By Rev. Dr. Daynette Snead Perry
Right after Hurricane Florence, I partnered with Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in Atlanta to serve the community of Haiti in Trenton, North Carolina. This area had taken on about six feet of water and all the homes in this three-block area were affected by the rising waters. On our first visit to survey the flood damage, we met an elderly woman sitting on her front porch. She was surrounded by her adult children who were trying to salvage some household items before moving their mom to stay with one of the daughters. After walking through the water-soaked home, she invited us to sit on the porch and shared her story of loss.
As I listened to her quiet voice, I had no idea of the tragedy she was about share. This was not her first flood, but her second. In 1999, the high waters of Hurricane Floyd caused her to lose her husband after he successfully rescued someone else from drowning in the high water. As I was listening to her story, I couldn’t help but pray to ask God how I could help her to heal through another storm and knowing that Hurricane Florence brought back the worst moment in her life, the day her husband drowned.
Hurricane Floyd was a massive storm sweeping five states. Her husband was the first casualty and here she was again, trying to pick up the pieces from another devastating event. In one conversation, I understood the need for Disaster Recovery Ministry and how serving this area would make a difference in the lives of so many hurting people. One year and over 350 CBF volunteers later, we have used our skills, gifts, materials, prayers, and love to help the residents of Haiti move towards restoration. We helped many residents move back into their homes and items are still being provided for construction repairs, new beds, and food scarcity.
God moved in my heart as I sat on the front porch of her home on that first day. I didn’t have a plan or answers, but for a time such as this, I was blessed to be the one called to serve in the small town of Haiti, to disrupt the hurt and be present in the event of deep loss. I thank God for each volunteer who came to minister, serve, and bring comfort to the residents of Haiti. When we live out the Gospel in our lives, it’s amazing what God can do!
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