News,  Personal

My Hometown of DeRidder in the Aftermath of Laura

Last week, I wrote about Hurricane Laura as it bore down on my hometown of DeRidder, Louisiana. None of us knew then exactly what path the storm would take, but it turns out that the eye of the storm passed right over my childhood home. As the dust settled on Thursday, it became really clear that our little town was devastated. In fact, the federal government has designated our city as a disaster area.

My parents have been taking care of my aged aunt who has been having extreme difficulties that have rendered her unable to walk or care for herself. For that reason, they had decided to ride the storm out, just like they did with Rita. As the storm gained strength through Wednesday and at the last possible moment, they abandoned their plans to keep to the house. They hastily packed, loaded the minivan, and stayed ahead of Laura as the hurricane moved inland. Thankfully, they safely evacuated and are now settled in with family in Dallas.

I am so grateful that they evacuated because the storm decimated DeRidder. For a number of days, the town was without water. Mercifully, water has been restored, but there is still so much destruction. The storm devastated the power grid, and the city is having to rebuild the entire grid from the ground up. DeRidder is still without power and likely won’t get it back for another month or so. It’s hard to describe the hardship this presents if you are not from South Louisiana, but the heat makes this really difficult to bear (today the “feels like” temperature was 103 degrees).

Many people in DeRidder are homeless now as Laura completely destroyed homes across the city. For some, the wind removed all or part of the roof. For others, falling trees proved to be the house-destroyers. At my parent’s house, a giant oak fell and only narrowly missed the house. Countless others, however, were not as fortunate. Trees pulverized structures all across town. In the news story above, you can see what the general state of things is.

Pictured above is the fallen tree that narrowly missed my parents’ home.

If you want to help with the devastation of our city, I know of at least one way that you can do that. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is already on the ground and have deployed a relief group (yellow hats). The group is basing out of my home church (First Baptist Church of DeRidder). They are providing meals for people of the city, and they also have chainsaw crews helping to clear the trees that fell on people’s property. Giving to this group would be a tangible way to show support. Click here to donate money or service.

Everything that God does is wise, right, and good. He is sovereign, even over destructive storms. There is no question that a storm like Hurricane Laura is a bitter providence. Nevertheless, we know that “behind a frowning providence he hides a smiling face.” And his purposes in these kinds of calamities will be clear in due time. In the meantime, we pray and we help and we lend support. If you have the ability, I hope and pray that you will consider pitching in.

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm

Deep in unsearchable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense
But trust Him for His grace
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face

His purposes will ripen fast
Unfolding every hour
The bud may have a bitter taste
But sweet will be the flower

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take
The clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain
God is His own interpreter
And He will make it plain