In 2020, Hurricanes Laura and Delta devastated the Lake Charles area while other hurricanes impacted other areas of the Gulf Coast from the eastern part of Texas to Florida and up the east coast. Since that time many churches have been devasted or destroyed by disasters. Many of these congregations remain displaced and their church buildings are in disrepair. The Cyrus Movement's mission is to assist these congregations in restoring or rebuilding their church buildings so that they may return to their places of worship.
Our goal is to raise $200,000.00 to help rebuild and restore one church in Lake Charles destroyed by the hurricanes. Any remaining funds will support future disaster response and recovery efforts to rebuild churches in our movement.
Our initial project will raise funds and mobilize teams to rebuild one church that was devasted by hurricanes in Southwest Louisiana (Lake Charles). The first church we are working with is The Lord's Outreach International Ministries, pastored by Dr. Russell and Rev. Leona Benoit. Its church building was recently torn down FEMA engineers determined that it could not be restored. We need your help to rebuild it.
The church was severely damaged by the hurricanes (see below). We are giving this ministry priority because they have the only organization housing the homeless in Lake Charles. The Salvation Army did not reopen after the hurricanes. It is a Full Gospel, Non-Denomination Ministry. Please see the video tour HERE.
The Lord's Place (Shelter for Men) and The Potter's House (Shelter for Women and Children), located in Lake Charles, Louisiana shelter 70 men, women, and children. Dr. Beniot operates a mission for homeless men and Rev. Beniot operates one for homeless women.
A new roof was put on the shelter and repair work inside was done.
The Manager's House for the men's shelter (across the street from the men's shelter)
A new roof was put on the women's and repair work was done. Please see the video tour HERE.
Our first objective is to rebuild their church. The Benoits have used their personal resources and insurance money from these buildings to put new roofs on and repair the homeless shelters to ensure the homeless they serve are safe and secure. Now, they need our help to rebuild their church building. They had been paying $18,000 a year for insurance on the church for many years but were informed by the insurance company that the type of event was not covered by their insurance. The wind tore off portions of the roof and the rain came in causing the destruction with parts of the second floor caving into the first floor. Because floodwaters did not cause the damage, their insurance did not pay. Our initial plan was to help repair the existing building but a survey by FEMA engineers declared it not safe to be repaired. So our goal is to help rebuild the church. To add salt to that wound, in May 2022, a heavy rainstorm flooded the Benoits' personal home while they were sitting in it. Their insurance paid for the repairs but not for a place to live during the repairs. Their home has been repaired. Please help us to give them some relief by helping us rebuild their church building.
Our mission is to Build a Vehicle of Hope to Inspire and Mobilize Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Long-Term Recovery in Black Churches and Black Communities across the United States. The United Methodist, Southern Baptist, The Mormons, and many other denominations have disaster ministries with churches with armies of people ready to respond, equipped, and well-funded. We need the same for our churches and community.
Let's work together and get READY. Our churches need help. It is very hard for many congregations to recover when their building has been devasted after a disaster. Insurance has become so expensive that some have no insurance. Others' insurance falls way short of rebuilding, and others have had to take very high deductibles to be able to afford the premiums and they can't pay the deductible. Their congregations are scattered and not paying tithes and offerings because they are dealing with the damage to their personal homes and may have lost their jobs because of the disaster. These are tough times.
The name "The Cyrus Movement" comes from Ezra 1:1-5. King Cyrus said that God had charged him to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
To be effective, it will require strong collaboration. Kingdom Works, Inc., The LASER Movement, and Community Circles, Inc. invite you to join us in building this collaborative so that we can be better prepared and always be READY to respond when disaster hits.
As the CEO of The LASER Movement founded by my former pastor, Chuck Singleton of Loveland Church of Fontana, CA, and as CEO/Founder of Kingdom Works, Inc., I worked on the recovery of Hurricane Katrina for five years in New Orleans. Noel Wiggins, CEO/Founder. of Community Circles, Inc., worked along with me. Because we learned a lot about disaster response and recovery through that journey, God has called us to pass on that learning to:
- equip our churches to teach disaster preparedness to our members and community,
- have teams trained and READY to respond,
- a budget in place, and
- a plan to raise additional finances as needed in times of disaster.
The motivation for this national movement comes from my experience in New Orleans. Very few African-Americans or African-American churches came to help. The City was crawling with whites from all across the country gutting out and rebuilding homes and businesses and volunteering in different ways. It broke my heart that only a few of us showed up. I would be so excited when I would meet a black person who came to help. Don't get me wrong, I appreciated what our white friends were doing and I encourage them to continue but I want us to show up too. I want us to do our share.
I don't believe it is because we don't want to help. I believe it is because we do not know how to help. We haven't had a vehicle to do it through. We are compassionate and caring people. Through this movement, we can stir up the spirit of compassion in our people, show them how they can help, provide a vehicle for them to come help with the work, and give funding to support the work. I believe when the opportunity is presented we show up strong.
To learn more about our overall work and impact in disaster preparedness, response, and long-term recovery movement for churches and our community click HERE to visit.