This is the first day I’m in the office at Asbury since the storms hit the other night. It’s been an intense few days here in the Pine Belt and at Asbury. The storms blew through at about 5:00 or so Sunday night. I’m not sure exactly. We were having a talent show for our Relay for Life efforts when it hit. We had a 150 – 200 folks crowded in our church hallway when it came.
We saw where it hit, and we started going out to look. The major damage seemed to be around Oak Grove, downtown Hattiesburg, downtown Petal, a subdivision not too far from Asbury. We found out very quickly that our youth pastor, Jeff West, and his wife Ashlie lost their home in downtown Petal. Other members had their homes destroyed or severely damaged.
You’ll be hearing more about this in the coming days. But I want share with you two moments of grace in the midst of all fo this.
First, look this picture to your left. There was a family whose home was destroyed. They literally just made it into a closet before it hit, and that was the only room in their house that still had a ceiling. Home is a total lose. A window blew out and gashed the husband pretty bad. They are literally fortunate to be alive.
As we were cleaning yesterday, we noticed this. Part of their fence is in the perfect shape of a cross. And it’s in the form a cross. Even in the storm, God is present with us. He never leaves nor forsakes us. He is with us always.
Second, the storm hit at 5 or so Sunday. At 7 a.m. Monday morning, approximately 150 Asbury folks were out serving. We literally swamped parts of the town with service. We tarped close to 40 roofs. We cut and hauled off trees. We clean out.
We were Salt and Light.
I have never been more proud to be pastor of this church than this week. I said this on Facebook this week:
Dark is dark. Light is brighter. Where is God in tragedy? Guiding the feet of everyone that runs to the trouble, not away from it #saltandlight
That’s right. We have been the church this week. And we are going to keep doing it. Light shines, and the darkness has not overcome it.
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