One week after Hurricane Dorian blew through the Outer Banks, I loaded up my car and headed to Cape Hatteras. This was in response to a call I received from Paul Langston, missions mobilization consultant with the North Carolina Baptists on Mission (also known as N.C. Baptist Men).
Our shower units were set up on Ocracoke Island, and the day before receiving his message over 400 showers were taken in those units. The problem was they had no towels. No towels, wow! When was the last time you took a shower but didn’t have a towel?
I don’t mean you didn’t have a handy towel, or a clean towel but you had no towel.
Even if that happened you were likely still in the comfort and privacy of your own home, not standing in a unit in a parking lot somewhere and possibly unable to even stay in your own home due to storm damage. Then all of a sudden, it occurs to you, “I have no towel.”
That simple little reality touched me deeply. I had just had my eyes dilated when I received that message. I left the eye doctor’s office and with blurry vision headed out to buy all the towels I could fit in my car.
I called Russ Howard, pastor of Hatteras Baptist Church and told him I was on my way. He suggested a few other things for me to bring if I could and after utilizing every inch of space in my SUV, I headed to the Island.
It was there that I witnessed what I had long known but never seen. I witnessed what I have talked about in many conversations.
I witnessed what I had given many offerings to over the years. I witnessed what millions of people have witnessed in the worst of times.
I witnessed the presence of dozens of yellow shirts and the operation of the N.C. Baptist men and women. It was a machine operating at high capacity.
I witnessed the gigantic feeding operation, and I witnessed a barrage of kind smiles and warm handshakes.
I witnessed your mission dollars invested at their best in a time of desperation for many and an opportunity to serve, love and encourage for many others.
I will not take my towel for granted, and I will not take for granted the amazing ministries of Baptists all around the world and the possibility that the very best of the bunch are right here in North Carolina!
Maybe you would like to help make sure this amazing ministry never stops being a helping hand in the most difficult of times. You can send your contributions, designated to Disaster Relief, to NCBM, P.O. Box 1107, Cary, NC 27512.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – James A. Harrington is the associational mission strategist for Chowan Baptist Association and pastor of Fellowship Baptist Church in Moyock. He originally wrote this to share in the association’s newsletter.)