When Hurricane Michael hit the panhandle, the leadership at Chets began searching for ways our church could help. We would pray, give, and go. But what was the best way to give support to those hurting from the devastation of the storm? A very practical way for us to meet the needs of others who have been impacted by Michael is to partner with churches in the hurricane-impacted areas of the panhandle.
Our Southside Campus partnered with Shady Sea Missionary Baptist Church in Crawfordville, FL, a small coastal congregation trying to rebuild after flooding from the storm surge. The church and surrounding neighborhood is only about 200 feet from the coast so when Michael came through, the entire area was buried under over five feet of water.
People’s homes were destroyed, and the church lost almost everything. To begin to replace what was lost, the church needed 90 chairs, 10 folding tables, a pulpit, a sound system, a keyboard, 60 hymnals, a large refrigerator, and an upright freezer.
The Southside Campus already had a commercial grade fridge and freezer that they could donate so Pastor Jeff Bedwell figured the cost to meet the rest of the needs would come out to about $3500.
On Sunday, October 21, Jeff preached on Unstoppable Generosity. He put that number out there asking for help, and the congregation responded. After church, one person wrote a check for $7,000 and others gave making their total amount given well over double.
When people were given the opportunity to be generous, they stepped up. Jeff said seeing the body of Christ come together and help mend the wounds of others and love them has been really cool. The people of Christ reflecting what Christ did for us out of his generous love. “We give because generosity is an accurate reflection of who God is,” said Jeff.
Because of the generosity of our Chets family, we were able to purchase everything on their needs list. The Hodges Campus donated extra worship center chairs to help replace what was damaged. And on Thursday, October 25, all the supplies were loaded in a trailer and taken to Crawfordville.
The leadership of Shady Sea were thankful for the prayers and support of the Southside Campus. They were able to meet back in their church the following Sunday, October 28. “The church is fine, but the community is not,” said Jeff. The hope is to continue partnering with Shady Sea and help them serve their neighbors to bring hope and restoration.