By Dan Curley
In June I was watching on the news about the devastation caused by torrential rains that hit West Virginia and felt God pull at my heart strings. We are called to serve others in the name of Jesus, and here were thousands of people in need just a few hours away. It says in 1 John 3:17, But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
I asked the Lord how our church might do something to help these people. My first thought was to contact Samaritan’s Purse. Four years ago, Hurricane Sandy hit the Jersey Shore and the 60 men attending our annual men’s retreat joined up with Samaritan Purse to help with the clean-up. So a week later, New Life Dresher was signed up to bring a team to West Virginia the last week of July. Many people inquired about going, but getting time off from work was difficult. God was good in providing two servants, and on July 24, Ken Johnson and I left for West Virginia.
Ken and I were able to serve four households in White Sulfur Springs, WV. The first home had 12 inches of water wash through the first floor. A single tenant woman, Barbara, needed our help to evacuate her home in order to be repaired. Our job was to move salvageable items to a storage facility. This was more challenging than first expected. Barbara found it difficult to part with many items that had been ruined by the flood waters. To us, many of these items had little or no value, but to Barbara they had sentimental value. God worked in our hearts during our time there, and we filled two large storage units with her memories. The Samaritan’s Purse chaplains later shared the Gospel with Barbara and she opened her heart to Christ. Our team found this unexpected and it reminded us that God always has a plan.
The last house was just down the street from the first house and belonged to another woman named Barbara. This job was defined as a mud-out. Significant water damage meant we needed to tear up the floor and remove the bottom half of the walls in every room. This was quite a job and after a short time our team lead indicated that we were going to get some help. Well, it turns out that the New Orleans Saints hold their training camp in Lewisburg, WV, and a busload of New Orleans Saints pulled up and walked into the house. These men did about two days’ worth of work in four hours. Even the general manager, Mickey Loomis, was there tearing out a really smelly bathroom. At the end of the day, we all prayed with the homeowner and presented her a Bible that was signed by all who helped in the effort. (https://www.samaritanspurse.org/article/bigger-than-the-big-game)
Samaritan’s Purse brings help to those who have suffered tragedy in a Gospel-centered way. Volunteers are often asked, “Why did you come?” For Samaritan’s Purse, the answer is always the same. “We have come to help you in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” For Ken and I, this was a humbling experience and a wonderful opportunity to show Christ’s love to others.