FIRST-PERSON: Here's how you can help Ala.
Some cities, like Hackleburg and Phil Campbell, are essentially in rubble. Parts of Tuscaloosa look like they have been carpet bombed. The Pleasant Grove/Concord areas near Birmingham are in desperate condition as well.
Power outages across north Alabama have been in the multiple hundreds of thousands. This means food and fuel are in short supply. People in various communities in our state are looking for loved ones who have yet to be found.
Churches, like Alberta Baptist in Tuscaloosa, Eastside in Cullman, FBC Phil Campbell, Mountain View in Phil Campbell and FBC Hackleburg are in ruin. So many others are in critically damaged condition, too. Believe me, this is not an exhaustive list.
I have personally done my best to travel the state and see firsthand the impact of this tornado outbreak. Alabama Baptists have deployed hundreds of disaster relief teams across the affected areas. Our state missionaries are also on the ground helping to coordinate the communication needs and serve as disaster relief workers. Other state conventions have been and are moving assets and personnel into Alabama.
What can you do for Sweet Home Alabama? Please pray for Alabamians. Prayer is always powerful and needful. Second, please give sacrificially to the Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief Fund (www.alsbom.org/tornadorelief). All monies received will go toward helping people impacted by the storms.
This is an overwhelming situation, but we don't have to be overwhelmed. We serve the God of Psalm 46, who is "our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble."
The people of Alabama are resilient and resourceful. We will get through this horrific situation. As Alabama Baptists, we will do what we can, where we can, to meet people's needs in the name of Christ.
"The Lord of Hosts is with us, The God of Jacob is our refuge" (Psalm 46:7).
Rick Lance is a state missionary and executive director with the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. This article originally was posted at his blog, www.RickLance.com.