Category Archives: Service

When Disaster Strikes

Some of you know, and some of you probably don’t, the devastation that my home town has been dealing with for a week as of tomorrow.  Most of VA was struck with unexpected storms with 70-80 mph winds and torrential downpours.  Lynchburg, VA was hit among the hardest.  While now only about 20% of the city is without power, probably somewhere in the 90th percentile was without power when the storm hit, and struggling to endure the 100 degree temperatures.

With extreme heat, lack of power (which means no AC, and no showers for some), and lots of food down the drain, tens of thousands were left wondering what would happen next?

While this past week has been difficult, and even devastating, this week has also been a joy to witness the strength and love of God’s Church.  The news and social media outlets have been flooded with stories of hope.  A story of a 9-year-old boy climbing out of his family’s crushed car to call 911 and save his mom.  The few homes with power opened up to house those who weren’t so lucky.  Local officials working in tandem with relief organizations, local churches and volunteers, and repairmen.  Thomas Road Baptist Church (TRBC) and Liberty University (who, thank the Lord, had power) opening their doors as a shelter and haven from the heat.  The list goes on.

While Lynchburg now has less trees, a few less homes, and a lot of stories, one thing that stands out most to me is the new sense of community as everyone teamed together to get each other through this disaster.  I personally am proud of my dad for leading the charge of organizing and managing the shelter set up at TRBC, and my sister-in-law’s mom for handling all the food.  I am also proud of the many pastors of local churches who gave the charge to their congregations to volunteer and help those in need, even when they were in need themselves.  Many have cancelled vacations and sacrificed much to do what Christ has called us to do.  As Jesus said in a parable in Matthew 25:

““Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.'”

I could honestly go on and on about the things people in Lynchburg dealt with.  Stories of the devastation, and stories of hope.  Today, however, I simply want to ask you this: what would you have done?

We like to think that we will respond in times of distress, but it is often different when it hits us personally.  All the volunteers that helped hand out water, ice, food, and other needed amenities this week could have easily done nothing.  They too were dealing with the loss of power, lack of food, no water, and extremely hot days.  But instead of becoming victims, they rose up to the calling that God had set for them and became heroes, even if in small ways.  In what way can you be Jesus with the things your local community may be dealing with?

Many thanks to Gleaning for the World, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, God’s Pit Crew, Samaritan’s Purse, Hand of Hope, and countless others who have helped those in the Greater Lynchburg Area in this state of emergency!  Pictures courtesy of Theresa Grandstaff.

-Alicia

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