If you’ve kept up with any current events in the last two weeks, you’ll know that my beautiful home state of North Carolina was walloped by a category 1 hurricane last week. Over the days since then, flood waters have risen and fallen, different communities have begun to return to their respective homes and assess the short-term and long-term effects of Hurricane Florence.
i’ve never been more shell-shocked by images than I was last weekend. Watching rain pour, wind take down trees that have survived hundreds of years, flood waters rise to overcome homes and cars and lives has moved me in a way that nothing maybe ever has previously. And I have attribute this to a single reason: home. This is my home. As I watched cities and people and homes get battered by floodwaters and wind and tornadoes and more, I’ve see names of tiny one-stoplight places I’ve been make national news (like Burgaw, Craven County, Onslow County, Morehead City, Lumberton, Lillington, the list goes on…) I’ve seen so many posts from friends whose lives have been forever changed by this storm, so of whom don’t have livable homes to go back to and many who have felt and will continue to feel long-lasting effects from Flo.
And I can’t sit by and watch it unfold.
So, I chose to act. As soon as it became available, I signed up with the NC Baptist Men and Women to volunteer to serve victims of Hurricane Florence. Disaster relief is a unique ministry, as you are often a part of the immediate aftermath of the event. You are responding in crisis mode — and many of the lives you touch will be in crisis.
So I’m in New Bern this weekend, trying to be the hands and feet of Jesus to this city.
Let me be clear….I’ve been told more times that I can count today that I am an anomaly. Most people come and do this kind of work with a group, a team of people from their church or community. Well, sometimes, I don’t roll like that. So here I am, by my lonesome, to do recovery work with the Baptist Men and Women. And it’s been SUCH a treat already.
These men and women are GEMS.
Honestly? The median age is probably 55…maybe 60? So I’m young, I’m green and definitely out of place. But they have opened their arms to me, embraced me as one of their own and are loving on me in their own way. At devotion tonight, hearing their stories of trial and triumph from the day were inspiring and gracious and have revealed the Lord in a fresh and new way. They are working as only those who are in love with Jesus can, and have already been so, so generous to me.
I ask for yall to pray for me. Pray for our teams tomorrow — for safety and for us to be able to live out the mission. We are down on our knees praying with you.
Love you all!