NCMO Disaster Relief: Here to help
Hurricane Florence struck North Carolina in September 2018, leaving a sea of destruction in her wake. The storm’s heavy rains caused widespread inland flooding across the state as major rivers spilled over their banks.
Roadways and highways remained impassable for days as crews waited for flood waters to recede. In the end, dozens of deaths were reported, along with an estimated $24 billion dollars in property damage and economic losses.
Hundreds of volunteers from Baptists on Mission came to the Carolinas to provide on-the-ground support. They distributed clean water and food and sent recovery teams to pick up debris, clean out houses and repair roofs. Some, like Pastor Steve Smith of Seagate Baptist Church in Wilmington, were able to see the devastation first-hand.
“When I left the construction industry, I told my family, and I even told God, that I would never pick up a hammer again,” says Smith. “And here I am seven months after Hurricane Florence and I’ve picked up a hammer and I’m back in construction and am still a full-time pastor.”
Smith served as a disaster relief coordinator helping rebuild homes left devastated by the hurricane — like that of the Skinner family. Dan Skinner’s wife suffered a massive stroke four months prior to the hurricane.
The work Baptists on Mission do through the generosity of NCMO shows the love of Christ, in a very practical way, to those in the midst of suffering.
“A stroke was enough for any one person to take on, but then to take on this house being totally destroyed. I went down a road with the Lord wondering, ‘How am I going to do this? How am I going to find a way,’” remembers Skinner.
Smith led a team of college students who came to town for spring break to help in the rebuilding process. The Skinner house was filled with mold and water damage and needed to be gutted. And they did it — in three days.
“I didn’t think when they first came in that, between all of them, they could swing a hammer. But they did an awesome job,” Skinner says. “They transformed this house. They did an awesome job.”
Baptists on Mission will continue its work in repairing Wilmington — as well as other sites impacted by natural disasters — in the months to come. The organization receives much of its funding from the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO), which is received primarily during the month of September. Each year, 41 percent of the NCMO funds are allocated to Baptists on Mission for ministries like disaster relief.
This year, the offering’s theme is “Known by Love” from John 13:35 – which comes from the fact that unbelievers in the world will know Christ’s disciples by they way they love one another. The work Baptists on Mission do through the generosity of NCMO shows the love of Christ, in a very practical way, to those in the midst of suffering.
“These guys give you the glimmer of hope when you don’t have any. And they restore your faith and they bless you so,” Skinner says through tears. “And they’re coming to do God’s work.”
by Caroline Barnhill / Contributing Writer