What an unbelievable trip our Missions Ministry had in Chattanooga last weekend. It was our second trip for disaster response since the tornado passed in that area just three weeks ago. The devastation is vast, and people are still in shock as they are unsure of what to do next. However, our disaster response team was incredible in their efforts.
We went from street to street, talking to homeowners and accessing what all needed to be done. Our team worked really hard to cut down many trees (some 20-30 inches in diameter), as well as helped to clean up yards and damaged houses. We also had the opportunity to have several gospel conversations and prayed with people that we met and served.
During one of the assessments, a couple was in complete shock and wondered why we would come to help them during this time. I had the opportunity to share that our work included more than cleaning up broken trees and damaged houses. I mentioned that the love of Jesus compelled us to serve and that we wanted to share His love with them. They cried and couldn’t believe that we wanted to help them, especially free of charge. We planned for our team to come out the next morning to begin working. When our team members arrived, the wife had coffee and breakfast ready for us. And the husband, who was in his sixties, wanted to help out, too. So, we were able to work together to clean up their property, as well as their neighbor’s yard.
I always tell our team that the most important aspect of our response efforts is not the manual labor but rather it’s being present for people. We get the opportunity to put down our chainsaws for a moment and simply be with those who have faced hardships. We’re able to listen, and they tell us their story.
One of those amazing stories was from a certain couple, who had described their experience during the tornado. The wife was inside at the time and the husband was in the yard as the tornado rapidly approached their home. While the winds escalated, he was miraculously able to pull himself through the front door without getting hurt and went to be with his wife in the lower part of the house until the storm passed. When they were able to walk outside again, they looked back at their home and noticed that the cross, which they had hung on their door for Passover, was untouched and still in place.
The cross truly stood as a testament of a profound truth: the world may be shaken, but the work of the Lord will not be. The work of Christ gives us the motivation and responsibility to continue in the labor that is before us. And, His life gives us hope for today and every tomorrow.
If you would like to volunteer with us in our disaster response efforts, please contact us here. We are still in need of help in Chattanooga, as well as in Nashville, as we continue to respond to the effects of this year’s tornadoes and recent thunderstorms. If you would like to give during this time, you may make your donation here. We thank you for your continued prayers and support as we continue to engage the whole person with the whole gospel of Jesus Christ anywhere, anytime, with anybody.