When rainy weather hindered the chainsaw work Donald Arnold’s team had planned to do in the Mandeville, Louisiana, area, he got creative.
“We got some training once we got here to do flood recovery and assessor work … because we still want to bless these people we’ve come to serve,” he said. “It was kind of a divine thing, because we came out of those first few days here better equipped to serve.”
The team of 17 came to Louisiana from all over Kansas through the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists to help those affected by Hurricane Ida. They’re working out of the Incident Command Center at Mandeville First Baptist Church.
And that resourceful thinking early on paid off when they came across a family in nearby LaCombe who needed some help. What they thought was a chainsaw job that they might not be able to complete turned out to be a flood recovery job — a flooded house that needed a lot of demolition and sorting through water-damaged possessions.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Cherie Tapahonso, who’s a member of Rock Hill Baptist Church in Lawrence, Kansas. “It’s really difficult. This is all that they have … and even though it might not look like much to us cleaning it, it means something to them.”
Donald Arnold’s wife, Kay, agreed, saying, “It’s especially hard when you’re throwing away toys.”
But despite these hard parts of Disaster Relief work, all of the Kansas volunteers were emphatic about the blessing they get from the work.
‘We love it’
Lexington, Kansas, resident Kenny Fogelson, who is a member of CrossPoint Church, said, “We love it. We want to share the gospel — we want to give (the people we help) hope and faith. … To be able to relieve some of the pressure for homeowners, there’s nothing like it.”
As Donald Arnold puts it, “It’s a double-edged blessing.
“Every time we’ve been out, we go to be a blessing and it always turns the other way … it’s just beautiful.”
The Arnolds are members of Shawnee Heights Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas.