A Friend in Need

Let me tell you about my new friend. His name is David Eldridge and he is the pastor of Eastlawn Baptist Church in Pascagoula, MS. I had the opportunity to spend a little time with David this past week as I traveled with a group of men to the Gulf Coast on a recovery mission.

David, in his late twenties, is a graduate student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary working on his doctoral studies. Anyone who has ever tried to split time between studies and working knows what a challenge that can be.

Eastlawn Baptist Church is a fairly old church. At one time, the neighborhood around it was a place of prosperity. The church was thriving with over 600 in weekly attendance. Over a period of time, the neighborhood underwent a transition as many of the wealthy residents moved away. Attendance began to decline and by the time David arrived as pastor about a year and a half ago, they were running only about 85.

Then came Hurricane Katrina, pushing a storm surge that flooded the church with six feet of water. The inside of the building was destroyed by the water along with the homes of the whole neighborhood. The people of the church began to try to put their lives back together. David and his wife lost their home along with most of their members. The first service after the storm, they had less than 25 in attendance.

Shortly after the storm, a large church in another town called David and asked him to come be their pastor. This would have been a perfect opportunity for him to simply walk away from the rubble and get a fresh start in his life and ministry. Instead, he thanked the church but politely declined their offer. He feels that God knew that Katrina would devastate this neighborhood before He led David to Eastlawn and that God wants him to stay with these people and shepherd them through this process.

David has continued his studies at seminary. He and his wife have had to work at putting their home back together (still in progress). In the middle of all of this, they had a baby boy this past December. He is not only overseeing the reconstruction of the church, but also the homes of several elderly and widowed members of his congregation. While there has been a great outpouring of volunteer help from around the country, the responsibility of coordinating the recovery and rebuilding has fallen on his shoulders.

I told you all of that to say this, David desperately needs our prayers. He is exhausted. He is frustrated by slow-moving government agencies and insurance companies and contractors who are trying to gouge his people. He is trying to be the husband, father, pastor, student, and coordinator that he must be.

Please uphold this man of God and his church before the Lord. If you can, put them on your prayer list at church. I realize that this is only one story among many from this tragedy, but it is the one I know. Our brother needs a special measure of God’s grace to uphold him during this time. May he be strengthened with all might according to God’s glorious power.


14 responses to “A Friend in Need

  1. It’s stories like this that keep things in perspective. Next time one of the kids complains or my wife or even I’m thinking of it I’ll mention David.

    We have much to be thankful for!

  2. Gordon, thanks for this post, and I will be praying for David,his family and his church family!

    take care

    have a great day!

  3. I will keep him and the church in my prayers. I’m sure he was thankful for your help this past week!

  4. Gordon,
    I have lifted David up in prayer, and have added him to our church prayer list.
    Great to hear of this devoted, committed young pastor.

  5. Thanks everybody, I am sure the prayers are appreciated.

  6. I was on the Miss. coast a couple of weeks ago for the second time this year and the destruction was massive. It is going to take time to rebuild. David’s story is an inspiration.


  7. Thanks for your post. It must be so, so hard to keep going. I’ll surely keep him in my prayers and share his story with others.

    By the way, Gordon, I read your comment on Tim’s blog, hoping it wouldn’t be Florida…too bad. They’re the champs…Go, Gators. Can I still read your blog? :=)

  8. We will continue to pray for David and trust tht God will give him the peace he needs to continue the task.

  9. Yes, Beverly, you can still read my blog. The fact is, if you are a Gator fan, you probably need to. 😉

  10. we will pray…I liked your words…”this is the story I know”…

  11. Kenneth Cloud

    I am praying for David and appreciate you fellows going out there.

  12. Thanks everyone for the prayers. When I have opportunity, I will pass it along to David. I am sure it will be an encouragement to him.

  13. Wow! What a powerful testamony! Our prayers are with your friend as he wades through this beauracratic quagmire!

  14. Brenda Wilder

    Gordon, thanks for this story about David. My husband and I watched David grow up in Clinton, MS, and his life has always been a great inspiration. My husband’s Sunday School class has been sending money regularly to assist David and his church, and it was great to read your story. May we all have the dedication and fervor to doing God’s work as David has! Blessings to you.
    Brenda Wilder

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