Brenda recounts her work in Gatlinburg after fire destroyed over 29,000 acres in the area."Our job was to remove burnt metal debris so families could begin the process of sifting through the ashes to find any belongings that may have survived".
Serving in times of crisis is nothing new to Brenda. The first thing she will tell you is, "When serving, it is so important to be aware and sensitive to all the people God brings across your path". She makes it a point to listen to every story, shed tears along side them, offer hugs, and hold their hands while praying.
For the team in Gatlinburg, they found themselves encouraging utility workers who were working long hours, praying for an insurance agent whose heart was heavy from all the loss, and working along side family members searching for any memory that may have survived.
As they sifted and searched, one homeowner shared the history of their lives and their home, his wife, still healing from 2nd degree burns. "May I pray for each of you?", his wife asked with tremendous gratitude. Brenda recalls the prayer being filled with gratitude and praise to God for keeping them safe in the fire and His provisions in the midst of a difficult and overwhelming time. She prayed for the teams' protection as they worked in the dirty ash and on a very steep hill to cut burned trees. "I watched her face and heard her words and it was clear how God was showing her His beauty in the midst of ashes and destruction and how she could share her story of grief and loss, to glorify His name."
As believers we are called to bring light, joy, and hope to those He places in our lives. The Disaster Relief Team's prayer is that the words shared and the work done will be a testimony to His promises and that all the lives touch will know that God is trustworthy and faithful even when life feels hopeless.
For information about how to serve with Disaster Relief, visit Hermitage Hills Disaster Relief. There you can sign up and someone from the team will contact you.