Local News

Churches, Volunteers In Eastern NC Plan To Spread Christmas Cheer

Posted December 23, 1999

— This will be a special Christmas for survivors of the flooding in the eastern part of the state. Over the holiday, churches are working overtime to fill the faithful and the Christmas spirit.

When First Baptist Church opens up its doors for worship on Friday night, some new faces will be there.

William Joyner's home was filled with water after Hurricane Floyd, but thanks to volunteers from the church and churches throughout the country, he hopes to move back home next month.

He has bonded with people who he did not even know a few months ago.

"They have done a super job on the house," Joyner said. "Now, I really know and understand more what it means to be a Christian. It means to give more than to receive."

"Without that, we couldn't be where we are right now," Joyner said.

New friendships are forming as people from the eastern part of the state work together to recover.

Louise Stevens is preparing a traditional holiday dinner in her temporary home. She will also worship with First Baptist Church volunteers on Friday night.

Without the volunteers helping out, she says her home would be nowhere close to being finished.

"I guess they helped me so much that I didn't have time to do a lot of worrying," Stevens said. "I just want to thank the Lord and thank them."

Church members say they are glad to be part of the long-term recovery but they never expected the benefits they are getting in return, both emotionally and spiritually.

"The volunteers are serving God by serving the people of Edgecombe County," said E.J. Poindexter, deacon and volunteer at First Baptist Church.

More than 250 new volunteers are set to arrive Sunday night to continue the rebuilding effort in eastern Tarboro.

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