Louisiana Homeowner Grateful for God’s Grace

February 19, 2021 • United States
Cary Castile receives a Bible signed by all the volunteers who worked on his home.
Cary Castile receives a Bible signed by all the volunteers who worked on his home.

Samaritan’s Purse volunteers came alongside Cary Castile and more than 900 other homeowners in Lake Charles to demonstrate God’s love in the aftermath of two destructive hurricanes.

U.S. Disaster Relief

Cary Castile wasn’t expecting to be displaced for weeks when he evacuated from Louisiana to Texas ahead of Hurricane Laura in August 2020. And, when he did return to his Lake Charles home, he said the widespread devastation broke his heart.

Cary Castile enjoys spending time with our volunteers.

Cary Castile enjoys spending time with our volunteers.

“Almost the entire city was damaged. The power lines were down. It was a traffic nightmare just trying to get in,” Cary said. “The town looked weird—it looked like a movie scene. Shingles were all over the city and downed trees were everywhere.”

Cary’s home sustained water damage and the backyard was full of tree limbs and debris.

Before Cary could even wrap his mind around what needed to be done, he had to turn around and evacuate again, this time ahead of Hurricane Delta. It would be nearly two months before power was restored and Cary could finally leave his hotel in Texas and return home in October.

“I got depressed after the second hurricane—it broke my spirit. Two in a row is rough,” he said. “If it wasn’t for God’s grace, I would have had a nervous breakdown.”

Answered Prayers

Cary was still grieving his mother’s recent death when the back-to-back storms pummeled southwestern Louisiana. He had moved in with his mom a few years earlier to help out, and although she had ongoing health problems, her death was sudden. “She got an infection, and she went from fully functional to gone in one week,” Cary said.

Kim Broesch rips out damaged ceiling.

Kim Broesch rips out damaged ceiling.

Cary has dealt with his grief and the storm’s traumatic aftermath mostly on his own. Adding another layer of hardship, Cary struggles with diabetes and issues with both his back and his heart. He was fighting through an especially painful week of health challenges when Samaritan’s Purse volunteers arrived at his home on Jan. 21.

“I’m so happy to see you. I thought this was going to be a bad day. But you’ve changed my attitude and even my health,” Cary said to our volunteers. “This is staggering. I wasn’t feeling good. But I’m feeling great now.”

Our team carried out waterlogged belongings from Cary’s home, ripped out a ceiling, and removed yard debris. Cary said he had hardly made any progress since the hurricanes, and he praised God for sending help when he needed it the most.

“You can see the impact of God. Just you guys being here is proof of God—big-time proof. What a blessing. This is very encouraging and uplifting.”

Living for His Glory

Cary is from a military family, as his father served in both the Navy and the Coast Guard. Cary was in the Army, and he was delighted that the Samaritan’s Purse volunteer group that came to help him—Team Patriot—included fellow veterans.

Team Patriot is a Samaritan’s Purse initiative started in 2019 to deploy Operation Heal Our Patriots participants—military personnel injured post-9/11 and their spouses—in the aftermath of natural disasters.

Kim and Jerry are thankful to be serving God together.

Kim and Jerry are thankful to be serving God together.

First-time Team Patriot volunteers Kim and Jerry Broesch came all the way from Idaho to serve homeowners in need in Louisiana. Jerry was in both the Marines and the Army and still deals with issues such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Despite these challenges, Jerry continues steadfast in his faith in God, trusting Him and praying for God to use him to bless others in need.

As a military spouse, Kim not only supports and encourages Jerry, but she also has her own health struggles. Kim lives with two different auto-immune disorders that require her to take 16 medications every day. She’s also had cancer surgery, a cornea transplant, and multiple surgeries due to a car accident.

Yet, Kim refuses to let any of these challenges prevent her from living to the fullest. She said that she presses on, determined to serve people and to honor God: “If we stop living, then why are we here? I want to go and do for others.”

We are thankful for every volunteer who served in Lake Charles.

We are thankful for every volunteer who served in Lake Charles.

Although Kim understands what it means to suffer, she has also experienced God’s grace and strength. Kim became a Christian several years ago during her time in Alaska through Operation Heal Our Patriots. Since that time, God has helped her to work through the anger she still carried from her childhood‚ which involved multiple foster homes and even times of homelessness.

Now, Kim is glad to be sharing what God has done for her and giving back through Team Patriot.

“I know what’s like to not have anything,” she said. “We just wanted to come here and help. This week has been amazing.”

UPDATE (Feb. 22): Our initial disaster response has wrapped up. We are now beginning a rebuild effort throughout Lake Charles. We praise God for the nearly 1,000 volunteers who served 953 homeowners during this deployment, and for the 175 individuals who came to faith in Christ.

U.S. Disaster Relief Samaritan's Purse mobilizes and equips thousands of disaster relief volunteers to provide emergency aid to U.S. victims of wildfires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. In the aftermath of major storms, we often stay behind to rebuild houses for people with nowhere else to turn for help.

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