As soon as Hurricane Dorian exited the Atlantic, NC area, NC Baptist on Mission began setting up a base for disaster relief and recovery at Atlantic Missionary Baptist Church. When assessors arrive they began canvassing the area from Harker’s Island to Cedar Island to get a view of the damage incurred by Dorian. On Sunday, teams were taking job requests from Down East residents who had received damage from the storm. James Davis and I were one of three assessor teams who went out into the communities in response to the damage request. We traveled the Harker’s Island, Gloucester, Otway, Davis, Stacy, Sea Level, Atlantic, and Cedar Island communities. Most of the damage in these communities was roofs in need of tarps and tree damage. When we left on Friday evening, they had received just over 100 applications for assistance.
Being an assessor gives an opportunity to be the first person to visit a damaged property. Not only do we assess the damages, but we get the opportunity to talk with the homeowner and hear their stories of living through the storm. We go to help in physical ways, but we also are there to offer emotional and spiritual support.
When we serve others to try to bless them with physical assistance, we always end up receiving a bigger blessing ourselves.
We had the privilege of meeting a homeowner who is wheelchair-bound. The damage to her home was minimal, but that visit was a divine appointment. She had an accident several years ago and received multiple broken bones. After eight operations, she now has no hip bones at all. Even in her circumstance, she has a positive attitude. She has found a doctor in Virginia who could possibly offer help, but she cannot go with it being more than a day trip and finances do not afford it. She sits in her raised home without a wheelchair ramp, with nothing but a smile on her face. We had a chaplain riding with us on the day of our visit. The chaplain was able to share with her that one year ago he was in a wheelchair from an unknown disease. He was able to share how he did rehab, with doctors and on his own, and now can walk as normal. He shared how he gives praises to God for the healing that he experienced. The began a spiritual connection and conversation between them because of their stories. It was no coincidence they were brought together- God had a plan.
One of the volunteers we worked with is part of a ladies' quilting group and she brought several quilts to share with homeowners. On our way home, we stopped by and gave the homeowner a quilt and cleaning supplies that had been donated for cleanup. Her face lit up. She hugged the quilt close and thought it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. We left and felt blessed beyond words.
This one trip is an example of how no matter when, where, or what kind of mission experience you undertake, God always makes sure that you receive joy and blessings beyond what you can ask for.
CONTRIBUTOR: LINDA POOLE
Linda is a long time member of Aversboro and is a leader in our Student Ministry. She enjoys the opportunity to serve through NC Baptist Men & Women Disaster Relief ministry folllowing natural disasters.