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Looking for the Helpers: A Story from the Aftermath of Hurricane Idalia

Sunday morning I awoke with an urge to tell the story. The story of finding hope after the catastrophic Hurricane Idalia traveled through the southeastern states leaving a path of devastation. How do we rebuild, recover, or what can we glean in the wake of Hurricane Idalia? My mind kept hitting the ole “play, rewind, repeat” buttons on a memory told to me by a dear friend. It’s a quote from Mister Rogers, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are willing to help.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers- so many caring people in this world.” I shared my thoughts with my husband, Scott, who helped set the wheels in motion. We decided to go to Valdosta, Clyattville, and Lake Park. We were aware these places took a hard, direct hit from Idalia due to reports from Scott’s bonus dad, Dan Henderson, who was volunteering with his skid steer removing trees and debris in the clean up efforts. Dan recommended that Scott and I visit the Disaster Relief Headquarters, located at Northside Baptist Church of Valdosta, to gather information for our assignment. Little did we know, this was the place that I was being led to “tell the story.”

Upon arrival, we spoke with a group of ladies who quickly informed us that we needed to meet with a man named Mr. Ronnie Register, who is logistics manager for Valdosta’s Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief. Scott explained who we were and what we were hoping to achieve to Mr. Register. He spoke with us briefly, because he was very busy answering texts and taking phone calls. We decided It might be best if we just left and rode around taking photos on our own. However, Mr. Register asked us to wait. He told us that he had a story for us to share, so we waited. Mr Register invited me to “Go over there and take a picture of that young family, and when you get back, I’ll be done with this call and I’ll tell you their story.” 

And so the story goes… A young couple walks several blocks to the help station to report that the storm damaged their power mast (the pole located on a roof where overhead power enters a building or a home, it is the homeowners responsibility to provide this feature for commercial power to be delivered to a home). The command station was bustling with many homeowners in need of services for their homes, as well as the couple. Mr. Register reported that this is how it usually is in the game of winning souls to Jesus. He states that Satan likes to try to distract and derail, especially when he is sharing the Lord with those in need. I am reminded of the verse given to me this week from John 3:8 “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

As Mr. Register tries to share the gospel with the young family, he is stopped several times with small distractions. One of which is a crew of electricians who specializes in replacing power masts. The crew was called “Rebuilding Hope.” They were in search of a facility to shower and refresh after many days of volunteering. 

Folks pay attention, this is how on-point God is when it comes to meeting specific needs of his children, and winning their hearts unto himself. The young family had their needs met, and  the volunteers were able to pray with them.  This precious family said the sinner’s prayer and entered into the family of the Lord for eternity. They are saved by the working power of Jesus. 

God is so specific with his timing. I have been pondering storms and how the winds wreck and displace us, sometimes leaving only foundations. What a joy it is to know that during the storms in life, the helpers are at work, winning souls and giving hope when all seems lost by being the hands and feet of Jesus. How ironic it is, the mast needed to restore power for a family was not only supplied by the Rebuilding Hope team but their vessel was refitted and firmly equipped to sail through the storms of life. 


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