Building thanks

Published 11:41 am Wednesday, November 23, 2016

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought it would be appropriate to share my own thanks for how God is bringing peace in the midst of the storm. Appomattox County is beginning to find a “new normal” following last February’s EF3 tornado that cut a 17-mile long, 300-yard wide path through the area. Literally hundreds of volunteers from all over the country and many different denominations and civic organizations have been working hard with donated supplies and financial resources to repair and rebuild homes across the county for those who were under- or uninsured. Homeowners with insurance have also been rebuilding and most of those homes have reached or are nearing completion.

Even in the midst of the destruction, stress, chaos and grief, a weather event like this tornado creates, we find so much to be thankful for. One homeowner tells the story of standing in the front yard of where her house used to be the morning after the tornado. She was overwhelmed, not by the pile of rubble, but by the tangible evidence of God’s hand in the Amish group already rebuilding her neighbor’s barn, the Mennonite truck operator removing rubble, the Baptist workers tarping a roof, the Church of Christ volunteers digging through debris, and the Methodists beginning repairs on one of the churches. She said it was such a beautiful picture of the whole Church doing God’s work, it gave her hope for the coming days.

In the months since, I have gotten to witness so many people, some directly affected by the storm, but many who weren’t, being so generous with their time, their equipment and their resources to help neighbors. It’s amazing how what one person cannot do for him- or herself, a neighbor can do and then the recipient can turn around and use what they have to help another neighbor. This is the body of Christ in action — the hand doesn’t do what the eye can do and the foot can’t do what the heart can do; but all of them working together can accomplish much.

I am so thankful to be part of a community of believers who don’t just talk about what needs to be done, but actually get out there and make it happen. But the work is not yet finished. Quite a few people are still in temporary housing waiting for their homes to be repaired or rebuilt back in the community. The more resources (financial and volunteer) we have, the faster we can get them home. As you look around your solid four walls and dry roof this holiday season, consider expressing your thankfulness by volunteering to help get others home. If you, or a group you are connected with, are interested in helping with this effort, you can contact Kristen Curtis, volunteer coordinator, at (434) 609-0916. “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25).

Scott Curtis is the Pastor of Providence Baptist Church. He can be reached at