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,