Tornadoes swept through Smith Station and Beauregard, Ala., on Sunday, March 3, 2019. In response, members of the Uchee Pines Church in Seale, Ala., volunteered in the area the following Friday. Upon checking in with the local volunteer management organizers, and because they had members that were under 14 years old, the Pershin family was assigned to assess the damage of each home in the path of the tornado, and fill out forms with the needed information. As they made their way through the volunteer screening, they encountered several people who were familiar with their church and ministry. They were happy that each of these encounters was positive, and it helped them to see the importance of being present because of the difference it can make to other’s ideas of the Adventist Church.
As the family proceeded from door to door, many opportunities for prayer and spiritual discussions presented themselves. One particular respondent recognized them from a different community service project that had benefitted his mother in another part of town at an earlier time. After conversing for a time, they gave him a Bible, and he responded in amazement that, “just yesterday I gave my Bible away to a 9-year-old girl that didn’t have one, and now I’m getting one back!”
Because they had such a good experience, the Pershins decided to return the following Monday. When they went to the volunteer check-in, the person who checked them in told them about the many different people coming to offer their help from cities all over Alabama, and from several other states. “Some came by themselves, some with their own tools, some only with their hands, but all with the same purpose: they just wanted to help,” she said. “It restored my faith in humanity.”
More divine appointments that day gave reassurance that meeting people’s needs strengthens more than just faith in humanity, but faith in God as well.
Gulf States | March 2020
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