In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew hit North Carolina, leaving damaged and destroyed homes in its wake.
Since then, N.C. Baptists on Mission (NCBM), also known as Baptist Men, have made restoring and rebuilding some of these homes a top priority through its disaster relief ministry.
Forrest and Lillie Jean Mobley are the owners of one such home.
Last Oct. 7, the Mobleys left their home in Duplin County to visit their daughter, hoping to remain with her for a few days. Hurricane Matthew hit North Carolina later that weekend, and by the time the Mobleys returned home, their house had been flooded in nearly three feet of water.
“We lost everything except the dishes that were up in the top cabinets,” Lillie Jean Mobley said. “A few pictures on the top wall, and that’s about all that we saved. A few clothes.”
The couple was on a waiting list for a few months since many other homes in the area needed to be restored. When Baptists on Mission volunteers showed up to work on their home, the Mobleys said they were grateful for the joy and integrity that the volunteers brought to their work. It’s what separates them from other organizations, they said.
“They have caring people,” Forrest Mobley said. “People that do things like they think they need to be done, which is good.”
“To see how they have just jumped in and taken hold and do what needs to be done – and they do it with a smile!” Lillie Jean Mobley added.
“They’re happy to do it, and that makes a big difference.”
NCBM has set a goal to rebuild and restore up to 1,000 homes that were damaged by Hurricane Matthew in the next two years. The organization receives most of its funding from the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO), which is received primarily during the month of September. Each year, 41 percent of the NCMO funds are allocated to Baptists on Mission for ministries like disaster relief.
This year, the offering’s theme is “Eyes to See,” taken from John 4:35. Richard Brunson, NCBM’s executive director, says disaster relief isn’t just about helping people rebuild homes. It’s about sharing the love and gospel of Jesus Christ and helping people build a new life in Christ. “When God gives those who serve Him eyes to see the brokenness and hurt around them, He works through acts of compassion and love to touch lives,” Brunson said.
The Mobleys said the workers’ kindness and consideration have helped them in dealing with the aftermath of the flood, which brought about losses that are both monetary and sentimental. The Mobleys lost most of their possessions from their 48 years of marriage in the storm, in addition to irreplaceable items given to them from family members who have since passed away.
https://youtu.be/iEKCzSJs5o8 “It’s just hard,” Lillie Jean Mobley said. “We had so many people here helping us tear out and taking everything and just putting it on the pile. But we do have our memories, and that’s something that can’t be taken away from us.”
And through the work of the Baptists on Mission volunteers, the Mobleys say that they had been blessed.
“This time with the flood, if you’ve never been through it before, it is something else. I hope I never have to go through it again,” Forrest Mobley said. “But if we had to, I hope we could count on (N.C. Baptist Men) to help us.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Watch a video about the Mobleys by visiting vimeo.com/channels/ncmo. To learn more about the North Carolina Missions Offering, visit ncmissionsoffering.org.)