Susan Barbin is used to odd things in her house.
After all, she has a rooster named Pearl who she rescued and nursed back to health and who sleeps inside a dog crate.
(And yes, if you ask Susan, the rooster does indeed provide the perfect alarm clock.)
But she’s not used to a bunch of Ohioans repairing and rebuilding her flooded home.
“I honestly have no idea where they came from. I mean, I know they’re from Ohio,” Barbin says. “But I have no idea why they came to help me. They’re like a bunch of angels.”
With a smile, Roscoe Duncan quickly points out, “We don’t consider ourselves angels. We just appreciate the talents that have been given to us, and we believe we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”
Duncan and about a dozen other volunteers are from Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church and have been repairing nearly four homes during their week-long stay, including structural repairs and painting inside Barbin’s home.
“Our faith drives us to go and live the second commandment, which is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Period,” says Duncan who is quick to deflect any attention or praise. “We don’t see ourselves as ‘doing’ anything. We are just being led by the Spirit to do what we are called to do. We are just walking in faith.”
It’s a faith that has had the Tip City, Ohio church intricately connected to Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina. Recently, they were made aware of the Baton Rouge flooding after a video team from their church visited the area and documented the epic floods.
That video helped support a Christmas miracle offering and resulted in a $110,000 donation to the Louisiana Annual Conference.
“I am so thankful for the continued commitment from Ginghamsburg UMC to the Louisiana Annual Conference,” says Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey. “Not only have they provided generous tangible gifts, but they have also prayed for us, and now they have chosen to be present among us as they help families restore their homes and their lives.”
“This is worse than Katrina,” says Duncan. “We are dealing with so many people who are uninsured, and it’s just so different because so many people have to shelter in place. On top of that, it’s a catastrophe without a name.”
The Ginghamsburgh crew has been in Louisiana all week and is one of many other United Methodist Church’s from across the connection helping to rebuild and restore hope in Louisiana.
Seven months have passed since the flood, and Barbin has been searching for answers ever since. However, she has grown closer to God as a result.
“Oh, no doubt! I’ve reconnected with God through all of this,” she says through tears. “I don’t know how to express it in words. I just felt so lost and alone and then - all of a sudden, people I don’t even know just start helping? Giving up their time, traveling so far, it’s just awesome. I’ve thought a lot about this, and while I don’t have words for it, I know it's left me with a desire to do the same thing for others.”