By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
Tennessee Baptists have every reason to be proud. Our disaster relief teams have once again responded to show God’s love to a hurting community — and this time it was in their own back yard.
Many Tennessee volunteers did not have to travel as far, but Tennessee Baptists from all over the state trekked to Waverly and other parts of Humphreys County to respond to people devastated by flooding caused by 17 inches of rain in ONE DAY on Saturday, Aug. 21.
The flooding resulted in the death of at least 20 people, according to published reports, and individuals still were missing as of Aug. 30.
The flooding and loss of life and property was devastating to the residents of Waverly, McEwen and other parts of Humphreys County.
Again, enough cannot be said about the response of Baptists and other Christians. Baptists in blue shirts and yellow caps were visible all over the county last week.
First Baptist Church, Waverly, led by pastor Scott Brown, did a yeoman’s job in coordinating relief efforts and housing flood survivors at the church last week. The church also became a distribution center for the community. If folks had a need, all they had to do was go and ask. If the church had it, the people received it.
Tennessee Baptists provided assistance to First Baptist at the church as well as going out into the community to provide flood recovery.
With temperatures in the low to mid-90s most of the week, it was not an easy chore, but Tennessee Baptists got the job done.
And in the midst of it all, Tennessee Baptists made it known they were doing it in the name of Jesus Christ. His love was shown to people regardless of race, religious backgrounds, political parties, etc., Brown said. Everyone was on level ground — and that’s the way it should be.
This is not a one week and done disaster. People’s lives have been changed forever. Homes were removed from foundations, lives were lost. I doubt that there are many residents of that county who were not affected either directly or indirectly by those 17 inches of water.
I am so grateful that Tennessee Baptists and other Christians stopped what they were doing and traveled to show the love of Christ to people who were hurting.
I saw firsthand what can happen if we don’t respond. Others will provide help and they may not be sharing the same message that we do.
I was walking down one of the hard hit streets in Waverly and passed a tent providing free food. I asked who they were and they responded they were from a Buddhist temple. To their credit, they did not “witness” to me but that does not mean they did not share their beliefs with others who stopped by.
The enemy is always lurking, waiting for opportunities. I’m glad Tennessee Baptists were there en masse, serving as the hands and feet of Jesus. His light shined brightly in the darkness and despair of the moment. B&R