Posted by John Schroeder
It's not every day that I am removing tree branches from the middle of my street in complete darkness, in the rain while wearing shorts and blue sandals. I can still hear the sounds of my neighbor's chainsaw cutting the trees down so that I could move them. Watching neighbors step outside of their homes with flashlights, trying to comprehend the damage around them. It only took about 90 seconds, but it will take weeks to recover. That was my Monday night.
Since Monday evening the city of Albany has done a fantastic job trying to put back what we can. Local businessmen have taken time away from their jobs to bring heavy equipment to move large trees. Volunteers are showing up throughout each day. I have seen more of my neighbors in the past two days than in the past five years that I have been living on 6th Avenue. For a city that gets in a lot of trouble when things are "the norm," this tragedy has caused boys to be men.
The local churches have been a huge encouragement to my family and my neighbors. Seeing churches come through with food, water, and hands is the gospel on display.
Greenbriar Church is one of the churches. I worked with a crew Monday for 10 hours and another team Tuesday for 6 hours. The before and after pictures are mind-blowing (Thanks, Greenbriar Peeps!). The church has opened its doors to the Phoebe nursery (Family Tree) until they get power. We also have posted a table filled with food and snacks for neighbors and volunteers on 6th Avenue for the past two days.
Greenbriar wants to continue to make an impact during this time. With so many needs we wanted to find someone who was centralizing information and needs. We, along with several churches, have joined up with Samaritan's Purse. SP is working to communicate with churches and organizations the needs of our city throughout the day. They have morning and afternoon volunteering opportunities for the next month. As a church; we never want to go rouge, doing our own thing so that we work against the city. Rather we want to help. We stand by our mission, For this City (that means for our neighbors and even beyond!). Sending volunteers to help with Samaritan's Purse will benefit the community and send our Partners and guests into an organized effort. If you have any questions about how you can get involved, you can call the office or email us. If you have rooms available for Partners or guests, let us know. If you want to drop off food or water give us a heads up. We can take those things to SP or the Avenues ourselves. If you are in need, please reach out. We will make some calls to help in any way we can.This is the fastest way to reach us: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Displaying needs a Declaring!
As disciples of Jesus (A disciple is a follower and learner of Jesus who is reproducing other followers and learners of Jesus), we are called to display and declare the gospel of Jesus. Displaying the gospel will be the easy part. Helping with shelter efforts, bringing food and water, moving trees away from homes, cleaning up yards, giving people a hug is simple, tangible, and needed. As the Church, I want to encourage each of you to think long term! Build relationships, listen, share your testimony of loss (and gain in Christ), point them to Christ, invite them to Greenbriar (pick them up for the Sunday service if necessary). Tell people why you are there (because Jesus was kind, loving, and generous to you first!). Let them hear you talk amongst yourselves about Christ's love and affection towards you while you are working. Pray with them concerning the next few weeks. Give them GB invite cards with your favorite scriptures on it. Go back and see them later or invite them over for dinner!
If you need Samaritan's Purses time and contact info you can follow this link: https://spvolunteernetwork.samaritanspurse.org/albany-ga-tornado-response/
Thank you for everything you're already doing to be "For this city". Continue displaying and declaring the good news of Jesus to those around you.