As I drove east from Bowling Green toward Manchester on Saturday, the sky opened and rain steadily began to fall. This was far from ideal as I was on my way to help KBC-assisted church planter John “Boo” Smith in helping replace mailboxes in and around the flood ravaged town of Manchester
The previous week, this area had seen the worst regional flooding in anyone’s memory. After I arrived and got in Boo’s Jeep, we connected with church members from Manchester Baptist Church and their pastor, Ken Bolin. Bro. Ken had put out a Facebook request for people to send new mailboxes, as many people lost theirs in the flooding. Boo said, “not only do they need to get their mail, but emergency workers need to know where addresses are so they can help people. Sometimes mailboxes are the only thing that have a house number on them.”
While we drove, the devastation of homes, property, and livelihoods were tremendous! Homes were flooded, moved from their foundations, and still in the process of being mudded out and repaired. I saw complete layers of asphalt removed from the road and moved into ditches and creek beds. A semi-truck was picked up, moved with the water, and destroyed. As we drove, I could see places where the road had been completely rebuilt with loads and loads of gravel and where bulldozers had moved load after load of dirt and mud that had come rushing down the mountain side.
The truly amazing thing to witness was the spirit of cooperation and unity of not only the community, but of those from across the United States. In the steady rain, we were in traffic jam after traffic jam of people on their way to help! Groups were busy assessing the damage, mudding out homes, and going door to door making sure people had food and water. Several teams and groups were set up at Oneida Baptist Institute providing food, clothing, and other assistance. I met people from North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, and Pennsylvania volunteering to help. People came to help from everywhere!
As our little team of Manchester Baptist and church plant Cross Mountain Fellowship worked to replace mailboxes, we got to listen to the stories of those who survived the flood, provide love through a donated mailbox, and share the hope that can only come through repentance and faith in Jesus. At one home, I listened to a 4-year-old show me his creek, mud puddle, and new pencil stash as Pastor Ken faithfully shared the gospel with his mother. At another home as we fought the muddy gravel with a post hole digger, the homeowner came out to express her thankfulness and love of her community.
I left Manchester that day praising the Lord for Pastors Ken and Boo and their churches for ministering to their community by organizing and replacing mailboxes and hearing their stories of doing mud-outs and ministering to those in need. What a wonderful example of churches partnering together to meet both physical and spiritual needs! If you or your church would like to help with the Eastern Kentucky flood relief, please go to https://www.kybaptist.org/flood/.
This article can also be found here.