Renewed Hope in Shuqualak, Miss

April 26, 2013 • United States

Samaritan's Purse volunteers ministered to storm victims after a tornado ripped through a small Mississippi community

Samaritan’s Purse left Shuqualak, Miss., on Thursday, two weeks after a devastating tornado ripped through the small town.

Dozens of volunteers helped 41 homeowners recover from the storm by patching damaged roofs, clearing debris, and cutting up and removing downed trees.

SAVING A LIFE IN SHUQUALAK: What started out as a standard disaster relief repair job turns into a rescue mission of a different kind

But the impact of the response went far beyond the physical relief work.

Matthew Green, the pastor of Shuqualak Baptist Church, said Samaritan’s Purse was a Godsend to his community. Over half of his congregation was affected by the disaster, and he described the little town as “barely surviving” before we arrived.

“It has changed the look of the community,” Green said. “Nothing like this has happened [before]. They haven’t seen this many volunteers helping in all aspects. I think it’s changing people.”

More than 55 volunteers came from all over the United States to offer their time, skills, and service to Samaritan’s Purse in an effort to help the little Mississippi community of around 500 residents. In all, more than 2,168 hours were volunteered to help tarp roofs and clear debris from damaged homes.

“I think they’ve received hope that there are people that still care about them and that there’s a chance of coming together as one,” said Mike Harper, a Samaritan’s Purse truck driver and fleet mechanic.

Disaster relief volunteers did more than just remove broken branches from yards. They also comforted the victims and shared the love of Jesus Christ.

“I think I’ve noticed there’s a difference in the spirituality of people around here,” Green said. “[Homeowners] are opening up and allowing themselves to be ministered to.  It’s furthering the Gospel. [Samaritan’s Purse volunteers] are really pouring their physical bodies into it and also their spiritual bodies into it.”

At the end of disaster relief efforts, four homeowners accepted Christ as their personal Savior.

“Because of the storm, there are doors that are open,” Green said. “We’re meeting needs and people are seeing the work that is being done. Their hearts are open.”

Please continue to pray for the people of Shuqualak as they continue to recover from the storm.