A Pastoral Letter after the Tornados

Dear Folks,

Thanks be to God who watches over us and provides help in time of need. In Spalding County we have been witnessing many who are helping with the aftermath of the tornados. FOX 5 Atlanta reports, “More than 360 volunteers have registered to help, with many more just rolling up their sleeves in an effort to clear it all.” The Spalding County Sheriff’s Office “reports that a total of five tornadoes touched down last Thursday.” The most severe was an EF-3, where winds are strong enough to lift mobile homes and snap trees. Our own Missy had reported over twenty trees had been felled across their family’s property blocking their driveway access to the road. The family had been working since Friday to clear the fallen trees, and seven volunteers aided them this past Sunday to finish the job. Praise God! 

As I drove through the area, the destruction is heartbreaking. But the evidence of the Spirit of God is abundant through the many who are helping out. There are power lineman trucks with as many as 150 lineman, many from other states who are working to restore electrical service. There are several groups, like Colliers, City Church, and First Methodist who are providing food, blankets and other needed supplies. Various local restaurants are feeding workers. And there are several individuals who are delivering food and supplies to those in need. 

Yet the need is so great. Many still without power. Many lines still down. Many homes destroyed. FEMA is now in town and beginning to better coordinate relief efforts, and that’s a good thing. Spalding County is perhaps the worst hit, with Butts, Henry, Jasper, Meriwether and Troop counties all now officially declared disaster areas, which qualifies them for federal assistance. And then there are other areas of the Nation like Selma, Alabama where tornados caused even more devastation, or California where an “atmospheric river” of eight consecutive storms has caused unprecedented flooding and destruction, homelessness and loss of life.

Ironically, just before the tornado warnings were issued on Thursday past, I had just finished taking an online course through FEMA to get trained for Incident Command System (ICS), which helps prepare volunteers to work with various government and private sector teams when they respond to any crisis or disaster. In fact, all of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference pastors were together last week for our annual ministers meetings to begin this training in association with Adventist Community Services. The Griffin church heard my sermon this past Sabbath which began with that story/illustration. The Thomaston church will hear that sermon this coming Sabbath. 

If you missed the service, here is the YouTube link: 

I am thankful for the elders of these two churches, Richard, Mort and Norm, who have taken up the mantle to preach when I am away, for I cannot be at both churches every Sabbath. And yet I pray…

Tonight, Tuesday at 6:30pm the Griffin prayer group will meet on Zoom. Tomorrow afternoon, Wednesday at 1:00pm the Thomaston prayer group will meet in their fellowship hall.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Dean

Published by Dean C. Read

I am a follower of Jesus Christ who seeks to make Him known to those who do not yet know Him, and to make Him better known to those who do. Thus, God has led me throughout my life of now over 6 decades. I have been married to and in love with the same woman for over 38 years and we have children and grandchildren whom I also love. That does not mean my family has not been through trials. We human beings certainly know how to test and even hurt those we love. But, God Himself also knows the challenges, the trials and even the fickleness of human love. Yet, Jesus has demonstrated that God's love is sure and secure, faithful to the very end. So, yes, I love because God is love. And, I seek to make the love of God known as it should be. I am a pastor, a preacher and a teacher of God's word, the Bible. Before I became a preacher, I was a public school teacher, and before that I worked at various jobs including, painting, construction, ambulance EMT, parts assembler, and even a paperboy back in the day. In school I played trumpet in the band, was a track and cross country runner, enjoyed most subjects including History, English and Science, and yet, after graduating from high school, I struggled to find my path. Perhaps you can identify? I did not graduate with my Bachelor's degree until I was 26 years old. And yet, from an early age I knew that God was a God of love, and that He had a plan for me, if I would just be open to His leading. God has brought me through many trials, and has always been there to pick me up when I had fallen or been discouraged. And now, I hope to write in such a way to attract others to this God of love. By the way, I also enjoy camping, reading and outdoor activities, especially strolls on the beach, or hiking a mountain trail. My favorite places on earth are Sequoia National Park because of the Giant Sequoia trees, Yosemite National Park, and the jewel of Georgia known as Jekyll Island. I could tell you more; but hopefully, as you read my posts you will learn more about the God whom I love.

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