Disaster Response in Kentucky
October 31, 2023
This week we’re starting a new series on the blog featuring stories from our missionaries. We want to take some time to highlight what God is doing through people from our church in our country and around the world. We’re going to kick things off with a story from our most recent Disaster Response Trip to Kentucky.
A couple weeks ago, we sent a team to Bowling Green, Kentucky to work with International Disaster Emergency Service (IDES), who is helping families rebuild after their homes were destroyed by tornadoes last year. John Dingman, Gary Fry, Ed Furnas, Barry Mason, Wes Patrick, Scott Miller, and Terry Tyler went on this trip. Here are some of Wes Patrick’s thoughts about the trip:
“Disaster comes with so much anxiety triggered by the unknown. I have been fortunate enough to be a part of the teams put together by Plainfield Christian in collaboration with IDES to serve some of the people affected by these natural disasters. As I reflect on these trips, the goal is always the same: to provide relief to individuals and communities that are struggling and to do so in a way that is pleasing to our God. Each trip that I’ve been a part of has made this the main focus. There is no question the men and women that make up these teams are there to work. You don’t seem to hear the usual workplace small talk about the oppressive weather or how long until the next break. In fact, aside from lunch break, you would be hard pressed to see any of the team members sitting down. Even with temperatures reaching the mid to upper 90s while in Kentucky, there was a noticeable disregard for individual discomfort. Even facing fears of heights seemed to come with little struggle for some of the team.
During this particular trip, we spent our days framing a home near Bowling Green, Kentucky. Ed Furnas, one of the men on the trip, has an amazing ability to bring people together to complete task. With Ed’s leadership, we began each day with a morning devotional and a focus for the day. Each member of the team took turns making breakfast, lunch, and tackling duties like taking care of the dishes. Daily tasks were what you would expect to see on a construction site such as building walls and erecting roof trusses.
It is easy to focus on the things we were able to accomplish on the trip. I could spend plenty of time outlining what we got done. However, I think it is most important to consider the role of our hosts. We were working at the invitation of the community. People in this community are hurting and anxious because many of their homes were lost to a natural disaster. Consider how it feels to have company in your home after a hard day or if your house is a mess. It’s uncomfortable at best. Yet these hosts welcomed us into their lives, homes, and communities. They prepared meals and beds for us without questioning our intent. They invited us to use their facilities without prerequisites based on who we help. In this case, the State Street United Methodist Church and its members were so gracious. In the midst of several setbacks, Gentain Emini welcomed our team without hesitation and with open arms. Gentain, a Muslim man, may have reason to question a Christian church group willing to give their time to help. In this case, Plainfield Christian partnered with IDES to provide a new home for his family.
To complete the mission it takes a gracious host, a team willing to roll up their sleeves, and love that has no expectations. God works in the people whose hearts are gracious hosts for him!”
If you would like to learn more about upcoming trips or about Plainfield Christian’s Local and Global Outreach Ministry, visit plainfieldchristian.com/localimpact or plainfieldchristian.com/globalimpact.