After devastating flooding in Louisiana, a student, a family, a church and a community are bouncing back with the help of the students, faculty and staff of Cedarville University. Bekah Luce, a junior nursing major at Cedarville, and her family lost everything when the flooding struck Denham Springs, Louisiana in late August.
Bekah’s church, Amite Baptist Church, led by her father and head pastor Michael Luce, was also affected by the flooding.
“We’ve experienced a tremendous amount of devastation because of the flood,” Michael said. “It was unexpected. It was shocking to a lot of us.”
When the Cedarville administration heard of the damage, it immediately moved to action by arranging an offering for the church during the annual Fall Bible Conference, which was held on Aug. 22-25.
“Churches are usually the first to serve the community and reach out to the hurting when disaster strikes,” Jon Wood, vice president for Student Life and Christian Ministries at Cedarville University, said. “When the flooding devastated the Amite Baptist Church facilities, the Cedarville community stepped in to help them get back on their feet to share the gospel and demonstrate the love of Christ to their community.”
During the Fall Bible Conference, the students, faculty and staff of Cedarville raised over $16,000. Wood said the money will only be used to “build up God’s church in Louisiana.”
According to Michael, Amite Baptist has resumed services, but is limited in how many of its buildings it can use due to the damage.
The church is also doing its best to impact the surrounding community in this trying time. One way they recently did accomplish this was by renting equipment that helped move trash from yards and homes closer to the road, helping others in their own rebuilding processes.
The money from Cedarville is going toward the restoration process. Some of the current renovation projects include removing water-logged drywall and tearing up and replacing ruined flooring.
Bekah said that the money from Cedarville is being used for the purpose of rebuilding the church, which is making it easier for the church to focus on helping the community, but there is still a “massive need” for more money and other assistance.
The flooding struck just 10 days before Bekah was supposed to return to campus. She described the experience as “shocking.”
“I think we’re still trying to process that we lost everything,” she continued. “Our house, our car, all our memories. It’s hard to take it in.”
She wasn’t even sure she was going to be able to return to school, but through the kindness of both the University and friends, she was able to make it back for this semester.
Thanks to Cedarville’s kindness, when Bekah arrived on campus, she found a room stocked full of supplies for the semester. Cedarville is also covering the cost of her tuition this semester.
Bekah is incredibly thankful for these gestures of love by the Cedarville community. However, she keeps her mind on what really matters.
“It shows that things can be replaced,” Bekah said. “You value them more when you lose them, you aren’t as grateful when you do have them. But what really matters is people. I’m happy my family is safe.”