Sunday morning, September 16, worshipers gathered at Mills Home Baptist Church (MHBC) on the Mills Home campus in Thomasville. It was not a typical Sunday morning service. That day, children and staff members from Kennedy Home, Odum Home and Cameron Boys Camp were in attendance. The church was a buzz of noise and excitement.
We shared scripture, we recited the Lord’s Prayer, and we sang the first hymn . As the pastor of MHBC, Randy Stewart, began by asking for prayer requests, little hands and big hands alike were raised. Children asked for prayers for their family and friends. We shared prayers for those joining the service from other campuses. There were prayers of thankfulness for the many individuals, restaurants and churches who had reached out to help with meals. We offered prayers for communities across North and South Carolina being impacted by Hurricane Florence. There was a sense of sincerity in every request. There was also hope in prayers being answered.
Standing to sing, I listened to the words and was overcome with emotion. Imagine precious children and staff members singing to God:
When my hopes and dreams
are far from me
And I’m runnin’ out of faith
I see the future I picture
slowly fade away
And when the tears of pain
Are pouring down my face
I find my peace in Jesus’ name
In the eye of the storm
You remain in control
And in the middle of the war
You guard my soul
You alone are the anchor
When my sails are torn
Your love surrounds me
In the eye of the storm
As the rain poured and wind blew that night, the electrical power failed on the Mills Home campus. But the power of God didn’t. His love surrounded and protected each one.
For days, news of the effects of Hurricane Florence flowed in as the reports of devastation crashing into the lives of so many. But for those at BCH, there were several constants. First, BCH family and friends immediately offered help. Calls came asking: What can we do? When can we help cleanup the campuses? What meal would the children enjoy? Can we take a special offering?
Over and over, I answered phone calls that offered expressions of love and concern. “Please tell everyone there that we love them and are praying for them.”
Secondly, throughout this time –– thanks to you –– hope was constant. Even in the midst of the storm, hope abounded. As the aftermath of Hurricane Florence wore on, I was moved by the hope expressed by those who had been most impacted. They were so grateful for the first responders and others who came to their aid. Men and women talked about the blessings, their families, and the encouragement of their friends. They talked about how they would rebuild their houses, their businesses and their lives. It is true that at our weakest that God helps us become our strongest. Hope makes the difference.
Thank you for supplying a big dose of hope during this time of need. You have been the willing arms to hold children and families in crisis, not just during Hurricane Florence, but daily through BCH’s many ministries. You have been the eager hands that removed trees, lessened the devastation, and wiped away tears. Thank you for touching so many with hope and love.
In just a few short weeks, in churches all across the state, Baptists will lovingly give to support the ministry of Baptist Children’s Homes through the annual Thanksgiving Offering. The offering is a lifeline to this ministry. For those children, individuals and families served, your gifts are the lifebuoy in the midst of their storms.
The offering scripture focus this year is: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Thank you for helping to insure a place for those who come hurting and beaten down. Because of you, we are able to help those burdened and weary by the tumultuous storms in their lives –– to help the weak find rest and peace in Jesus name.
For hurricane damage updates and to learn more about ways you can help, call Brenda Gray at 336-689-4442.