‘God providing’ in hard-hit places following Alabama tornado outbreak

HAYNEVILLE, Ala.—Davey Lyon spent a lot of time over the weekend flipping burgers. He and around 20 volunteers served food from his church’s pull-behind grill to the people of Selma in the aftermath of a tornado that hit their city Jan. 12.

“It’s pretty bad in Selma. Think of Tuscaloosa, just on a smaller scale,” said Lyon, pastor of Imago Dei Church at the 45 in nearby Lowndes County, referring to the tornado that tore through the middle of Tuscaloosa in 2011. “In Selma, it started on the west end and came all the way through town.”

Huge trees are down, houses are destroyed and power is out for many in the city.

Lyon said looking at the damage, “it’s only by God’s grace that there aren’t hundreds of casualties.”

Making good progress

And the people of Selma know that, he said. His wife, Amber, said as she talked to people in the community, they’re just grateful to be alive and thankful for the people who are coming in to help them put their lives back together.

That includes Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief teams who are working hard to clear neighborhoods and fill job requests. Mark Wakefield, state disaster relief strategist, said volunteers have gotten a lot of traction in their first couple of days and are making good progress.

“Selma is an old town with big trees, and that’s slowing them down a little,” he said. “But they’re getting it done.”

Wakefield said Elkdale Baptist Church is a “phenomenal host” for teams as a command center. Teams from Walker, St. Clair, Pickens, Colbert Lauderdale, Shelby and North Jefferson Baptist associations as well as others have been working and will continue to work there this week.

He said teams are also working in the hard-hit areas of Autauga, Elmore, Coosa and Tallapoosa counties.

Lyon and other volunteers have been helping to feed the teams in Selma, along with Alabama Power employees and Selma residents who need a hot meal. He said God recently provided the church with the pull-behind grill and other equipment they’ve been able to use this week.

‘God has just provided’

And he’s seen God meet their needs too as they’ve grilled. The night the tornado hit, he bought $700 worth of food, and he had one person bring him $200 and another person $500 without him asking or disclosing the total amount to either of them.

“We made 180 boxes and got those out that first day (Jan. 13),” Lyon said.

After giving out that food, he went back to Sam’s to buy food for the next day and doubled the amount — around $1,300 of food.

“Then I got a text from a guy we were able to give some food to that day, and he said his company wanted to cover it,” Lyon said. “God has just provided.”

He said they were able to prepare 400 meal boxes Saturday (Jan. 14), and about $8,000 worth of donations have come in since then from people who have seen the posts on social media and want to help.

This article originally appeared on The Alabama Baptist.

TEXAN Correspondent
Grace Thornton
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