Rebuilding and Reaching Out in Neon
by Trish Duggan, OPC Disaster Response Communications Coordinator
It’s been forty-nine days since six-and-a-half feet of water ravaged the church building of Neon Reformed OPC. Even though much has been accomplished, there is still much more to do. The Lord hears your prayers and is strengthening the community in Neon, even in this disaster! The church building has been mucked out, power-washed, sanitized, dried and now has drywall installed. In the six weeks since the flood, nearly one hundred volunteers from eleven states have already come to serve. We understand that more than 60% of the churches of the Presbytery of the Southeast have participated in the volunteer effort! The Lord has been very gracious.
Site Coordinator #2
With the focus changing to rebuilding at the church, Art Allen, a contractor and deacon at Shiloh OPC, Raleigh, NC has graciously agreed to coordinate the rebuilding effort at the church. Art has been serving in Neon and is impressed with the progress thus far.
Mercy Coordinator Needed
In addition to this concentrated effort to restore worship by rebuilding the church building, Neon Reformed OPC desires to reach out into this impoverished community to help the many who do not have the means to remove debris and mud from their homes. We are searching for someone, preferably a deacon, to serve as a mercy coordinator, to build relationships with the families of the community, joining the needs with the abilities of the volunteers, all the while pointing them to the true source of all good gifts.
Restoring Pastor Jay Bennett’s Library
The flood spared no items it touched, including the books in the first-floor library of Pastor Bennett. In an effort to replace the books, we have recruited a volunteer to coordinate book donations. Enrique Huezo, member of Shiloh OPC, Raleigh, NC, has agreed to serve as our book donations coordinator. To see the list of books needed, go to Enrique’s website, created for just this purpose. To get more information, email him at: [email protected]. Donations for restoring the library can be made to the Kentucky Flood Fund.
Update on the Work
At the church, the drywall has been hung, taped, and mudded and some carpentry work has been done. Next up is painting, and flooring, as well as cabinetry for the bathrooms. Now that the project has shifted to the rebuild, more skilled volunteer labor is needed in addition to general helpers. Please consider how you might serve the Lord in this way.
The Local Church
Pastor Jay Bennett (along with the support of his wife, Andrea) is working tirelessly to lead his family, congregation, and community through this disaster. Andrea serves as hospitality coordinator, making sure there are enough beds for each volunteer. We are so thankful for the service of the muck out coordinator, Reuben Long, as well as his sister, Helen, who worked a long, hard month, moving mud and debris out of the church and other places in the community.
David Nakhla, CDM Administrator, and OPC Disaster Response Coordinator, recently visited Neon to get a first-hand look at the devastation. He reported, “I was struck by the devastation that this community of the poorest of the poor endured. Some shared that they were thankful to escape the flood waters with their very lives. After the flood waters receded, many of their homes looked habitable from the outside. But inside these homes, many of them dilapidated mobile homes inherited from parents or grandparents, told a different story. And yet, with little aid coming in from outside, these families have no choice but to move back into these hazardous, soggy homes. This may be a real opportunity for volunteers to come show the love of Christ to these neighbors and strangers, on behalf of Neon Reformed OPC! I pray that many respond to the call to come.” Stay tuned for more on that.
Prayer and Praise
- that a permanent site coordinator has been identified and is on the ground in Neon!
- for the relationship we enjoy with MNA (PCA) and the help that they have provided in lending much needed equipment
- for the many generous donations to the Neon Flood Fund have brought us over $262,000 thus far.
- for the nearly one hundred volunteers that have come to serve and the amazing progress that has been made
- that the streets in Neon have been cleaned, showing signs of much needed improvement
- for the regular, behind the scenes work of the Neon Disaster Oversight Committee meeting weekly
- for the Body of Christ, working together to serve Neon
- for the group of pastors who donated toward the purchase of a Logos book subscription for Pastor Bennett and for the many books that have been donated to restore his library
- that the Lord would raise up a servant, preferably a deacon, to serve as Mercy Coordinator.
- that the effort would not experience material or volunteer shortages
- for the service of His Church to be a light to the community and point to Christ
- for the safety of volunteers
- that through this effort, the Lord would be glorified
Keep up with the effort in Neon by visiting the OPC Disaster Response website: OPCDisasterResponse.org. If you or your church would like to contribute toward this effort, visit give.opc.org. If you would like to volunteer, contact volunteer coordinator, Jane Robinson: [email protected] or go to OPCDisasterResponse.org and click on “Go!”