MBC looks to provide storm relief
JEFFERSON CITY—The Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) is attempting to give back to other Southern Baptist state conventions whose members have been hit hard recently by one of the worst sets of tornadoes to strike America in more than 20 years.
The MBC has established the Southern States Storm Relief Fund to get money into needy areas where at least 55 people died from tornadoes in early February. States impacted include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee. One of the more heavily damaged areas was the Union University campus in Jackson, Tenn., prompting Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) President Frank Page to urge Southern Baptist churches to consider taking up a special offering just for that school.
Rick Seaton, the MBC specialist over Disaster Relief, said that while the MBC wants to be “especially sensitive” to what happened at Union, the idea behind the MBC fund is to be distributing relief throughout the region.
“We know in the past as we have had disasters of our own, other states have been very helpful to us,” Seaton said. “We want to return the favor. We want to be sensitive to their needs.”
One of the more ravaged cities was Clinton, Ark., where three people were killed. MBC President Gerald Davidson served as a supply pastor down there at First Baptist Church in January and February. From his point of view, what the tornado did to the city was brutal.
“We went all through the area, and it’s one of the most devastating things that I’ve ever seen,” Davidson said.
The tornado destroyed the church’s playground and barely missed the family life center, he said. Trees and parts of houses were strewn everywhere in the downtown area, and assorted boats and cars were seen hanging upside down in trees.
A concrete slab is all that remains of the home of a pastor in Clinton, Kyle Blanton, after the tornado leveled the parsonage as he and his family huddled together inside. Miraculously, all six family members survived.
“We have no doubt that the hand of God kept us alive,” said Blanton, pastor of Pee Dee Baptist Church. “Statistically, we should not be here. We were hit dead on. There is nothing left of the house but splinters.”
Blanton’s wife, Amy, and sons, Chase, 5, and Hunter, 11, were hospitalized.
To help places like Jackson and Clinton recover, send checks payable to Missouri Baptist Convention and mail to 400 E. High St., Jefferson City, MO 65101. Note on the memo line “Southern States Storm Relief.”