Hurricane Barry Sends Missionaries to William Carey University

TO THE RESCUE — Twenty-four GenSend missionaries working in New Orleans spent the weekend of Hurricane Barry landfall at William Carey University (WCU) in Hattiesburg after being evacuated from New Orleans by Hardy Street Church in Hattiesburg. In the left background is Tatum Court, which was rebuilt after a devastating 2017 tornado. The new building was dedicated on July 18. (Photo courtesy of WCU)

As Hurricane Barry approached the Louisiana coast, 24 college students serving as GenSend missionaries in New Orleans were evacuated on buses sent by Hardy Street Church in Hattiesburg.

The students spent the weekend in residence halls at William Carey University (WCU) in Hattiesburg and attended worship services at Hardy Street Church.

“William Carey University is so grateful for the assistance we received from others after the tornado, and we’re pleased we were able to reach out to these students during their time of need,” said WCU President Tommy King.

The university, which is affiliated with the Mississippi Baptist Convention, was hit by a tornado in January 2017 that was officially classified as an EF3 in intensity. Six buildings were destroyed outright or damaged so badly that they had to be demolished. Other buildings on campus required extensive repairs.

In the two years since, WCU has been steadily rebuilding and returning to normal.

The Hurricane Barry story began July 11, when Scott Hanberry, pastor of Hardy Street Church, received a telephone call from his friend George Ross, the North American Mission Board (NAMB) Send City missionary for New Orleans and assistant professor of church planting and evangelism at New Orleans Seminary.

Ross coordinates the GenSend program in New Orleans. According to the NAMB web site, GenSend is a program for Christians ages 19-25 designed to “immerse young adults into a context where they gain practical knowledge of the realities of missions and leadership.”

With Barry rapidly approaching, Ross had a problem. Parts of New Orleans were already flooding, the storm’s expected path and strength were in flux, and he needed to move a group of GenSend missionaries to higher ground as a precaution.

Hanberry called Brett Golson, chair of the WCU department of Christian ministries, director of bivocational ministries, and associate professor of religion.

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Source: Baptist Press