Year after April 16 tornadoes, N.C. Baptists reflect on lives impacted
    April 16 2012 by Shawn Hendricks, BR managing editor

    Memories of the April 16 tornadoes that swept through North Carolina – claiming 24 lives – one year ago still remain clear for those impacted, including the thousands of volunteers who pitched in to help.
     
    Testimonies from that disaster were shared during the 37th annual N.C. Baptist Missions Conference, with the theme “Glory to God,” April 13-14 at Hickory Grove Church in Charlotte.  The conference spotlights the many missions efforts carried out around the state and across the globe – by both men and women – through the Convention’s N.C. Baptist Men’s ministry. (EDITOR’S NOTE – To read more about the conference and to see related images check out our upcoming April 28th issue of the Recorder.)
     
    “It’s been a very busy year … for disaster relief,” Richard Brunson, executive director-treasurer for N.C. Baptist Men, told a crowd of about 1,200 people that gathered during the two-day event.
     
    In 2011, N.C. Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief Ministry responded to 19 different disasters – two of the biggest for that year included Hurricane Irene and the April 16 tornadoes.
     
    Brunson reported that during just those two disasters, N.C. Baptist volunteers provided more than 278,000 meals and completed more than 3,300 related recovery and rebuild projects.
     
    Volunteers have helped people pick up the pieces of their lives – both physically and spiritually.
     
    04-16-12tornado-1-(1).jpg

    BR file photo

    In 2011, N.C. Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief Ministry responded to 19 different disasters – two of the biggest for that year included Hurricane Irene and the April 16 tornadoes.


    “Many people have come to know Christ because of [these relief efforts],” Brunson said. “I can’t think of a one of them where God didn’t do as Ephesians 3:20 says ‘more than we could hope for, more than we could imagine.’
     
    “[Disaster relief is] just one of many things that God’s doing,” he added. “It’s not what we are doing, it’s what God is doing.”
     
    Shortly after the storms that hit the state last April, disaster relief volunteers sprang into action – mobilizing churches, providing meals, clearing debris and putting blue tarps on damaged roofs. According to reports, more than 6,000 homes in the state were damaged the storm.
     
    This past December, four newly constructed homes in Bertie and Hertford Counties were dedicated and presented to families whose houses were destroyed. In Bertie County, alone, 12 people lost their lives.
     
    During the conference, Mark Gaskins, pastor of Jonesboro Heights Baptist Church in Sanford, shared how lives were also impacted in Lee County – where two people were killed and about 400 structures were either damaged or destroyed.
     
    “The face of Sanford in Lee County was changed forever,” Gaskins told the crowd.  “It was devastating.”
     
    Gaskins shared how the following day, Palm Sunday, two individuals from N.C. Baptists Men’s Disaster Relief Ministry approached him.
     
    “I can’t describe what I felt when I saw that they were dressed in yellow,” Gaskins said.
     
    “Jesus had shown up all week long in yellow shirts and work clothes as the men and women of disaster relief … coordinated a host of volunteers from all over our state and some from others states.”
     
    “People just showing up early in the morning [asking], ‘What can we do to help?” he added.
     
    04-16-12ncbm-2.jpg

    BSC photo by Mike Cresswell

    Richard Brunson, executive director-treasurer for N.C. Baptist Men, speaks April 13 during the 37th annual N.C. Baptist Missions Conference at Hickory Grove Church in Charlotte.


    “In the aftermath of this tragedy in our city and our county, North Carolina Baptists … truly embodied the presence of Christ … in a most remarkable way, and God was glorified.”
     
    During the conference, Brunson and others explained how all of this is possible through gifts to the North Carolina Missions Offering. For more information contact them at (919) 467-5100 ext. 5599.
     
    Training still available
    For those interested in disaster relief training, there are still slots available for a variety of skill levels. These trainings will be held April 20-21, May 18-19 and June 1-2. Costs vary depending on training.
     
    To find out more information about locations and times, call (800) 395-5102, ext. 5599. To find out more specifics about the training visit baptistsonmission.org. Click “training,” then “training opportunities” and choose “Disaster relief.” Email mmountz@ncbaptist.org.
    4/16/2012 3:46:35 PM by Shawn Hendricks, BR managing editor | with 1 comments
    Filed under: Conference, Disaster, Missions, NCBM, Relief




Comments
Don Roberts
I would like to thank ALL who assisted us in Colerain, N.C., in the recovery and rebuild efforts, especially the N.C. Baptist Men. Their ministry to our area will never be forgotten.
4/18/2012 8:35:44 AM

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