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A Flood of Compassion

Liberty University students reach out to disaster victims in Louisiana

Story by Samaritan’s Purse September 19th, 2016

An army of 48 Liberty University students recently volunteered with Samaritan’s Purse in Louisiana and worked on homes throughout East Baton Rouge Parish. These students worked long, grueling days tearing out moldy drywall and insulation, cleaning floors, removing damaged furniture, and helping homeowners sort through their belongings.

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The students served homeowners like Karen (below) who lost most of her furniture and personal belongings in the flood. Karen escaped the floodwaters because her brother-in-law waded through the water with a raft. Karen is a breast cancer survivor, and her husband is a heart transplant patient who struggles with Parkinson’s Disease.

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“Ya’ll are a godsend. I was sitting here calculating how long it would take me just to go bit by bit to get everything out.”

Karen cried when she thanked the students for coming to help. Since her home is now gutted, contractors will be able to begin restoring the home quicker and cheaper.

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The catastrophic flooding affected more than 100,000 homes across 20 parishes in south Louisiana. Samaritan’s Purse has deployment sites in East Baton Rouge, Lafayette, and Ascension parishes. So far, we’ve had more than 2,000 volunteers come to serve homeowners and share God’s love.

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The student volunteers came through Liberty’s Send Now initiative, which mobilizes students to quickly respond during urgent disaster relief and humanitarian needs. Students accepted to the program are allowed excused absences from class and to make up their coursework.

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Kelsey Baker (below) works in Liberty’s Office of Residence Life, and the Louisiana deployment is her third time helping lead a Send Now disaster response with Samaritan’s Purse. Earlier this year, she led a team in Mississippi, and in April, she was in Texas after flooding hit Houston.

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Liberty students also helped newlyweds Kay (below, green shirt) and her husband Dave. When the water continued to rise Kay packed a suitcase with a few clothes but never expected the water would eventually flood their home. The couple escaped in a small canoe. “I can’t tell you the relief I felt,” Kay said about the day she found out Samaritan’s Purse would be working on her home. “I started crying.”

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“I can’t tell you the relief I felt. I started crying.”
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Junior Sarah Wicker (below) volunteered in Louisiana because she wanted to serve in Jesus’ Name. Sarah enjoyed working with Samaritan’s Purse volunteers from across the country. “Everyone is coming together for the common purpose of helping people. We all want to serve Christ,” she said.

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Through the work and witness of our volunteers and Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains, more than 160 people have come to faith in Jesus Christ among our three bases of operation.

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Dusty and her husband Brian (below) were overwhelmed at the love shown to them by the Liberty students and their willingness to serve people they had never met. Through the witness of students and chaplains, these homeowners prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their Savior. Dusty told the students this was the happiest day of her life.

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“This is the happiest day of my life.”
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Every homeowner Samaritan’s Purse helps after a disaster is given a Billy Graham Training Center Bible signed by volunteers who worked on their home. Homeowner Claude (middle) received his Bible and thanked the students for serving. “It means everything in the world,” said the 75-year-old.

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Volunteers often meet homeowners who remain steadfast in their faith despite tragic loss. They continue to praise God and trust in Him. “You see the Lord’s provision, protection, and goodness,” Kelsey said. “We’re left encouraged and full of faith.”

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Please pray for our disaster relief response in Louisiana. Pray that more people will come to faith in Jesus Christ as we serve in His Name.

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Many more volunteers are still needed in Louisiana. To volunteer, visit the SP Volunteer Network.

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Baton Rouge, LA, United States
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