Church Extends Appreciated Invitation - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

10/10/05 - Nacogdoches

Church Extends Appreciated Invitation

by Donna McCollum

Uncertainty is now replaced with optimism, thanks to the good work of Iron Wheel Baptist Church in Nacogdoches.

One little girl playing outside the church indicated with her hands, "My teacher said it was gonna hit down here, but it hit up here." Hurricane Rita's unexpected turn caused a lot of Beaumont residents to barely get out. Another child said, "The Hurricane Rita was breaking our house." Simple, but accurate reasons why a Beaumont Baptist church that was housing Hurricane Katrina evacuees ended up at Iron Wheel.

Beaumont resident Chrystal Jenkins recalled the pastor's invitation. "Just come. It doesn't matter how many people you have. It doesn't matter. Just come and we'll do the rest." More than 200 arrived.

Their arrival was a divine calling for shelter coordinator Doris Perkins. "Every morning, it was just like a joy to get up. 'Oh, I got to get to Iron Wheel and see about those peoples and see what their needs are.'"

Sunday school rooms were turned into bedrooms. Residents repeatedly said, "Whatever it was we needed, they supplied."

A few of Iron Wheel Baptist's guests returned to Port Arthur and Beaumont to check on their homes. If they can't stay, they'll return to Iron Wheel. The church is seeking financial assistance, but if unsuccessful, it won't stop their mission to help others.

What the guests take home with them are the life lessons. Jenkins listed, "Patience, tolerance, acceptance, and we've learned a little more humility, I think."

Even a young boy learned to look at the bright side of the stormiest day. "They had this big old tree. It fell down on a house in the hurricane, and it made the roof come up, and made the grass come up, and it almost made it a clubhouse."

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