While doing my daily check on facebook, I came across a cry for help. My sister-in-law lives in the Dayton area, an area that was recently wrecked by tornadoes. Thankfully she and her family were safe and suffered no loss, but many in the communities surrounding her were devastated. The church she attends became a holding tank and volunteer station for the greater Beavercreek area and they needed help providing hope to the community.
What do you do when a need arises? That was a question that floated around in my brain for about half a second. The answer was obvious. You go! When someone cries for help, you don’t look back. You just run. That’s just how I was raised. So at 12:30 on Friday afternoon a call went out for help.
Text messages and emails started flying around and by Saturday morning at 6:30am we had a full crew of 12 willing and able men and women on their way to provide much needed relief to this hard hit area! We didn’t know what to expect but we came prepared. Cases of water, chainsaws, gas, hand tools, work gloves and sunscreen – not to mention the snacks we brought to keep us fueled for the work ahead of us.
By 8:45am we were on site at Ken’s house. I don’t know Ken’s name and that really isn’t important. What I know is he needed help. Trees covered his house. Limbs were scattered around his property. It wasn’t pretty. Ken, a US Army veteran, had started to lose hope. Friends had been trying to help him for several days and didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. And with more rain in the forecast, the trees needed off his roof and patches needed to be made.
A few pulls on the starter cords and the chainsaws were roaring. Limb by limb, branch by branch, log by log the house was coming into view again. As the temperature climbed so did we. Higher in the trees and up on the roof to remove the broken limbs we went. The piles of debris were mounting higher than we could stack them. But we weren’t done yet.
You see the thing about this relief effort was that it really wasn’t about the trees or even the homes that were wrecked. It was about the lives that were impacted. We couldn’t take away the pain. We couldn’t rebuild the homes but we could be there to show love and support to hurting men and women. Ken couldn’t believe the transformation that took place on his property in just a few short hours. By 1pm we were off to another property to just do what we could. Ken said thank you would never be enough for the hope we brought back to his life.
Our second stop was Amber’s house. We lifted a tree that had fallen then moved onto her farm property where her horses weren’t able to make it to the fields because of the down trees. Her family owned a landscape company and they were working round the clock volunteering with others leaving their property for last. Before we left you could see some of the field and the stalls were visible again. But her reaction of holding back tears made it hard to leave. If our chainsaws were sharper and our shoulders less sunburnt we could have stayed a few more hours. But alas our time was done.
What do you do when a need arises? For us at Living Word Galena, the answer is simple. We go. We load up and hit the road to be the servants we’re called to be. We can’t do much, but we won’t stop trying. We can’t change the entire world. But for one person we might just turn their day around. These selfless men and women didn’t do it for recognition or thanks. We went because that’s the command. When the church starts to understand its role is more than merely preaching and teaching, then maybe we’ll be the church God wanted us to be in Acts.
Brothers and sisters, teach and preach boldly and confidently. Hold to the unwavering commitment to the truth of scripture. But don’t stop there. You have to live it. So when a need arises – go! Don’t look back. Just go! Pack up and go where he’s sending you. Maybe not with a chainsaw and tools. Maybe it’s a dozen cookies and hour for conversation. Maybe it’s a listening ear to a lonely neighbor. Maybe it’s a visit to a hospital or nursing home. Maybe it’s just a phone call to someone you haven’t seen in a while. You may not be able to change the way the world spins but for someone you might be able to change the world! Get up! Go! Where is he calling you?