“We’re in for the long haul”

Posted: 3/2/16 at 8:15am. Article by Nathan White.

“I appreciate the association and what Virginia Baptists are doing to help,” said Nelson Mann, deacon chairman of Central Baptist Church in the small community of Chap in Appomattox County.

With much of the cleanup already done, he shared the church’s plan for recovery. “We’re going to bring in a triple-wide for services,” he said. “We’ve received dozens of offers for worship space from the community, but we belong here on this property.”

According to Mann, an even greater tragedy was avoided. The church was a designated shelter should school busses need to divert in case of severe weather. “Thank God that the schools held the kids, else things could have been much worse.”

Besides sustaining severe damage to the sanctuary and fellowship hall, many gravestones in the cemetery were knocked over. A local funeral home plans to come and fix them.

“In a disaster, you really find out who the good people are,” Mann said. He relayed a story how a man in Roanoke was watching the news and felt led to donate a sizable amount of money and food for the church.

The man saw the report about how the local high school football team pitched in to help clean up around the church and was inspired to action. “I was surprised by that…everybody has done good. We’re glad for all the help we can get.”

Aaron Lee, Virginia Baptist Disaster Response Coordinator, agreed, relaying story after story about how Disaster Response teams weren’t needed in a number of places both in Tappahannock and Appomattox because community members had taken care of their own.

Steve Collins, pastor of First Baptist Church, Nickelsville, and his crew of several men were hard at work, helping put tarp on the roof of a house that was adjacent to the path of the tornado.

“It’s just tragic to see all of this, but a joy to come help out,” Collins said. The team arrived Saturday morning and had been working from sunrise to sunset each day.

Providence Baptist Church and Grace Hills Baptist Church hosted the team and helped transport them around. “I wish we could get more people involved in Disaster Response. We can use all people.”

Collins noted that if folks cannot do construction, there are still needs that can be met, including talking and building up relationships with homeowners.

In addition to serving in Appomattox, Virginia Baptists have taken the lead in recovery efforts in Tappahannock. As the short-term recovery efforts wind down, long-term efforts are getting underway.

Officials from local, state, and federal agencies will host a meeting tomorrow to discuss next step as these communities continue to recover.

“We’re in for the long haul,” Lee said.

Here are three ways you can help:

  1. Pray for Virginia Baptist Disaster Response teams working in Tappahannock and Appomattox. Follow their work at facebook.com/VB.Disaster
  2. Give to Virginia Baptist Disaster Response to support our response efforts. 100% of contributions directly support local response efforts. You may donate online or by mail. You may also text DISASTER to 501501 and donate $10 from your cell phone bill. (Standard messaging rates may apply.)
  3. If you are a trained disaster recovery volunteer, keep an eye out for additional callout notifications. If you are not trained, consider attending a disaster training event, such as the one offered this spring at Mission Matters so you can respond to the next disaster.