When Hurricane Michael hit the coast of the Panhandle area in Florida on October 10, 2018, there was no way to know what devastation would be left behind, how people would be able to survive, and if there would be any recovery at all.
It was late on Wednesday night that we heard that one of the supporting congregations of The Gospel of Christ had been in the direct path of the storm. The church of Christ at the Beaches (Overstreet) is approximately 5 miles from Mexico Beach and was right in the path of the outer bands of the eye of Michael.
Utter destruction took place. Winds were over 150 mph. On Thursday, it was discovered that some of the members of the congregation stayed in the area with intentions of helping the people that were not able to evacuate or chose to stay with their properties and businesses. Some of the families there pulled together and started an effort to take the food which would spoil to the church building and began to cook for anyone in the community. It was thought that over 100 people were fed that first day, and over 150 the next.
Once communication was established between our TGOC team and one of the members in the area, we found out that they were doing this; however, they had run out of food to serve. One of our TGOC team that has personal connections to the area and congregation contacted the elders and an all-out effort to secure and deliver supplies of a convoy of 2 pick-up trucks and trailers, a church bus with members and friends, and a U-Haul truck was loaded as heavily as possible and the journey to Florida began Monday and Tuesday. Monday, one truck went down and was able to also stop at some area congregations throughout Middle Tennessee and North Alabama to load some more supplies and receive monetary contributions for the efforts. The first truck arrived on Monday evening at curfew and unloaded, with the second set of trucks and the bus arriving on Tuesday. Our team then set up “camp” inside and outside of the church building and through the efforts of the local congregation there, our team, and several other church families around Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida, we were able to help the congregation with their intentional efforts of reaching out to the community with food and supplies.
Over the course of the next few days, our team and others delivered “goodie” boxes, while some of the team stayed at the church to help with deliveries, cooking, and distribution, while others went to remove debris at some of the homes in the area as well.
While all the glory is to God for this concentrated effort, we wanted to share some of our observations, photos, and friendships gained.
Please feel free to peruse all of the photos in these galleries and continue to pray and keep thoughts of this Overstreet church family that is doing exactly what the Bible describes in helping others (Mark 9:41). May God bless them in their recovery efforts now and in the future.
Photos taken by James Roller, Mike Swims and Joey Ferrell. Please do not reuse without permission. Not intended for broadcast.