Encountering Christ in Pensacola

June 23, 2014 • United States

The love of Jesus shown by Samaritan’s Purse volunteers changes the life of a woman victimized by the Florida floods

Anita Weston was reluctant to leave her house. She suffers from a severe form of anxiety, and doesn’t like to go outside. But when Pensacola, Florida, was inundated with historic flooding, she didn’t have a choice.

The city was inundated by more than 15 inches of rain the night of April 30. Anita’s home was damaged beyond repair.

Samaritan’s Purse responded to the disaster by sending staff and volunteers to help people affected by the floods.

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Over a six-week period, 241 volunteers working out of our base at Myrtle Grove Baptist Church in Pensacola helped 135 homeowners. Our teams, working alongside chaplains from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, demonstrated God’s love and concern. They helped lead 79 people to faith in Christ.

“God allowed us to be a part of what He is doing here in Pensacola,” said Bruce Poss, program manager for the response. “God’s name has been proclaimed. Now, we are confident that these churches will follow-up with those who have made decisions.”

Anita was one of the people we helped.

Volunteers cleaned out her house, trying to see if anything could be salvaged. They were able to recover a nativity set, a gift to Anita from a dear friend who had passed away. As they worked, they assured Anita that God was with her and helped calm her fears.

When the job was complete, the team presented her with a Bible signed by all her new friends and acquaintances and prayed with her.

“The volunteers are amazing caring people, who take the time to help and listen,” Anita said.

By removing ruined belongs, cleaning mud and muck and providing comfort, volunteers were able to show her the Gospel in action and Anita committed her life to Christ with her much needed support system right beside her.

Samaritan’s Purse helped many homeowners like Anita overcome the disaster by providing relief physically, emotionally and spiritually.

“God has a path for us to pursue,” said Joe Lenhard, a volunteer leader. “One day we went to the first house and there was nothing to do. The same for the second. But the third house needed us. Then the chaplain showed up and all of a sudden a man is being saved. You begin to realize, this isn’t my thing, it’s something God has appointed.”

Please pray for the restoration and rehabilitation of Pensacola. Pray that the new believers will grow in their faith, and that homeowners like Anita will find a place to re-start their lives as they continue to recover from the storm.