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N.C. family of 10 at state park finds help in Liberty association


GLASGOW—A family of 10 hurricane evacuees from Rocky Point, N.C., has found themselves camping in a single tent in a state park in Barren County after Florence dumped massive amounts of rain on their coastal home. Moved with compassion, a Baptist association in South Central Kentucky, however, is seeking to offer comfort and help to them.

Through "a series of odd connections," Hustonville, Ky., pastor Andrew McGinnis said he became aware of a family of five adults, five children, and three dogs, who had been displaced by flooding and taken refuge at Barron River Lake State Park. He sent an email to Liberty Baptist Association's director of missions, Lynn Traylor, asking if area churches would minister to this family in distress.

The Thompson family stands in front of a camper loaned to them by members of Calvary Baptist Church. The family of 10 had all been camping in a single tent in Barren River Lake State Park.

Faced with rising floodwaters, the Thompson family rented a small U-haul, loaded up all of the clothing and food that they could, and headed west, eventually winding up in Kentucky. Though they were hoping they would be able to return home in a few days, they've since learned that their home is underwater—and probably will be for days.

"When we get home, we are going to gather what we have left—if there is anything left—and we are just going to have to start from scratch. We have already prepared for everything to be gone," Michael Thompson, told WNKY News Reporter Cecilia Herrell.

Liberty Association's missions and evangelism team and Southside Baptist Church—the closest church to the state park—has provided assistance through gift cards for food and other necessities. Some members of Calvary Baptist Church even have loaned a camper for their use, giving the large family some much appreciated space for sleeping.

After the local TV station aired its story, food and other items have been brought to them. "A number of people have stopped by to drop off stuff," Thompson said. "We've been surprised by all the things people having been doing to help."

And, through their adversity, Leila, his 13-year-old daughter, feels she's learned a valuable lesson. "Family is more important that having all the things that you own and keeping all of your family together and safe is more important," she told WNKY News.

One of things Traylor points out about the association's response, though, is cooperation among Baptists. "(This happened) because you had a woman and husband who were camping who met this family and were moved with compassion on their need, and they contacted their pastor to ask how they could help these folks. The pastor looked up a local Baptist association, and then emailed me to let me know of the family's need," he noted.

"That's just how God works things out," Traylor added.

Even though McGinnis' church, Hustonville, is in Lincoln County about 85 miles from the state park, through the network of Baptist associations, he was able to make a connection and arrange some assistance for a family in need. "We often think we're over here, and they're over there," McGinnis said, adding that through associations, however, needs can be met across a distance. (WR)

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