Sharing help and hope

Recent tornadoes in Kilmichael have left many residents continuing to repair the damage.

The lights are back on, but the work continues.

On Saturday, several Stewart-Kilmichael area churches and volunteers got together to pray with people from the Kilmichael area who suffered storm damage and fed them a free lunch on the square.

“It is always good to see churches working together for a great cause,” said Rev. Martin Jacks of Stewart Baptist Church.

“It was great to see our churches working together to share the love of Jesus with the people of Kilmichael,” said Myra Hill of Poplar Creek Nations Baptist Church. “I think it was a huge success and I hope that we can do it again.”

With the smell of hamburgers cooking on the grill and an inflatable castle going up, Kilmichael residents flocked to the square to take a break from the continual clean-up effort.

This project began with a desire to help in Kilmichael, but not really knowing what to do. Jodi May, and her husband, Rev. Derek May of Pine Forest Baptist Church of Stewart, had the idea of sending prayer teams into the Kilmichael community just to talk and pray with residents during this overwhelming time. And food is always a good idea.

May reached out to friends at a few local churches to get a feel for a community project of this nature. The response was overwhelming. So many had the same reaction – they wanted to do something to help their neighbors in Kilmichael after the recent tornado, but didn’t quite know what to do.

“I’m amazed at the body of Christ that has stepped up to love the town of Kilmichael,” Jodi May said. “From the time this idea was born to the time everything was covered was three days! God is so good! Philippians 4:19 stands true for our outreach but also for the town of Kilmichael! “(We want to give) God the glory he deserves. All inspiration comes from Him. All ability comes from Him. And the love we have for perfect strangers comes from Him! When this event was mentioned, God had already turned people’s hearts toward the idea.”

On Saturday, prayer teams gathered at 8 a.m. on the square in Kilmichael to pray for the community as a whole. Each team took a cooler full of bottled water to hand out. Any person who gets a bottled water were also asked “How can I pray for you?”

“The goal is to pour out water on dry ground–not necessarily H2O, but living water!” Jodi May said.

“We were sent out to spread Jesus’ love,” said Brandi Bridges Velcek. “We offered cool bottles of water to the people. We chatted and visited with them for a minute and told them our mission for the day. We then asked for specific prayer needs. Some gave very detailed needs; some just said they could use every prayer we sent up for them! We just loved on a community that needed if after the tornado a month ago. The people have been very blessed with community help already. We just wanted to let them know they weren’t forgotten. It was a blessing to us to go out and talk and pray with the folks there. I pray they received a blessing also!”

 At 10 a.m., they fired up the grills, inflated the bouncy house and a morning of music, face painting, sharing salvation bracelets and great food on the square got underway. It was a little after lunchtime when it began to rain, but everyone had eaten and were sitting around visiting by that point.

“The outreach and cookout showed us how much work needs to be done in Kilmichael,” Jodi May said, “not necessarily physical work, although there’s plenty need there, but spiritual work. This felt like the first of many visits. Our hope is to challenge ourselves to go and inspire others to help grow the Kingdom…We may never know how God used our short visit, but I know how blessed I was to be there!”

For more information about future outreach opportunities, contact Jodi May at (601) 594-6877.



 This story was featured in the June 8, 2017 edition of The Winona Times.

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