Tom* and Angie* have been involved in our response in Hazard, KY since the beginning as members of Clear Creek EFC, our hosting church partner. They have come to countless community cookouts, and Tom has even worked alongside some of the volunteer teams serving in other homes. Every time our staff asked how they were doing Tom and Angie replied, "We're good," and suggested that our staff should focus on helping others. As it turns out, their living situation wasn't good: they were living in Angie's mom's house, and the home still had some water damage from last year's floods.
This summer, a couple things changed. Angie's mom passed away, leaving Tom and Angie to deal with the loss and also with the damaged home. Around the same time, some of our adjunct staff who have intentionally built a relationship with Tom and Angie took them out to dinner. Our staff shared that restoring the body, one of our core goals, means helping the church and church members get back on their feet. Part of that includes helping restore safe, secure, sanitary housing so that the church members can focus on sharing the love of Christ in their own community. Finally, Tom and Angie heard this message in a way that they could accept, and they asked for help.
Recently a team from Minnesota worked for a couple days clearing out damaged and moldy belongings from their basement, and Tom was there each day working alongside them. The following week another team came in from Iowa to seal the basement walls and help to rebuild the porch roof.
On the last day working with Tom, they asked him to share his faith story, and he did. Tom also shared during that week that his dad's Alzheimer's had progressed to the point that he no longer recognized Tom, and that his parents could use help at their home as well. Tom hasn't been able to go over and help at his parents' house because he can't bear to see his father this way. Our team was able to visit Tom's mom, and one volunteer just sat and listened to her for a few hours, utilizing the trauma care training we offered at the beginning of the week.
Please keep praying for Angie and Tom, for Tom's parents, and for all the other families in the hollers of Kentucky who are just now starting to trust us enough to ask for help. It takes a long time to build up trust in this community, but investing in these relationships will give us an opportunity to share the love and hope of Christ with families who still need real help and real hope. Would your church like to join in what God is doing in Eastern Kentucky? Email email@example.com for more info on bringing a team in 2024.
*names changed for privacy
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