I was sitting on the front porch talking with Mr. Joe at his home in Hazard, KY and watching a volunteer named Hannah pick at something in the dirt just a few feet away. Front porch sitting is a way of life in Eastern Kentucky, and I was enjoying the time. When Hannah came over and sat with us, she asked me, “Do you think that’s a bracelet or a necklace in the dirt?” I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be either, but I got curious so I started digging at it with a pencil. After a couple minutes I pulled out a muddy shell necklace with the chain still intact. It wasn’t fancy jewelry, but looked like it was still in good shape. Hannah washed it off with some water and we showed it to Mr. Joe. He didn’t seem to recognize it, so we set it aside and he told me about his plan to till up the field next to his house, hoping to find all kinds of things.
The same flood that destroyed his home last summer and scattered his family’s belongings had also brought in (and left behind) mementos and debris from other houses upstream. Mr. Joe was planning to till up the field and see what was left buried in the mud. He showed me pictures of the level field of grass that had been his yard before the raging waters tore it up and left all the mud behind. He kept flipping through pictures and we started talking about his brother in Florida and his granddaughter, and I forgot all about the necklace.
Miss Rachel, Joe’s wife, joined us on the porch that afternoon during our lunch, full of stories and jokes to share with us. Hannah remembered the necklace, and handed it over to see if she would recognize it. I was a little surprised to see Miss Rachel get emotional, but then she told us the necklace had been given to her by her granddaughter after a trip to Tennessee. She was grateful to have it back, having assumed that it was lost like everything else in the flood.
When we got back to the church that evening and our day with some of our other staff, we heard more of the story. Just the day before Miss Rachel had shared with one of our staff ladies that it was all the little things that she missed most- the memories and keepsakes that couldn’t be replaced. And then the very next day God gave her back one of those special keepsakes that by all logic should have been carried miles away by the flood waters. God is so good, and He cares for us enough that He takes care of the little details as well as the big ones.
Our staff and volunteers serving in Kentucky get to come alongside lots of families like Mr. Joe and Miss Rachel with hope and help, encouraging them with the hope of the gospel as we help to rebuild their homes. They have the opportunity to reach some of the most isolated areas of Appalachian with the message that God sees them, He cares for them, and we do too. Praise God for the work He is doing in Kentucky. You can be a part f this response too. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here for more information on how to bring a team to serve in Hazard, KY.
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