Homes and Hope Restored in Lake Charles

July 20, 2021 • United States
Homeowner Rufus Goodwin gathers with volunteers to pray outside his Lake Charles home.
Homeowner Rufus Goodwin gathers with volunteers to pray outside his Lake Charles home.

God is at work as Samaritan's Purse rebuild teams serve the Bayou State in Jesus' Name.

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When Hurricane Laura roared ashore in southern Louisiana last August, 2020 already felt like a year full of storms for Lake Charles homeowners Rufus and Shirley Goodwin.

Rufus describes what it was like to live through two hurricanes in the midst of COVID-19.

Rufus describes what it was like to live through two hurricanes in the midst of COVID-19.

COVID-19 hit them hard in the spring and hospitalized them both. The symptoms were so severe that they feared for their lives. Then the hurricanes hit. Category 4 Laura, the most powerful storm to hit the Bayou State since 1856, struck the region August 27, 2020, followed weeks later by the Oct. 9 landfall of Hurricane Delta.

What Laura started with violent winds and storm surge, Category 2 Delta finished with more wind and torrential rains. A large tree crashed through the Goodwins’ home, opening the interior to the heavy downpour of both cyclones.

“It was bad,” Rufus said, recounting how they’d hoped to move back into the structure and make repairs along the way. “Then my son came here and said ‘You can’t live here.’ You could smell the mold. The mold was everywhere—in the walls, the ceiling, the floor.”

The floor had become so wavy and warped with water that, Rufus said, it was “like walking in a fun house. The floor made you lean to one side when you walked through here.”

Over the following months, while living with their son in Florida, Rufus and Shirley called everywhere they could think of for help as they wondered whether they’d ever make it back home. They hadn’t heard that Samaritan’s Purse was still in Lake Charles.

God Sent Samaritan’s Purse

Just days after Laura struck, Samaritan’s Purse deployed U.S. Disaster Relief volunteers into communities to help clean up homes and property and tarp damaged roofs. We responded in the same way after Delta swept through.

The damage was so severe and widespread that, in the early weeks of 2021, we decided to transition teams toward rebuild efforts. This project involves providing minor and more wholesale repairs and, in some cases, complete rebuilds from the ground up.

We had helped the Goodwins during the initial relief and cleanup phase of our response. Then we contacted them again, this time to return with rebuild teams. We began work on their home in the spring of 2021. We removed the moldy parts of the home’s interior—including ceiling, walls, and flooring—and began rebuilding the home on the inside.

Rufus and Shirley moved back to Lake Charles to live with family and to see the progress as their home was made livable again.

Volunteer Liz Kruse joined our rebuild efforts with husband, Kevin.

Volunteer Liz Kruse joined our rebuild efforts with husband, Kevin.

Volunteers have arrived from all over the country to be a part of our rebuild efforts in Lake Charles, including Chicago couple Kevin and Liz Kruse. They learned about the opportunity through their church.

“I’m just grateful that I have the time and resources to be able to do this,” Kevin said. “I wish I’d started doing this a long time ago.”

Kevin and Liz spent a week painting the new walls of the Goodwin’s bedrooms and hallway.

“It’s amazing to see just how much this work impacts them for the little bit of time and effort that my husband and I have put in,” Liz said. “It’s just been such a blessing to us as well. This home is filled with so many memories and so much love. It’s just beautiful to bless them like this.”

Restoring Hope Through Rebuilt Homes

“It’s been tough,” Rufus said. “But God has been with us all the way through. God knows us and our thoughts and feelings. He understands what we’ve been through.”

Our team presented a Bible and a Paid-in-Full certificate.

Our team presented a Bible and a Paid-in-Full certificate.

In June, the Goodwins finally returned to live in their home. Samaritan’s Purse staff and volunteers welcomed them back during a special ceremony, which include a time of prayer. Their home was among the first repair jobs to be completed in Lake Charles since we started that project on Jan. 17.

“God sent us Samaritan’s Purse,” Rufus said. “They are God-sent people. God sent Samaritan’s Purse to bring us from where we were to where we are now.”

So far, more than two dozen repair or rebuild projects are scheduled in Lake Charles and a number of these are underway or completed. Please pray as our volunteers continue to work in Jesus’ Name to help people return to their homes after such a difficult season of uncertainty. Pray that many lives would be impacted and transformed through the power of the Gospel.

Please pray as well that God would protect Lake Charles and other coastal areas during the approaching hurricane season.

Shirley and Rufus look at the invoice with the words "Paid In Full" stamped across the front.

Shirley and Rufus look at the invoice with the words “Paid In Full” stamped across the front.

SUPPORT
U.S. Disaster Relief Samaritan's Purse mobilizes and equips thousands of volunteers to provide emergency aid to U.S. victims of wildfires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. In the aftermath of major storms, we often stay behind to rebuild houses for people with nowhere else to turn for help.

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