Episode 098

Comforting A Community, Disaster Relief, & Ukraine Response

May 18, 2022

Four miles from the Tops Friendly Markets mass shooting, North Buffalo Community Church Pastor William Smith is comforting a crying community. The forecast only called for a small chance of severe weather on April 12 in Salado, Texas, but before the day was over, and EF-3 tornado would change the small town forever. And Texas Baptist Disaster Relief Workers have just returned from working in Poland where they served refugees from Ukraine.

Transcript

Four miles from the Tops Friendly Markets mass shooting, North Buffalo Community Church Pastor William Smith is comforting a crying community.

Church member Cashell Durham lost her baby brother Aaron Salter in the massacre – a 55-year-old retired Buffalo police officer and Tops security guard, who was among four employees killed.

“We’re just trying to deal with the pain. So many of us Saturday were just crying. The pain was so hard,” Smith said. “And the Lord is the One who’s going to be near the brokenhearted. And when He’s near the brokenhearted, I really believe that that’s going to be what we need.”

A total of 10 people were killed in what police are calling a racially motivated shooting on May 14.

“We need the Lord’s guidance and we need prayer. Which was very encouraging, we got prayer from all over the country from people.” Many offered to help in any way needed.

The forecast only called for a small chance of severe weather on April 12 in Salado, Texas, but before the day was over, and EF-3 tornado would change the small town forever.

Donnie Jackson, pastor of First Cedar Valley Baptist Church, said, “The tornado wiped out everything,” Jackson said. Large oaks and 200-year-old cedars were uprooted and tossed into piles. All that remained of First Cedar Valley Baptist’s 13-year-old sanctuary structure was its slab foundation and its cross, anchored to the foundation. Thankfully, the storm did not cause any fatalities, but many lifelong friends lost property.

The churches older sanctuary, built in 1942, suffered structural damage and proved unsalvageable.

Jackson choked up as he told how the members of the church had to tear down their worship space to make room for new construction.

On Easter Sunday, less than a week after the disaster, First Cedar Valley held worship on its bare slab, the service covered by area news outlets.

A tent has since been erected, and a church member who is a builder has arranged for a temporary building. They intend to build back on the same foundation, using the same plans but with a few modifications, such as reconfiguring interior walls to allow for more meeting areas and less office space.

Good News for Today is sponsored by The Voice of the Martyrs

Good News for Today is made possible through our friends at The Voice of the Martyrs, a nonprofit organization that serves persecuted Christians around the world. Founded in 1967 by Richard and Sabina Wurmbrand, VOM is dedicated to inspiring believers to deepen their commitment to Christ and to fulfill His Great Commission — no matter the cost. Find out more and sign up for their free monthly magazine at vom.org/goodnews.

Texas Baptist Disaster Relief Workers have just returned from working in Poland where they served refugees from Ukraine. The team worked alongside Polish Christians who were caring for their neighbors as the Russian bombardment of Ukraine continues.

To find ways you can help refugees fleeing Ukraine, visit SendRelief.org.

Find more stories at BaptistPress.com.

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