Mission Team Helps With Recovery from East TN Fires

Ed MellDisaster Response, NewsLeave a Comment

A 12-member mission team from Immanuel went to the Gatlinburg area during January 12-15 to assist with recovery efforts from the East Tennessee fires that occurred last November.  Many people we encountered had lost their homes and jobs.  The fires had burned so intensely that nothing but concrete remained of structures.  Working on four homeowner sites, we sorted and placed concrete blocks, metal, and ash in piles to curbside for removal.  We used sifters to painstakingly look for any pieces of valuables and belongings that might have survived – just anything that might offer some comfort to the families.  We prayed with families, offered words of encouragement and support, and bought a homeowner lunch.  A number of heartfelt stores were told by residents about people who had lost their lives.  Our team along with other volunteers unpacked, sorted, and stocked goods at a distribution center.  Long lines of residents affected by the fires came there each day to shop for food and household supplies.  Residents who had lost their homes worked with us as volunteers.  As a result of donations from Immanuel members, we presented a $520 check to the Smoky Mountain Area Rescue Ministries in Sevierville to help provide for families impacted by the East TN fires.  On Sunday, we attended worship at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Sevierville.  As a partner in ministry, St. Paul has been engaged locally in supporting the fire recovery efforts.  Throughout our trip, we used a variety of opportunities God provided to be his witnesses along the way.

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