PIKEVILLE, Ky. (KT) – Jason Lowe, the associational mission strategist for the Pike Association of Southern Baptists, returned from the vacation of a lifetime to the flooding of a lifetime.
Lowe returned from a baseball ballpark trip with his family to the “worst flooding I’ve ever seen in eastern Kentucky,” he said.
While much of Pike County was spared from the heaving flooding, he said the southwestern corner of the county was hit hard with hundreds of homes damaged. There was about 7 inches of rain in that area that dumped six feet of water in Faith Baptist Church of Myra. The fellowship hall and Christian school materials were destroyed, he said.
As Lowe has traveled throughout the region, assessing damage, he said it is overwhelming to witness. A group of 18 individuals from Pike association churches are doing some of the assessment work as Disaster Relief teams from Kentucky and Alabama begin coming in to set up operations.
“We thought doing that assessing would be some of the best things we could do right now,” he said. “Most of Pike County is already out of search and rescue stage and have started assessing damage.”
Lowe said they are also collecting cleaning supplies that they can put in buckets. It's going to be a long haul operation as the area recovers from another flood pounding.
He said the Long Fork area of Virgie has about half of the 750 homes damaged from the flood. “It was miles and miles of damage,” he said.
Lowe also instructed the men who were assessing to be mindful of the potential to have gospel conversations with those who have been victimized by the flooding.
“What I’ve found is that in times of difficulty, sometimes people are more open to the gospel now than other times, especially those who suffered loss of life,” he said. “It gets them to thinking about brevity of life. It also opens up people to the gospel message. I prayed with our teams this morning. I told them they were going to be dealing with people who are hurting and have lost everything. It’s an opportunity to pray and maybe share the gospel.
“People are asking questions why did this have to happen or why did God let this happen? God works all things together. He will work good out of tragedy. We are trying to give people hope. We definitely need hope for the mountains.”