Scientology Volunteers Carry On With Their Hurricane Ida Disaster Relief

Scientology Volunteer Ministers clear fallen trees out of a Louisiana graveyard

Providing what local residents need and want can take a unique turn, as it did this week for the Scientology Volunteer Ministers helping in St. Charles Parish, Louisiana.

The Scientology Hurricane Ida Disaster Response team continues its work in neighborhoods where it is still a long road to recovery from the category 4 hurricane that battered the region. Ida is the second most intense hurricane to hit Louisiana, causing an estimated $50 billion in damage. Only Katrina was more severe. 

The Volunteer Ministers returned to Mount Zion Baptist Church, where earlier this week they removed a fallen tree from the parking lot, making it easier for the neighborhood to access food and supplies from the church, as a designated POD (point of distribution). This time their task filled a very different need. 

When Ida struck, the storm toppled trees and snapped off and propelled branches into the graveyard, making it inaccessible to the congregation it has served for over 100 years. The deacon and several parishioners approached the team asking for their help to clean up the cemetery so a funeral could take place.

The age of the graves, tightly packed together, made using tractors and other heavy equipment impossible. So the Volunteer Ministers used chainsaws to clear out the road to the graveyard, cut up the trees and carry out the debris. They also freed up a fallen power pole, making it possible for the power company team to restore power to the church.

One of the trees crushed two graves when it fell. When the volunteers began cutting up the tree, they were attacked by a swarm of bees from a hive inside the trunk.

Just as that happened, the power company arrived and thanked them for freeing up the power pole which made their work go much faster. Noticing the trouble the Volunteer Ministers were having with the beehive, the power company employees brought in a truck with a crane, lifted the tree out of the graveyard—beehive and all—and put it down safely outside the cemetery.

Returning the following morning to complete the task, the volunteers gained first-hand knowledge of just how capricious Louisiana weather can be. Their work began that day in cold pouring rain but by 2 in the afternoon, the temperature shot up 20 degrees—steam literally rising from the ground. This was followed by another torrential downpour. 

Despite the weather and the bees, ants, beetles, spiders, mosquitos and snakes in the muddy ground, a text like the one they received from one of the neighbors they helped on another day made the effort all worthwhile. "Your team members have been in my prayers and thoughts every day since our meeting by the Big Tree at Mt Zion," it read. "Each of you are a wonderful blessing and you are difference makers."

The Church of Scientology Volunteer Ministers program is a religious social service created in the mid-1970s by Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard. It constitutes one of the world's largest independent relief forces.

With the events of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City, Scientology ecclesiastical leader Mr. David Miscavige called on Scientologists to redouble their efforts to aid their fellow man. He issued a directive entitled "The Wake-Up Call," which inspired astonishing growth within the Volunteer Minister program.

As of September 11, 2001, there were 6,000 Volunteer Ministers worldwide. Today, they are among the world's most widely recognized independent relief organizations, with over 200,000 Volunteer Ministers on call internationally.

The tools of the Scientology Volunteer Minister are contained in The Scientology Handbook. A Scientology Volunteer Minister is a person who helps his fellow man on a volunteer basis by helping restore purpose, truth and spiritual values to the lives of others. Volunteer Ministers live by the motto, "Something can be done about it."

For more information, visit the Scientology Newsroom.

Media Relations
Church of Scientology International
(323) 960-3500

Source: Church of Scientology International