Just days after devastating storms hit the Midwest earlier this week, Southern Baptists have mobilized to help homeowners and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the impacted areas.
On Monday and Tuesday (May 20-21), a violent storm system swept through the central United States producing 97 tornadoes and leaving at least eight dead. The storms have led to extensive flooding throughout the region, too.
Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief teams are set up in the state’s capital, Jefferson City, and Carl’s Junction. Carl’s Junction, near the Oklahoma and Missouri border, was hit Wednesday night (May 22) when a tornado started southwest of town and moved northeast through Carl Junction, Oronogo and Golden City.
Carl’s Junction is about 4 miles north of Joplin, Mo. The storm came eight years to the day after an EF5-rated tornado hit Joplin killing 158 people.
“What happened [in Carl’s Junction] is a tornado came in and over a hill and hit a very populated area,” said Ron Crow, pastor of First Baptist Church of Diamond, and a part of the Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief team ministering in the area.
“It wasn’t a widespread area, but it was very populated. There were a lot of mature trees. It didn’t do tons of structural damage, although it did some, but it did a lot of tree damage, a lot of limbs everywhere.”
Crow, who is the incident commander, and others on the Missouri Baptist chainsaw teams are helping impacted homeowners remove trees and other debris from properties. When they have the opportunity, they are also sharing the Gospel.
Crow and his team from the Spring River Baptist Association in Joplin were able to help the principal of the school where his wife works remove some large trees that were down in the yard. After their help, the principal sent a grateful text message: “Oh my! There are no words for what a blessing your crew was to the Shelleys today. That’s something you truly have to see in action to understand. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You were truly the hands and feet of Jesus today.”
Crow says that other homeowners have been similarly appreciative of Southern Baptists’ ministry in the area.
Another Missouri Baptist chainsaw team is serving in Jefferson City, helping homeowners remove debris and fallen trees.
“It’s a 19-mile long stretch of damage and three-quarters of a mile wide,” said Gaylon Moss, the director of Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief. “But it also contains a number of commercial and industrial properties. Some of the houses we’ve seen have been completely destroyed and others just have some tree damage, no structural damage. It really runs the gamut as far as types of damage in this area.”
Moss says Missouri Baptists hope to point people to Jesus through their response to the tornadoes. He notes an interaction yesterday between a volunteer and a homeowner who was surprised to see help so quickly.
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Source: Baptist Press