Longville First Baptist Church members are well aware of the challenges of rebuilding their sanctuary and education building. Many lost homes and faced those same challenges. But as is often the case in small, rural, close-knit communities, these men and women of faith – the church – are using giftings, industry and initiative to move forward.
“One woman made and sold mayhaw jelly to help raise money, bringing in over $1,000,” said Britney Glaser, a member. “Our Helping Hands Ministry Team knows how to operate heavy equipment and did much of the demo and dirt work. Others worked to salvage everything that could be reused, down to the toilets. Another member had a yard sale and all proceeds went to the building fund.”
On Friday, July 29, FBC Longville church member Missy Jackson Adams will be preparing jambalaya dinners for $10 each. Other church members will be helping to package, serve, and deliver the plates.
“Her gift truly is feeding people,” Glaser said.
When 10 or more plates are purchased, delivery is available in Lake Charles, Ragley, Longville and DeRidder.
“If every person can do something, we’re going to get there. I don’t know how much we’ll be able to raise, but we’ll be closer,” Glaser said.
The bid for the rebuild was an eye opener. Everyone knew building materials were more expensive than before the hurricanes, and now they knew just how much more expensive. The church decided to tackle the project in phases and is working toward a goal of $700,000 in 15 months.
About 180 members attend services in the gym, which received minor damages. During repairs, members met under a tent.
“It really brought us back to our roots,” Glaser said. “We brought in a portable tank to serve as a baptismal.”
Her family moved to Longville in February 2020.
“We only got to attend Longville First Baptist for about a month before church buildings everywhere closed,” Glaser said. “We were live streaming up until that summer and so excited about being able to meet again.”
During Hurricane Laura, which occurred a couple of months after the stay-at-home order was changed to a Phase 2, the church was open to shelter those who did not feel safe riding out the storm in their own homes.
“We evacuated to Houston,” Glaser said. “By the time those sheltered at the church realized Beauregard would get strong winds, it was too late to leave. They were already hunkered down. Fortunately, no one was injured, but the church building sustained irreparable damage.”
Glaser is aware that church is not the structure, and doesn’t remember a time when her life didn’t include a church family, brothers and sisters in Christ who might have different foundations, but a background that is unshakeable.
“Our faith is in Christ,” she said.
She said now more than ever, it’s important to be plugged into a church community.
“Watching a service online isn’t the same thing,” she said. “We need each other as the body of Christ. That brings encouragement, accountability, and more hands to serve, which are so important to our faith.”