Volunteers rebuild more than homes
    August 24 2015 by Chad Austin, BSC Communications

    As Paul Kenny tried to put the pieces of his life back together following Hurricane Sandy, little did he know that meeting some folks from North Carolina wearing yellow shirts would change his life.
     
    Like many New Jersey residents, Kenny evacuated as Hurricane Sandy approached in October 2012, leaving behind his home and possessions. When he returned several days later, he discovered that 16 inches of water had flooded his home. As he began throwing out all of his belongings, that’s when two “guys in yellow shirts” showed up.
     
    “Two gentlemen came banging on my door,” recalls Kenny, nearly three years after the storm. “I had two piles of clothes and furniture out there (on the curb); everything I owned. They asked if I needed any help. I said, ‘OK. How much?’ They said, ‘Free.’ I looked at them and said, ‘What’s the gimmick?’ They wanted to do it for free.”

     
    8-23-15NCMO.jpg

    BSC photo by K Brown
    Paul Kenny credits North Carolina Baptists with changing his life. Through the ministry of Baptists on Mission (also known as N.C. Baptist Men), Kenny was introduced to Christ and baptized in 2014. He now serves on projects related to Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts. N.C. Baptists have a partnership in New Jersey helping people repair and rebuild homes.

    Those “guys in yellow shirts” were among the hundreds of volunteers from the North Carolina Baptist Men (NCBM; also known as Baptists on Mission) disaster relief ministry, who went to the region to assist in the cleanup and rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of the storm.

    The volunteers began working with Kenny to help him reconstruct and paint his home. As they worked alongside one another each day, the volunteers conversed with Kenny, asking him about his spiritual beliefs and sharing the gospel with him.
     
    Kenny, who didn’t attend church and had never read the Bible, said he “had a million and one questions.”
     
    Patiently and caringly, the NCBM volunteers answered Kenny’s questions and continued talking with him about Jesus. They also gave Kenny a Bible, which he quickly read cover to cover. Eventually, Kenny trusted Christ as his Savior and was baptized in July 2014.
     
    “They helped me tremendously [with] painting and helped me tremendously spiritually. If they didn’t help, I’d probably still be sheet-rocking my home,” Kenny said with a laugh.
     
    Shortly thereafter, Kenny started volunteering with NCBM, assisting his fellow neighbors in the ongoing relief efforts.
     
    And like the volunteers who befriended him, Kenny also shared how his own life had been changed through the power of the gospel.
     
    “They turned my whole life around, meeting the Baptist men and women,” Kenny said. “They changed my life, 100 percent. They helped me believe in God, 100 percent.
     
    “They want to spread the Word of God more than anything. It’s phenomenal.”
     
    Disaster relief is just one of the 18 different ministries of NCBM, all of which are supported by the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO). The offering, typically received in September, also supports other ministries that seek to share the love of Christ and the gospel with individuals just like Paul Kenny across the state, nation and world.
     
    NCBM volunteers not only helped Kenny rebuild his home, they helped him rebuild his life.
     
    “Putting people’s lives back together is pretty cool,” Kenny said.
     

    8/24/2015 12:20:45 PM by Chad Austin, BSC Communications | with 1 comments
    Filed under: Baptists on Mission, disaster relief, Hurricane Sandy




Comments
Elaine O'Neill
Praise God for Paul's testimony. I met him and he is a changed man. Praise the Lord for NCBM and especially Billy and Ann Layton and their humble leadership in doing God's Disaster Relief work in New Jersey.
8/29/2015 7:33:17 AM

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