MOREHOUSE – For more than a month, flood victims have found shelter here within First Baptist Church.
The church is now gearing up to house volunteers who are arriving to help the region recover.
“It’s given our church an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus and to serve,” Pastor Randy Conn said.
When floodwaters started rising at a rate of 2 inches an hour, Conn said he knew the town of 1,000 was facing a serious disaster. First Baptist opened its doors on April 27 to senior citizens whose housing area was flooded.
The historic flood ended up affecting nearly 80 percent of the homes in Morehouse. As many as 50 people have stayed in the church’s family life center, with only a few still staying at this time. The church is also preparing meals for the displaced residents and volunteer workers.
It’s a big job for a little church that averages about 55 per week.
“We’ve got a big Lord to take care of us,” Conn said.
First Baptist chose to shelter those in need without any assistance from Red Cross. Conn said they’ve received help from other churches in Charleston Baptist Association, as well as other denominations. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief has provided a shower trailer.
It’s been an intense effort, but they have no doubt it’s been worth it.
“As a result of the shelter, we’ve seen several people come to know the Lord,” Conn said.
Others have joined the church and they had a baptism service recently. Attendance at Sunday services has swelled to about 100, in part because another church in town flooded, so they joined in worship with First Baptist.
At one point, Conn feared waters would flood the sanctuary, so they moved the furniture up on stage. The waters got within one inch, then started receding.
“We’ve never had this kind of water in our history,” Conn said.
The recovery will be long, Conn said. Volunteers are slated to come in for several weeks through the summer and the church expects to feed and house them, along with conducting its own summer programs.
“It’s great to see the church pull together and help in the recovery effort,” Conn said.
SUSAN MIRES/contributing writer