Grace Memorial Baptist Church
September 5, 2005
Grace Memorial Baptist Church in Slidell escaped serious damage by the storm and took a leading role in coordinating relief efforts in the Slidell area. Half a dozen Baptist churches took heavy losses. Reportedly three, including Northshore Church where Jeff and Darla Nave are members, were totally destroyed. Jeff and Leslie Moyle are members of Grace Memorial and Jeff was very active in helping to direct the relief efforts.
When we got to Grace Memorial Baptist Church, we found it like an anthill of activity, distributing aid supplies. Perry Matherne, left, and Jay Victory were helping to carry water to those who needed it.
The church was without electrical power, but ran their relief operation with a bank of generators. Above right, the tree-cutting crew from Olive Baptist, Pensacola brought an RV and their own generator. They also brought the tractor at right. Having suffered heavy storm damage themselves last year, they had really gotten set up to help other areas hit by storms. Stan Lewis worked to coordinate their group. Jeff Moyle had worked with them a lot, and they were the ones who cut the trees off the Moyle house.
They had a registration table set up outside their family life center, and the center itself was full of supplies of all kinds. There was a constant stream of people getting water and other household necessities.
There was a lot of clothing available for the storm victims and even a shower trailer brought in by Tennessee Baptists.
An 18-wheeler load of water had arrived, but they were having to unload it by hand. This provided the setting for one of the most inspirational things we saw happen in our brief time there.
Paul, the fork-lift driver!
Jeff Moyle, Jeff Nave and I were at the entrance to the "supply depot" when a strong young man named Paul, a member of Northshore Church, walked up. Greeting us, he said to Jeff Nave "I've just got to do something. I'm going crazy!" He shared with us that he had lost his home in the flood and that his supervisor had told him he would be out of work for about a month. He was an experienced fork-lift operator. Within 10 minutes, a flatbed truck pulled into the church parking lot with a brand new forklift on it, with no one to drive it! Jeff Moyle walked across the parking lot and got Paul. The lift was unloaded from the truck, Paul got on it and within 15 minutes after arriving at the church was happily at work doing something he was uniquely skilled at! Coincidence?