Local News

Bahama Church Grasps Spirit of Helping Flood Victims

Posted November 27, 1999 6:00 a.m. EST

— A church in the Durham County community of Bahama is far-removed from the floodwaters that ravaged Wayne County, but the congregation is bringing flood victims to the fold.

The congregation from Northern Free Will Baptist Church is adopting two families who thought a happy holiday had been swept away by Hurricane Floyd.

"You don't expect stuff like that, and it's that much more of a blessing," says James Chestnut. "They called us out of the blue and said, 'Hey, we want to do something for ya'll,' so it was a blessing."

The Chestnuts lost their house and the grocery store they run in Goldsboro. The flood also swept away most of their children's toys.

The Rouses also lost their home, as well as a construction business.

Church members will provide the two families with toys, gifts and some bare necessities this Christmas.

"It's gonna be okay," says Robert Rouse. "We're getting back on our feet and there's a lot of people praying for us. That helps."

Both families belonged to a church Pastor Mike Cordell led in Goldsboro.

When he moved to Northern Free Will Baptist Church, memories of what the families have been through stuck with him.

"There's something inside us that wants to care and nurture other people," says Cordell. "And this season of the year -- about giving and helping others -- that's what this season's all about."

Cordell hopes other churches will follow their lead.

"We should take that initiative and I hope this challenges other churches to do the same," he says.