In July, a week's worth of heavy rain caused extensive flooding in the southeastern states, sweeping away homes and businesses and claiming the lives of at least 38 people. When the water receded, Eight Days of Hope was among the first to respond.
"We've gone into some of the houses -- you've got to actually go in with shovels and shovel mud out of them," accounts ministry spokesman Gary Wilkins, who is on site managing volunteer crews. "Anything that got wet, we're removing from the house, and then we'll take commercial dehumidifiers in to help dry the house out. We go back in and spray for mold, and then about 48 hours after that, they're actually ready to start rebuilding and put stuff back together."
He says many of the victims are still stunned by the damage.
"There's just a lot of hurt and loss, and a lot of people really didn't know which way to turn, which is why we are here as we try to give them that glimpse of hope, to give them a new beginning, to help them start with the clean-up process and just start their healing," Wilkins shares.
The volunteers are Christians, and the Eight Days of Hope spokesman says taking the Word of God to victims of natural disasters is their primary focus.
"The work is secondary," Wilkins asserts. "Ministering to them, just showing them Christ's love -- that's why we're here."
Though it may take the area years to fully recover, he says spiritual recovery is happening now.