Long Beach, MS - First Baptist Church
Disaster relief volunteers from First Baptist Church, Milton, have made almost daily trips to Mississippi since Hurricane Katrina to deliver water, food and ice, and offer clean-up assistance. They made it as far as Laurel, Miss., on the first trip and Biloxi, on the second. On Sept. 1, a group including Pastor David Spencer delivered water, ice, disinfectants, diapers and other supplies to Long Beach, a city west of Gulfport, and they have returned to Long Beach almost daily since then.
Spencer served as pastor of First Baptist Church, Long Beach, 16 years before moving to Milton in 1996. Hurricane Camille heavily damaged the church, located only a half-block off the Gulf, in 1969, and the church built a new sanctuary in 1973. Hurricane Katrina demolished all the church facilities, along with most of the city.
Spencer baptized Long Beach Mayor Billy Skellie, and Spencer made use of that connection to obtain permission to minister to the devastated community. Residents of Milton have filled the garage of Long Beach Pastor LaRue Stephens with water and supplies, and are currently working to fill a donated warehouse with everything from diapers to gasoline.
First Baptist, Milton, mostly recovered from Hurricane Ivan in 2004 but still suffering the effects of Hurricane Dennis in July, is reciprocating the kindness shone to them by the Mississippi congregation. First Baptist Church, Long Beach, brought 10 truck loads of supplies to Milton after Ivan struck there a year ago.
“They were so kind to us,” Spencer said. “They brought all kinds of supplies – fuel, food and even fresh fruit- right off the boats in Gulfport.”