Following the devastation of Hurricane Michael in October 2018, it became evident that the relief effort would be ongoing for quite some time. In December 2018, several members of the Uchee Pines Church reached out to Jay Rosario, pastor of the Panama City Church, to see how they might be of help. Rosario was able to supply them with a list of people who still had immediate needs to be met. Everyone on the list was called, and several appointments were made, including a recently baptized older woman. The woman needed her handicap ramp repaired, and some tree limbs cleared from her yard. Uchee Pines members were able to assist numerous people like this during their December mission trip.
In May 2019, the group returned to the damaged area to provide more assistance. They were supplied with another list of names, and again called to make appointments. One of those appointments stood out from the rest. An elderly widow who adopted three of her great-grandchildren while they were infants due to drugs, also lost a daughter in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael. Additionally, her son was imprisoned, and her great-grandchildren, now teenagers, have rebelled against her. Her roof was still in need of repair, as a moldy blue tarp covered the damage.
Divine intervention became apparent to the Uchee Pines members when they were assisting “Leonard,” a Panama City member, before their appointment with the distraught woman. Leonard pays for television slots and plays Adventist media. At the conclusion of each time slot, an offer is made for a free copy of the program. Leonard was processing these requests when one of the Uchee members noticed the name and address for the troubled woman they were scheduled to help the next day. They decided to deliver the media in person.
When they arrived the next day, the living conditions of the woman’s home were worse than they imagined. There were animals in the house that were not able to go outside as needed. The stench was noticeable from outside. They met the woman outside, and she was delighted to receive the DVD, exclaiming, “God still loves me!”
Facing the terrible conditions, Amy Pershin, Uchee Pines member, struggled with the work ahead of her and her daughter. She began thinking to herself, “Lord, how can someone allow their home to get this bad? Why should I clean their filth?” Knowing these weren’t the thoughts she should be having, Pershin prayed. God responded by reminding Pershin of the filth He has rescued each person from, including her, all without deserving it. With tears in her eyes, Pershin continued.
After two days of arduous labor, the home was completely renewed. With windows now opened, each room cleaned, and fresh flowers decorating the table, the house had new life. The woman continues to contact the members who assisted her, continually grateful for the fresh start they offered her and her family. The teenagers, too, are now actively engaged with maintaining their clean home.
Gulf States | August 2019
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