The idea of ordinary families driving from Tennessee to Alabama, to help storm victims deal with their unexpected tragedy, originated with the young people. My nephew’s wife Zephyr called one afternoon, as she often does, with some plan for the unusual. So when she called and said she and Nathan and my son, Aaron, were going to AL to help the victims, I wasn’t shocked, but anxious to do what I could to help. I gathered up a little food, some clothing, and an offering of cash. We bid them godspeed and blessings as they piled into their gear-laden truck with the energy and expectation of youth, headed for Tuscaloosa, Alabama. An awareness began to settle in on my heart.

Standing by to give direction as soon as the small company of “grown-up homeschoolers” arrived was a No Greater Joy family who eagerly offered themselves and their home for use. And use it’s still getting! Our young people were quickly joined by a couple of dozen capable Amish men and boys along with their extensive equipment, also from our community. Shalom and Justin arrived on the scene that same day. As word spread of the project, other young people inquired and went on their own to meet up with this gang. That family in Tuscaloosa had 43 people in their home by the second night! Can you imagine the sheer number of towels and water that got used every day as that motley crew came back to rest, in the evening, after laboring in the hot sun and debris all day!

After receiving several reports from them, it occurred to my husband and I that we, too, could be privileged to go. And go we did. We put together a small crew of two vehicles, loaded our truck, and had five meaningful days of working alongside God’s people and other volunteers from all over these United States. One chainsaw crew elder spontaneously lead workers in a prayer for an older couple for whom we had just spent several hours cleaning up. The couple was inside and in poor health. Standing there in that war-torn looking backyard with men and boys we had never met before, the man thanked God for bringing us all there and for His specific purposes in the hearts of men. Words cannot describe the fellowship we experienced that day with brothers we did not know.

“Thank you, young people, for having the heart and mind to do His work.” As is His way, He is growing us up, and it is the most exciting thing happening on this earth.