that we care for them,” FBC Singer pastor Jimmy Clark said. “We are sharing with everyone we meet the hope of Jesus. I am very proud of what my church family has done and will continue to do. The community has come together doing as much as they can to stop this fire.”
For their part, 100 members of Unity Baptist Church, DeRidder, fed 100 firefighters and assembled “grab and go” snack and hygiene bags for area firefighters.
“To say that I am proud of our church would be an understatement,” said pastor Mike Burkes. “Fifteen years ago when I became youth pastor, I brought to the table my desire for us to start doing mission work around our church, community and state. And it just took off.”
Meanwhile, members of Westview Baptist Church, DeRidder, served on a Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief feeding team and provided water, Gatorade and ice to the local airport for pilots who dumped large buckets of water on the flames. Additionally, the church has provided snacks for National Guardsmen who are helping fight the fires in Beauregard Parish.
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EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was written by Brian Blackwell and originally published by Baptist Message.