GOD BLESS THE CHILDREN
I’m sure that most of the people who might read this blog are aware of the awful losses suffered recently by many in East Tennessee. Earlier this week, the wild fires in the Gatlinburg area were followed by a tornado in McMinn County.
The numbers relative to the fires change daily, but here are the most current ones I have on this Friday afternoon, December 2. Thirteen are confirmed dead, while some are still missing. Eighty-five have been treated at the LaConte Medical Center in Sevierville for injuries. Three brothers were in Vanderbilt Hospital with severe burns, but one has now been discharged. Approximately 1,000 structures were either damaged or destroyed.
It is no surprise that these fires and the devastation caused by them have been called “one for the history books.” It is clearly one of the deadliest disasters in Tennessee history. Concern and relief from around the country has been overwhelming. Firefighters and police men and women from Tennessee and beyond have joined their local “brothers and sisters” to help with every area of this tragedy. The National Guard has been called out to help, also.
People are collecting and donating bottles of water, clothing, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene items, and anything else that might be needed. In fact, the items donated have exceeded the ability of the Red Cross and others to store them. Thousands of dollars have already been donated. What an outpouring of love and concern.
It seems that differences of every kind have been put aside. Isn’t that wonderful! Isn’t it sad that it takes a tragedy to accomplish that?
At the Seymour church of Christ, we have sent seven boxes of coats to be given away. Our contribution on Sunday will be sent to the Gatlinburg congregation. They lost their building, but it was completely insured. This money is so they can help the three families in their congregation who lost everything in the fires. We are also obtaining the names and specific needs of some who were affected by the fires and are known by our members at Seymour. We believe this will allow us to help in a very direct, personal way.
I am also glad to report that the Church of Christ Disaster Relief Fund has sent two trucks already, with two others on standby. They are always among the first in and the last out.
Lastly, I want to tell you about something that happened at our services last Wednesday evening. We dismissed our classes and everyone met in the auditorium to pray and talk about how we might help in this time of need. Several people were asking question, and one little five-year-old fella raised his hand. I wondered what he would say, but I asked him what his questions was. He said, “Are there any children who might need toys?” I told him I was sure there were. He said, “I am going to ask my mommy if I can give my toys to the boys and girls who need them.”
I did then what I just did again as I typed those words. I cried. God bless the children! God bless the children who were impacted by the fires, and God bless those who are willing to give their toys to them!
It is no wonder that Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:2).