With Thanksgiving: Thankful for the opportunity to serve.

News from Baton Rouge

Have you ever felt overextended during the holidays?

Though Camp Restore Baton Rouge took breaks for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, the work has hardly stopped. The Camp was filled to the seams with volunteers even four days before Thanksgiving. They came from Texas, Missouri, Ohio, and other states, to help in continuing efforts to Restore Faith, Home, and Community in Baton Rouge.

This meant coordinating a lot of jobs. Requests for help were steadily coming in, and so, we were steadily sending out teams to install drywall, gut houses, and minister to those affected by the August floods. However, once in a rare while, a number of scheduled jobs will fall through or get postponed. This can create a challenge because homeowners have to meet our volunteer teams on their property before any work can begin. When pre-arranged jobs have to be postponed we move down the list and call on homeowners, many already at work or away from their homes. Imagine getting the call that help is ready and you cannot be there. Imagine being the group ready to serve and not having a place.  Imagine trying to find an emergency job for a group of 14 people. What do you do?

Do you freak out? Do you yell? Do you throw your hands in the air and give up? This has happened and I can tell you what happened. The homeowner called and was grateful for the help but asked to reschedule which we did happily. The group took it in stride, planting flowers and doing work beautifying the Trinity Oaks property while we arranged another project for them. I freaked out.

I was beginning to feel overwhelmed, I called every job we had. I called looked into community groups. I looked for anything that would help someone in the community. I could feel the stress balling up in my chest (sound familiar?). This is when God stepped in, in the form of a phone call. An elderly hospice patient really needed help installing her drywall. She heard about us through the grapevine and asked how soon we could send help. She was thrilled to hear we could send her a crew that very day!While it was not a large job it was something that would help someone in need.

In the chaos I remember that God guides all we do, especially when we are working for His purpose.

Now for the rest of the story: The group of volunteers had a great time working with this woman. She was so grateful for the help. She fixed them a big batch of Gumbo and shared her story with them. They walked away with an experience that we couldn’t have given them. They taught us a lesson, they called it their motto: Semper Gumby (Always Be Flexible).

The people we have helped through Camp Restore Baton Rouge are so thankful all of the volunteers. I am so appreciative of the volunteers and the work they do. In the midst of a tragic flood and a busy holiday season, where we often overlook the reasons we celebrate in the first place, the goodness of God is evident in His people. His love shows itself in those people whom have come to serve. The stress and craziness that comes with a disaster is no match for the power and love of our God.

I keep this in mind and continue to have a thankful heart as we approach the new year and continue our mission at Camp Restore.

-Caitlynn Butcher, Associate Director
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