Founder of Lake Charles Homeless Shelters Reflects on Work

By RITA LEBLEU, American Press

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — The Rev. Leona Benoit has discovered objective in ministering to folks on the streets, and to those that now have a spot to name residence, due to her efforts.

When her mom died, Benoit was 10.

“We have been sharecroppers. Daddy needed to work within the fields on a regular basis, and I had 11 siblings,” Benoit stated. “I used to be subsequent to the oldest. My 15-year-old sister and I took care of all of the youthful ones. The youngest was 18 months. I’ve been caring for others in a method or one other ever since.”

Benoit is the founding father of two native homeless shelters, The Potter’s Home, established in 1989, is for girls and kids. The Lord’s Place, established in 1992, is for males. Each have been broken by the hurricanes and repairs are in progress.

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“The Potter’s Home is residence to 16 girls and 4 youngsters now,” Benoit stated. “After repairs are accomplished on our annex, that are estimated to value $45,000, we’ll have the ability to home extra and, after all, we home greater than the norm when the climate is chilly. The Lord’s Home homes 28 males. Damages weren’t as in depth at that property.”

When she began grade college, Leona remembers telling her mom she was going to develop up and transfer to California, construct her mom a big home with a picket fence round it and go to her each day so she might take care of her and numerous classmates she thought wanted care.

“I didn’t understand we have been simply as poor as they have been,” Benoit stated. “I simply knew I didn’t need to work within the fields for the remainder of my life.”

Benoit did go to California in 1967. Whereas she was there, she began a jail and skid row ministry. Thirty-five years in the past Benoit moved again to Lake Charles and rapidly realized Lake Charles didn’t have the homeless housing choices right here that Los Angeles did. There have been, nonetheless, loads of nightclubs.

“God instructed me to exit to the boulevard (Enterprise) on Friday and Saturday, and in two years He would shut each night time membership,” she stated.

She and a gaggle of girls handed out Christian tracts, as much as 200 sandwiches at instances and juice.

“Inside two years, each nightclub was closed besides the American Legion Corridor,” she stated. “Police got here to us and stated they’d been making an attempt to shut these nightclubs for years.”

She stated she noticed many horrific sights throughout these two years, however one particularly stands out.

“We discovered a person laying in a subject. We came upon later he had been overwhelmed nearly to loss of life with a two-by-four. We began praying, binding Devil and the Lord spoke to me, saying if we might pour seven drops of oil on his head, the Lord would resurrect him. We did and He did.”

Benoit helped feed the hungry when she didn’t know the place the cash would come from for the meals and she or he took one other leap of religion when she determined to surrender the monetary assist offered by sure nonprofits and authorities and state businesses for the homeless shelters. Accepting these {dollars} meant she couldn’t make the boys, girls and kids dwelling within the shelters go to church.

“God instructed me to relinquish the funds and never one notice was missed,” she stated. “Every thing that we get is by religion.”

Benoit stated rising up the way in which she did was a assist as a result of she knew stretch a greenback. “When folks ask me how I began these shelters, I inform them, ‘On my lounge sofa,’” she stated. Once I got here into contact with individuals who had nowhere to go, I requested my husband if they may keep and sleep on the sofa for a few weeks.”

Benoit defined what she means when she “hears from God.”

“First it’s important to have a relationship,” she stated. “Then you will need to know acknowledge His voice. In John 10:27, it says my sheep hear my voice and I do know them they usually comply with me. If you’re delicate to the Holy Spirit, He’ll lead you and information you into all fact (John 16:3). And eventually, if what you hear from God isn’t good, isn’t righteous, it’s not from God.”

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