“…For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“…For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”
BAYOU DULARGE – This verse fittingly describes the work Pastor Jerry Moser has been doing in the tiny south Louisiana fishing community of Bayou DuLarge for the last 26 years.
With a portable sawmill, a knack for carpentry, and a giving heart, Moser has ministered to needy families – mostly Catholic – in Bayou DuLarge whether they are a member of his tiny church or not. He is a beacon in a sea of despair and poverty.
“Brethren helping brethren,” Moser said. “I believe it is what our Lord commanded us to do. Helping the most unlikely is how the salvation and righteousness of God is going to be revealed to the people of the world.
“I believe if the church is attractive enough to outsiders, and by that I mean if people see how we love all men, care for our brethren, and help our neighbors in times of need, it might get them to thinking they may want to be a part of a church like this.”
Storms like Gustav and Ike – especially Gustav, with its high winds – are a boon for Mosers’ sawmill ministry, providing opportunities for him to reach people in need.
After Gustav, the pastor has devoted a large portion of his time to cutting up fallen trees.
He also gets a number of calls from people offering him their storm damage trees. He takes all that he can get.
“After Katrina and Rita, I could not put another tree on this property,” Moser said. “And I was just getting down to the last tree from those two hurricanes, when these storms hit. Guess I better start making some more room.”
The variety of trees he gets is amazing, and they in turn make some amazing cuts of wood, Moser said
“I get oak, cedar, cypress, pine, and even some unusual species in here,” he said. “I cut up the trees into the thicknesses and lengths that is needed.”
“Afterwards, I take the boards and place them in a shed that has a special kiln that helps to speed up the drying process.”
Over the last 26 years, Moser has cut thousands of board feet, and has put every inch to good use.
“A lot of this lumber is used in helping the people in this community to rebuild after a storm,” Moser said. “With the price of wood these days, it comes in handy, especially for those who don’t have a lot to start with in the first place.”
Over the years, Moser, and volunteers from numerous churches in Louisiana and across the nation have helped this community to rebuild after each devastating storm.
“I can’t tell you the number of storms that have passed through here,” Moser said. “But each is an opportunity from God to reach lost people.
“When I began, at least three quarters of the people I helped to rebuild and recover after a storm were not saved,” Moser said. “Today, as we prepare to help the community rebuild and recover from the storms, two-thirds of the people are now members of my church.”
Moser, though, is concerned about how many will come back to rebuild.
“We are on an island that is 16 inches above sea level, but it is slowly sinking into the Gulf of Mexico,” Moser said. “After Rita, many people knew they had to get their houses raised up off the ground.
“I was able, with the help of a lot of volunteers from a lot of different churches, to get a number of those houses up high,” the pastor continued. “Most of those houses rode out these last two storms pretty well. But there were some that we were just not able to get to quickly enough to get them up off the ground. They were not as fortunate, and I am afraid they may not stay. They may move closer to the city [Houma].
“I would hate to see them leave, but they are no longer physically up to the challenge or just don’t have the money to rebuild,” Moser said.
Regardless of how many make that decision, Moser, whose church – Bayou DuLarge Baptist – sits almost 12 feet off the ground, plans on staying and helping people, especially the young people, to rebuild and recover.
“The younger kids are the ones that need the most help,” Moser said. “We need to help them – we need to extend out our hands and help them get back up on their feet. Brethren helping brethren.
“It is what God would want us to do,” Moser said. “And it is what I will do as long as God allows me to do so.”