by Jack Noble
The weather radio went off numerous times throughout the day that flooding was eminent from Bristol to Virginia Beach. Churches around Virginia prepared to respond to their communities and host Disaster Relief volunteers from across the state. But the volunteers would have to come from some other states, as the weather forecasters were projecting flooding across the Commonwealth. SBC of Virginia churches were ready and eager to respond. The churches spent time getting securing supplies, lining up volunteers, and obtaining permission to use buildings. The threat of flood waters was significant across the state, and churches were planning accordingly.
As the different weather systems collided, the storm reached historic levels just a few hundred miles away in South Carolina. The devastation that had threatened Virginia landed just south of us. It was a chance for churches across Virginia to take a short breath.
They quickly turned their minds, though, to the needs in South Carolina. Over 170 Virginia-trained volunteers responded in those first few days after the storm. Of those, 100 were Liberty University students who had received SBC of Virginia Disaster Relief training.
The teams deployed to do some of the hardest crisis work, Flood Recovery. Flood Recovery includes removing every item from the house; deconstructing sheetrock, cabinets, and flooring; washing everything in sight; and sanitizing anything touched by water. It is hard, smelly work. Liberty Baptist Church (Hampton) volunteer Dayna Austin speaking for one of the teams said, “We all agreed that we would never do this work for money. No one could pay us enough, but we would do it to glorify Christ and help someone get to know Him.”
And helping someone get to know Him is exactly what they did. While the volunteers worked on a house in Hemingway, a young man named Chris watched intently from the sidelines. Conversations slowly began, and it wasn’t long before Chris accepted Jesus’ offer of a clean heart. His cousin followed suit just a little while later. Another team from Virginia who served near Charleston had the honor of sharing with a lady who also accepted a clean heart.
Flood Recovery it not for the weak. There is just something about people who will pull up and out wet, moldy drywall, carpet, insulation, and furniture for free, expecting God to do great things and clean hearts along the way.
SBC of Virginia churches had prepared for the worst at home but responded to the worst in South Carolina. Through our Southern Baptist partnership at work, God changed lives.