Wednesday, June 1, 2022
Matthew 25:35-40 “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” …“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Seventeen years ago, right after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Spirit of God clearly directed me to lead our church to adopt a sister church in the storm-ravaged area of southern Louisiana. For 9 years people from our church made multiple trips to the bayou to help rebuild homes in an attempt to introduce the owners of those homes to the Savior who can rebuild their lives. The pastor of the church we adopted, was making a difference in the lives of people who were devastated by two hurricanes. His name is Jerry Moser, and his story was told in an October 2, 2005 article in The Baptist Message magazine. The article was entitled “Sawmill helps pastor minister to needy, lost.“
BAYOU DULARGE, Louisiana – This verse (Matt. 25:35-40) fittingly describes the work Pastor Jerry Moser has been doing in the tiny south Louisiana fishing community of Bayou DuLarge for the last 26 years. With a portable sawmill, a knack for carpentry, and a giving heart, Moser has ministered to needy families on Bayou DuLarge whether they are a member of his tiny church or not. He is a beacon in a sea of despair and poverty.
“Brethren helping brethren,” Moser said. “I believe it is what our Lord commanded us to do. Helping the most unlikely is how the salvation and righteousness of God is going to be revealed to the people of the world. I believe if the church is attractive enough to outsiders, and by that I mean if people see how we love all men, care for our brethren, and help our neighbors in times of need, it might get them to thinking they may want to be a part of a church like this.”
Storms like these are a boon for Moser’s sawmill ministry, providing opportunities for him to reach people in need. The pastor has devoted a large portion of his time to cutting up fallen trees. He also gets a number of calls from people offering him their storm-damaged trees. He takes all that he can get. Over the years, Moser has cut hundreds of thousands of board feet, and has put it to good use, either ministering directly to those in need or selling what he can to make ends meet for church and family.
“A lot of this lumber is used in helping the people in this community to rebuild after a storm,” Moser said. “With the price of lumber these days, it comes in handy, especially for those who don’t have a lot to work with in the first place.”
Over the years, Moser and volunteers from numerous churches in Louisiana and across the nation have helped the people of this community to rebuild after each devastating storm.
“I can’t tell you the number of storms that have passed through here,” Moser said. “But each is an opportunity from God to reach lost people. When our church began this repair/rebuild ministry, at least three quarters of the people we helped after a storm were not saved,” Moser said. “Today, as we prepare to help the community rebuild and recover, two-thirds of the people we will help are members of our church.”
Moser, though, is concerned about how many will come back to rebuild.
“We are on a marsh island that is only 16 inches above sea level. It is slowly sinking into the Gulf of Mexico,” Moser said. “After Hurricane Rita in 2005, many people knew they had to get their houses raised up off the ground. We were able, with the help of a lot of volunteers from a lot of different churches, to get some houses repaired, rebuilt, or raised up on new foundations,” the pastor continued. “Those houses rode out these last two storms pretty well. But there were some that we were just not able to get to quickly enough to help get them up off the ground. These families were not as fortunate, and I am afraid some may not stay. They may move closer to the city [Houma]. I would hate to see them leave, but some are no longer physically up to the challenge or just don’t have the money to rebuild,” Moser said.
Regardless of how many make that decision, Moser, whose church building – Bayou DuLarge Baptist – sits on pilings ten feet off the ground, plans on staying and helping people to rebuild and recover.
“Our young adults may be the ones that need the most help,” Moser said. “We need to help them – we need to extend out our hands and help them get back up on their feet. Brethren helping brethren. It is what God wants us to do,” Moser said. “And it is what I plan to do as long as God allows me to do so.”
What a great testimony to the compassion of Christ. If you were to spend any time at all with Jerry, as I have, you would know that he is sincerely in love with Jesus and sincerely His servant. You would see the touch of Jesus on people’s lives who would never had known Him unless they had seen Him in person – in the person of Pastor Jerry. Lives that are lived with such a sacrificial spirit truly make a difference.
You are serving Jesus when you help others, and it makes a difference.