I want to use the blog today in the unusual way. I want to share a great need with you, and I am asking each reader to pray about how they might be able to help in some way to meet this need.
I just returned from a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and have a strong leading to share with you the most pressing need that this great seminary has today.
NOBTS has experienced an amazing recovery since Hurricane Katrina flooded the campus in 2005. The campus is beautiful again, operations have fully recovered, and quality young men and women are flocking to the campus to follow God's calling on their lives. However, since the storm, the critical shortage of housing has hampered the seminary's ability to offer housing to all the students who come to New Orleans to study theology and prepare for ministry, missions, and other Christian vocations.
Ninety Two apartments were destroyed by Katrina. As a result of the lost two bedroom units, the seminary routinely places 20-30 student families on a waiting list for on campus housing at the start of each semester. Seminary President, Dr. Chuck Kelley has routinely said that replacing the 92 apartments is the most pressing need we face today.
To further the problem, since Katrina, the city of New Orleans has a much lower amount of housing available, and rents in the area are tremendously high. This is very difficult for Christian families, many of whom have left comfortable conditions at home, to follow God's will for their lives.
Our Board of Trustees approved construction of two new student apartment buildings at our Fall Meeting this past October 14,2009. The cost of the construction is $2.7 million, and ground was broken later that month on the project.
This intuitive will result in a total of 16 new two bedroom apartments (eight two bedroom units in each of the two new buildings). Financing has already been approved for these buildings, construction is underway, and these units should be available to those who come to New Orleans for the 2010 Fall Semester.
While Dr. Kelley was thankful for the opportunity to realize the 16 new apartments, he stated that another eight units are urgently needed, just to meet the immediate student housing demand.
The Trustees approved a motion concerning a third, eight apartment building. The full board authorized the trustee officers to approve the construction of a third building, but only if funds can be raised withing the next year. One of our new trustees, challenged us in October for each trustee to seek to privately raise funds to meet the urgent need for these housing units. Our trustee fundraising goal is $800,000. After two months, we have actually received $18,300 which represents 2% of our goal.
That is why I am writing you today in this edition of "For What It's Worth".
After our tithes to our local church, Linda and I have made it a practice to financially support NOBTS each month. We realize that we are living in economically depressed times. The giving has not been easy, but we have been blessed for it.
I believe there are a number of readers of this blog, who could help in some way. Some are financially blessed and could give a very healthy sum to this urgent need. Some may only be able to spare "the widow's mite". No gift would be too small (or too large)! Anything given to this need can be multiplied in the hands of a God who fed more than 5,000 people from a little boy's lunch bag. One could give monthly, or a one time gift. Some might consider including NOBTS in their will. Whatever is given will go directly to the serious housing need.
Our son is working on his Doctorate at NOBTS, but he and his family are blessed to be living in a parsonage supplied by the church he pastors. Many other students are not as fortunate. In fact, it is likely that our church will have two newly married couples on the NOBTS campus next fall. Your gift to this initiative could very well help them to find affordable housing on campus.
Will you pray about what God might have you to do?
For more information, you may contact me via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (304) 412-0352. I'll be happy to share an informational packet with you. Checks should be made out to New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (marked "Trustee Housing Project" in the memo section). May God lay it on the hearts of many to do what they can to give a gift that will go on giving for the furtherance of the Gospel, well beyond our own lifetimes!