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Relief efforts continue at Boone’s Chapel, across statecomment (0)

April 28, 2011

By Neisha Fuson and Jennifer Davis Rash

Mike Johnson, pastor of Boone’s Chapel Baptist Church, Prattville, preached from Lamentations 3 on “The Unfailing Faithfulness of God” on April 17. This was a day and a half after a tornado destroyed the church’s original sanctuary and children’s education space and damaged the church’s multipurpose building.

Meeting at nearby Marbury High School, a larger than normal crowd — more than 400 — attended the service described as “upbeat” by Johnson. “There was everything from tears to cheering,” he said.

The church is waiting for final figures from the insurance company, but all downed trees and debris have been cleaned up, Johnson said. Chilton Baptist Association’s disaster relief team out of First Baptist Church, Clanton, assisted in the April 16 clean up.

At press time, church members were set to celebrate Easter back on church property and a mobile chapel was on its way for education space.

The mobile unit was provided by the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions (SBOM).

“These units are provided by funds set aside for Alabama Baptist churches in disaster,” said Mel Johnson, disaster relief strategist for the SBOM. “We are thankful for the generosity of Alabama Baptists who provide for this emergency fund.”

While the mobile units are not readily available in all cases, the SBOM and its executive committee consider the crisis requests carefully, he explained.

“[Boone’s Chapel] appreciate[s] everything Alabama Baptists have done,” Mike Johnson said. “We are very gracious.”

Another form of support came when four Alabama Baptist disaster relief chaplains counseled with adults and children at Pine Level Elementary School, near Boone’s Chapel April 18. They were deployed at the request of the local school board, Mel Johnson said. Another six chaplains fanned out across Geiger, another area in the state ravaged by tornadoes.

This team is working with the American Red Cross, each one traveling with a mental health worker and a nurse, he said.

“They are doing condolence visits as well as working with people who have had a great deal of loss,” he said.

In other areas of the state, chainsaw and recovery teams with more than 100 volunteers have been deployed.

Bethel Baptist Association and Selma Baptist Association led the disaster relief efforts in Marengo County.

“The area was hit and they responded, then it was hit again,” Mel Johnson said. “And the second set of storms was worse than the first.”

Elmore Baptist Association’s No. 1, 2 and 3 disaster relief teams responded to the damage in Equality.

And several associations have been and are continuing to work in the Tuscaloosa area. They are from Tuscaloosa, Morgan, Pleasant Grove, Sipsey, Walker, Fayette and Pickens Baptist associations.

“We’ve had quite a bit of response,” Mel Johnson said. “One man even accepted Christ.

“The teams have presented a tremendous amount of professionalism, but each and every time we respond, Christ always leads the way,” he said.

“The chain saw is nothing more than a tool to share Hope.”

To donate to Alabama Baptist disaster relief, visit www.alsbom.org, call 1-800-264-1225.

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