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Louisiana Update

In News by Youth & Discipleship

An Update on Pastor Monty & Regina Lasseter and
Life Church Central, Baton Rouge, LA

 

Monty and Regina Lasseter serve as the State Director of Youth and Discipleship in Louisiana and also pastor the Life 922388_10151375588355496_461842021_oChurch Central Church of God in Baton Rouge.  They were devastated by the initial flood that inundated Baton Rouge— one of torrential rain, underwater buildings and devastated homes.

In the days since, this couple was overwhelmed by a second flood — one of God-sent donations, community ministry and prayerful support from throughout the Church of God. “God is all over this,” Regina said. “It’s amazing how everything be so good and so bad all the time. God has been so amazing through it all.”

It has been nearing three weeks since more than 7 trillion gallons of water rained on the Baton Rouge area of Louisiana — triple what Hurricane Katrina brought a decade ago. More than 68,000 homes in East Baton Rouge Parish were 14067584_1078414068909117_7245370859281636881_ndamaged, and countless buildings are a total loss — including Life Church Central, where the Lasseters pastor.  Like othe
Church of God leaders in the area, the Lasseters have hardly rested as they’ve begun the daunting task of assessing the damage to their church property, all while ministering to families in their church and throughout the community.

Never could they imagine that a total flooding of their ministry center would transform it into an overcrowded center of ministry. More than 2,000 people have come onto their property in just one week alone to receive food, water, toiletries and the love of Christ. “Everyone who comes in keeps saying, ‘We lost everything,’” Monty said. “Then they see we lost everything, too, and they can’t believe what we’re doing.  “But I tell them, ‘We didn’t lose everything. We lost a lot of things, but we haven’t lost
everything. We’ve got Jesus. That’s all we need.’”

The flooding is unprecedented for the Baton Rouge area, and is the last thing the Lasseter family ever thought would happen when they moved here two years ago. The young couple from Tifton, Ga. came to serve as first-time state youth directors, with the local pastorate being a part of the state office job. Monty looked like anything but a “part-time pastor”
the past few weeks. You’d find him every day on campus with his church workers, using shop-vacs, running a jackhammer, tearing down sheetrock and piling everything in the front yard.14199520_1079613592122498_3144148578362702065_n

In his neighborhood, where his house was just 20 feet removed from the flood waters, Monty busted out a grill and charcoal and cooked hot dogs for his neighbors. This past Sunday, he preached about how they were going to get through this disaster with God. In between, he was being a pastor to hundreds of people who didn’t even know his name. “People I don’t even know are calling me pastor,” Monty said. “They start crying because you gave them something as simple as a toothbrush, or some eggs. This is ministry, and that’s what we’re doing.”

The Lasseters were supposed to be on a family vacation in Orlando last week, a gift from their church, with their three children — sons Kaleb, 11, and Karson, 9, and daughter Kylee, 7. Instead, they were wading through the stench of untreated flood waters that reached 4 1/2 feet in their church sanctuary. It was all Regina could do to console moms who didn’t know how they were going to make it as she handed out basic living supplies. They even saw a grown man cry when they received special ordered size-14 rubber boots for him. “Sometimes, they just want someone to hug them,” Regina said.

The Lasseters aren’t doing it alone.  Donations are coming from all over the country. Trailers full of goods have come from all over the place, including Illinois, North Carolina, Florida and Mississippi. The ministries of Operation Compassion14080009_1078414058909118_2455156287110172183_n and God’s Pit Crew have been through. More is coming from Georgia, Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas and countless other church communities across the country.  Church of God General Overseer Tim Hill and Executive Committee member John Childers came to survey the damage and pledge their spiritual and financial support, along with International Youth and Discipleship Director David Blair. “In over thirty years of ministry, this is the worst devastation I have ever seen,” said Blair.

It will cost an estimated $200,000 to rebuild Life Church Central, and more to replace all of its property, including musical instruments and sound equipment. But, not everything was washed away.  When the waters receded, Monty discovered two objects on the sanctuary platform that were still standing in a sea of floating debris: a clear stand where he kept the anointing oil, and the pulpit. Sitting on the pulpit? His Bible study notes from the last Wednesday night service before the flood. It was a study on Nehemiah. “Rebuilding the walls,” Monty said. “Can you believe that? We’re going to get off our seat and just do it. Can’t means you don’t want to. We’re going to find a way to do ministry one way or the other.  “We’re moving forward.”

 

How Can You Help?

  • Take an Offering and Mail it to:Church of God International Offices, P.O. Box 2430, Cleveland, TN 37320. Marked “Louisiana Flood Relief–2016.”  Missions credit can be given by using Project #765-0036-019.
  • Text to Give 

– From your phone text message screen put the number 74483 where the phone number would go

– In the body of the text type FLOOD (space) and the amount you desire to donate

(Example: Flood 100) to donate $100.

  • Go to the Church of God website-churchofgod.organd click the donate button on the Louisiana Flooding Disaster and make a donation.

By David White and Randall Parris