As a tornado ripped through Baptist deacon Barry Gullatte’s home in eastern Alabama, he and his family could feel themselves being sucked out of the bathroom where they took shelter.
Thankfully, the entire family emerged from the tornado uninjured, said their pastor, John Meadows of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Salem, Ala. And “almost immediately” upon exiting their house, he noted, their church was there to help.
“We’re just out there on the spot with” all three Pleasant Grove families who had their homes damaged, Meadows told Baptist Press. “There’s been bringing in food. There’s been … giving not only moral and spiritual support, but physical support.” A fellow church member even allowed the Gullattes to live in a spare house she owned while theirs is repaired.
Such reports of ministry and cleanup continue to emerge in the wake of a deadly system of tornadoes in Alabama on Sunday (March 3). The storms left at least 23 people dead, including at least four children, and others still missing, according to media reports.
Four tornadoes in Alabama have been confirmed. The strongest was some 1,600 yards wide and stayed on the ground for nearly 27 miles, according to media reports, devastating the small community of Beauregard.
In addition to local church ministry efforts, Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers have been on the ground since Sunday. Though the hardest-hit area of Beauregard has been closed, DR teams have put tarps on roofs in outlying regions, used chainsaws to clear people’s property and, in one case, went into the restricted zone to help search and rescue workers clear debris, said Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief strategist Mark Wakefield.
Local officials have asked the Alabama DR teams to provide laundry units in Beauregard and possibly in nearby Smiths Station in the days to come, Wakefield said. Feeding units also may be called into service.
“Sometimes [tornado survivors] just need to talk or need somebody to pray with them,” Wakefield told BP, “somebody to listen to their story. [DR] chaplains are looking for that.”
About 70 DR workers were on the field March 4, Wakefield said, and about 50 today (March 5).
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Source: Baptist Press