April 17

Written by Bill Grandi on April 17th, 2023

Several weeks ago our community and surrounding areas experienced something we had never really experienced before-a tornado. We are more prone to flooding caused by the White River than a tornado. High and straight-line winds uprooted several huge trees-their roots made weaker by rain-saturated ground- in town. The state park just outside of town saw its campground destroyed-not by a tornado landing, but by the vortex, the suction of one passing over. Campers were flipped over. Tree-multiple trees-were uprooted and flung around like toothpicks, landing on campers and vehicles. And sadly two folks, who didn’t hear the warning to evacuate and head to the bathhouse were found dead in their camper. The tornado did land and wiped out multiple homes.

The Monday following the tornado, our Youth Pastor, Ryan, took two days to assess the situation, meet with some of the homeowners and offer help. He put feet to that by delivering over $600 worth of huge totes that the elders okayed for him to buy. But it wasn’t a one-and-done.

This past Saturday, after a special class presented by a group called IDES (International Disaster Emergency Services)-which ironically had been rescheduled from a few weeks earlier, several of our folks put on gloves, boots, and dirty clothes and spent over 3 hours helping some of the homeowners who solicited and accepted help.

I was proud of those folks. They became the hands and feet of Jesus. The common thing is to express sympathy and grief for a situation or loss and to say, “We will pray for you” and then go on our merry way. These folks said, “No. We will do more than that.” James 2 speaks directly to that. What good is it to say I’m sorry to hear you are hungry and without a place to lay your head, and then send them on their way with a “be warm and well fed.”

I believe those who helped were examples of what James 2:18 says, “You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” We are saved by faith alone, but like James says our works should follow that salvation.

Big or small. Show your faith by what you do.


10 Comments so far ↓

  1. Ryan S. says:

    Bill, I think what you describe is what Jesus calls us all to. We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are to be the ones that look for and respond to the needs that are in front of us. We are the ones who should be lending a helping hand and providing. Not just for ourselves, not just for our families, not just for our friends, but our neighbors, our community.

    The line of storms that wreaked havoc in your neck of the words found its way into ours as well. Trees snapped, power lines down, roads blocked. Some area looked like a war zone for sure. Being a recipient of help in the form of a generator and chipper made a difference for me and I was grateful. Manually bailing water from a basement to keep it from flooding was not my idea of a good time.

    It really does boil down to perspective. Our damage was trivial compared to most. I am still physically able to clean up and cut up what fell in my yard. My neighbor, on the other hand, needed some assistance. She vacated her property while the power was out and came home to a cleared back yard. Not because I wanted to the accolades, but I wanted her to experience the love of Christ.

    You don’t have to experience a storm or a catastrophe to see the needs in the community. There will always be needs, there will always be a place to share Christ’s love in very tangible ways. It may simply be a listening ear in some cases, a warm meal in others, a bed to sleep on, or a tree to cut.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      I know you are not looking for accolades so I won’t say much except “you showed Jesus.” ‘Nuff said.

  2. May God bless Ryan and all those who stepped out and stepped up in faith to help others!
    Blessings, Bill!

  3. gail says:

    Being a good christian takes putting your words into action, and giving hurting people your time. Our pray group that meets once a month to pray for the community, did pray for the group doing the work, and for the people who were dealing with the tornado damage to their property. I wish I could have been part of both groups. When churches reach out, it not only helps people physically, it also helps give them a mental boost. Giving the glory to God, teaches people who is behind the help.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      You WERE a part of the group Gail. You prayed. There are some who are able and also have the time to work. There are others who have neither. Please don’t slight what you and the prayer group did.

  4. Lux G. says:

    Faith without action is dead. That’s why we need to not only pray and ask but also work towards what we’re praying for. Great reminder!

  5. Cheryl says:

    I have a strong inkling that the reason your congregation reached out the way they did was because of their pastor and his faithful teaching all these years. May He continue to bless you as you lead by example, Pastor Bill. You are such a blessing.

    • Bill Grandi says:

      Thank you Cheryl. We do have a lot of good people who want to reach out and I work with a youth pastor and secretary who also have that same heart.