First UMC Gonzales

Pastor's Note
From the desk of Rev. Steve Berger, Senior Pastor

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When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:2

Most of us remember where we were on historic days, both triumphs and tragedies. Like the first walk on the moon, July 20, 1969, the fall of the Berlin Wall, November 9, 1989 or the 9/11 attacks, September 11, 2001. How about Sunday, August 14, 2016? The historic, 1,000 year flood had been in progress for three days, dumping 7.1 trillion gallons of water from Lafayette to the Louisiana State line. The 23-30 inches of rain in four days was enough to fill Lake Pontchartrain four times over but this time, we were living in the lake. But I don’t have to tell you that, you and 25% of the people of Ascension Parish lost homes, businesses, schools and other buildings. Thirteen people lost their lives. Many lost irreplaceable family treasures and any feelings of security again. That Sunday morning, I finally found a way to FUMC after many detours and driving through high water. A few of us gathered and huddled together under the dark skies. We worshipped and prayed for the on-going devastation of our community and for the safety of our people. 

First United Methodist not only survived that ordeal but as soon as the road partially cleared, we were mobilizing to help and heal in the best ways we could find, with the most resources we could muster. Thanks to so many of you, our Celebration Center and Education Building became a hub of flood relief, food, cleaning supplies, diapers, clothing, etc. but most of all- it became a place of welcome and hope for a shattered community. I remember the next six weeks as a time of working and praying with so many great people. What a wonderful way to get to know a congregation, than work (and sweating) side by side to meet real needs!

So this year as we approach August 12-16, 2017, the one year anniversary, we can mourn our losses and remember the days before the Great Flood. Or we can choose to do as Governor Bradford and the Pilgrims did- rather than mourn their losses they choose to give thanks for the goodness of God in walking with them, “through the flood and through the fire”. May the Lord bless us with better days ahead and we will give Him the glory in 2017! - Pastor Steve