By Jennifer Johnson
In April 2011, Alabama was hit by more than 170 tornados—one of the largest outbreaks of tornadic storms in the area’s history. Although Huntsville (AL) Christian Church’s building wasn’t affected, its community was.
“People went without power for weeks, and we used part of our building as a huge food pantry,” says associate minister Andrew Ellingwood. “We get tornadoes every year, and people always pull together. But this was so big we all needed help. Churches across the country sent food and water, and mission teams visited to participate in the cleanup efforts. Every week there was a group from a different church using our building as a staging site.”
Teen Mission, an outreach and teaching ministry based in Lexington, KY, worked with HCC throughout the summer, providing a steady supply of volunteers. So when another wave of deadly storms swept through Kentucky and Indiana last spring, Huntsville decided to “pay it forward” by helping victims there.
Four teams from the church participated in the recovery effort late last year, working with Teen Mission and several other church teams to rebuild, organize a community block party, and participate in an outreach event.
“We’re still recovering here, but we really wanted to bless others,” Ellingwood says. “When Teen Mission said they could use the help, our answer was an immediate yes.”