The tornado scattered nearly everything they owned across the road outside their once standing mobile home and into a nearby field.
Terry and Sharon Bond and their three teenagers lost their home in Harrellsville on April 16, 2011.
That day tornados hit North Carolina, claiming 24 lives. Hundreds of homes were destroyed and thousands were damaged.
Fortunately the Bonds remained safe in the home of Sharon’s mother just down the road.
“Nothing was left standing,” Sharon Bond said. “I felt like the story of the three little pigs when the wolf blew the house down. I lost my home, but I thank God, … [we] just lost material things.”
Her brother’s home also was damaged in the storm, and both families moved into their mother’s three-bedroom house.
“There were 10 of us living in the same house,” she said.
BSC photos by Mike Creswell
Sharon Bond hugs Billy Layton, project coordinator with N.C. Baptist Men, at the dedication ceremony of Bond’s new home in December.
“We stayed there for a while and then [the Bonds] moved into a FEMA trailer.”
With limited income, the Bonds weren’t sure when their family would find a permanent place to live.
A few months later they were notified that N.C. Baptist Men were building them a house.
In December, the Bonds were one of four families in Bertie and Hertford Counties to receive newly built homes.
“I thought, ‘Is this for real?’” Bond said. “I was just overjoyed, teary eyed – all I could do was cry. When they gave us the key it was unbelievable.”
Two of the houses were dedicated Dec. 16.
The Bond’s house and one other were completed a few days later – just in time for Christmas. Each house was 1,400-square feet, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.
Each house also included a fully decorated Christmas tree to welcome the new homeowners.
The families hung signs on their front porches thanking North Carolina Baptist Men for building them a new house.
A crowd of volunteers, family and friends gathered outside the houses to celebrate the project’s completion.
“I would just like to thank everyone [who] had a part in building our home,” said Dorothy Earley, who moved into a new house with her daughter, Crystal.
“The number one person to thank is God,” she added.
“I would like to thank Him and [North Carolina Baptists].
“It’s been a blessing to me and a blessing to my daughter.”
“We never asked for this but this is what we got,” added Harriet Williams, 87.
“It’s so pretty, A rich person doesn’t have a prettier house than this. I’m so proud of it.”
The project wouldn’t have been completed on time without God providing the needed volunteers, said Billy Layton, project coordinator with N.C. Baptist Men.
In August, Hurricane Irene delayed the project for several weeks after it damaged houses along much of the East Coast.
Layton, however, remained faithful that God would provide – even when he wasn’t sure how it would happen.
“People came in every day,” he said. “People were helping from all over. We had 25 to 30 people a day, and we were expecting six.”
A total of 300 to 400 volunteers assisted with the project.
On the Layton’s blog – missiontripadventures.blogspot.com – he and his wife, Ann, shared photos and their thoughts on how the project impacted their lives.
Ann, – who worked alongside her husband – wrote the following message: “Some days I feel like I’m missing Christmas … the baking goodies, decorating the house and Christmas shopping.
“But then we get the privilege of dedicating a brand new house to a grateful family and handing them the keys to their home.
“Then I know that we are where God has placed us and just where we belong.”
In addition to the volunteers, all of North Carolina Baptists who give through the Cooperative Program and to the North Carolina Missions Offering have helped contribute to the project.
“I want to thank [N.C. Baptists] for giving … for praying,” said Gaylon Moss, who helps coordinate disaster relief and volunteers for N.C. Baptist Men, “and for participating in helping us to build these homes … and what [they] do [for] North Carolina missions.”
For Sharon Bond, it was a Christmas gift she and her family will never forget.
“I thank God for [North Carolina Baptists],” Bond said.
“There is love out there.”
For more photos and the latest updates on N.C. Baptist Men, check out their page on Facebook at NC Baptist Men’s Disaster Relief Ministry.
Call (800) 395-5102, ext. 5599 or visit baptistsonmission.org.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Mike Creswell, Baptist State Convention Communications, contributed to this story.)