Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 21, 1955

The Work In Southern Louisiana

Luther Blackmon

Ten years ago I held my first meeting in Southern Louisiana. I was supported by the Norhill Church in Houston for that kind of work and to work with Roy Cogdill in the local duties. At that time there were about a dozen members in New Iberia. Also about the same number, or less, Meeting in the Jewish synagogue in Lafayette. Brother Kenneth Badgett was preaching in both places. He lived in New Iberia and preached there on Sunday mornings, and, if my memory serves me well, in Lafayette on each Sunday night. He also spent some time during the week at Lafayette.

I have preached in both these places several times during these past ten years, and I know of no place where the work has made more progress in the same length of time.

I held meetings at both New Iberia and at Lafayette this spring. At New Iberia seven were baptized, five of whom were mature men. Brother Cecil Hook tells me that the congregation has increased twenty percent in the last year by baptisms. They now have about eighty or ninety members. They have a nice building, well located, and are in the process of building a nice brick home for the preacher on the lot by the church. Brother Hook has been on the local radio for more than twenty eight months with a daily broadcast. I believe that he has been on by tape less than a half dozen times in the more than two years. In other words he has stayed at home and worked. The growth of the work in that section is due, in a large measure, to the radio work. They have made numerous contacts and the people are learning about the church and what it is. Fortunately he can say almost anything he wants to about the Catholic religion, and he wants to say a good deal. This may be hard for people to understand in view of the fact that this part of the State of Louisiana is predominantly Catholic. But it seems that they are less watchful where they have things pretty well sewed up. I predict that they will begin to be more disturbed as the church of the Lord grows stronger. If this section of the country is typical, it demonstrates what I have thought was true all along. Namely, that a local radio program is much more effective than a national hookup. Of all the contacts they have made as a result of radio, I do not think that they have made one through the Herald of Truth.

Lafayette has about the same number of members. They have lost a number, however in the beginning of two other congregations, at Opelousas and Crowley. Oliver Murray, who now lives in Lufkin and preaches at Timberland Drive, lived in Lafayette five years. He also did much radio work. Jesse Kelley has recently moved there. We did not have as many responses there in the meeting (three, I think) as the one in New Iberia but interest was good and Jesse Kelley will be a definite asset to the work in that part of the country. Lafayette has a nice brick building in which to meet. They are planning to enlarge it soon. With about eighty members they have a weekly budget of 255.00 besides an extra $100.00 per month one of the members has been sending to Crowley.

Bryan Vinson, Jr., has recently moved to Crowley to work with the group there. The church there is new.

They have only been meeting for a few months, but I believe that they are having around forty on the Lord's day. Bryan is an enthusiastic young man with the right kind of background and a lot of ability. The brethren in Crowley are fortunate to have him at the beginning of their work.

Bill Crews has recently moved from Opelousas to DeQueen Boulevard in Port Arthur. This leaves Opelousas without a man there. Some men from other places have been filling in, but they need a man on the field. I think it will take a little longer to put the work in Opelousas on a self supporting basis, but it is a challenge for some fellow who wants to do some "mission" work. They will have to have some outside help.

Southern Louisiana is a rich and coming part of the country. We have an opportunity there as great as any I know about anywhere. There is no reason why we cannot plant the Cause in every city there in the next ten years. We have a good start.