Christians Rebuild Houses Destroyed by Tornado

( [email protected] ) Mar 27, 2004 10:17 AM EST

JACKSON, TN -- Christians from across the nation and Canada have come to Tennessee with many Christian outreach groups, such as Habitat for Humanity, to reconstruct houses that were destroyed during the May 4 tornadoes.

Maggie Hunt, whose house was destroyed by the tornado, is receiving help from the Christian organizations.

''I feel good about the work they're doing,'' Hunt said. ''I didn't know that there was that much help in the world. I'm not able to do it myself.''

This week, the Care-a-vanners, a Christian group that travels around the country in recreational vehicles and builds houses, will be building homes in Jackson, TN.

''Our main goal is to eliminate substandard housing throughout the world,'' said Paul Shiveley, a build team leader with the Care-a-vanners. ''We want to eliminate poverty housing one house at a time.'' Shiveley and his wife Charlene have helped build around 12 houses across the U.S.

He also added that working on the houses and helping others is part of the Christian spirit.

John Zook, a volunteer with the Mennonite Disaster Service from Lancaster, Pa., said he came to Jackson with a purpose - to help those in need.

''We're just here to give people a lift,'' Zook said. ''We're Christians, and the way we look at it is our purpose in life is to help each other.''

The Disaster Response Services branch of the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee is also in Jackson helping those who lost a home to the tornadoes. CRWRC will be working through out the summer in Jackson.

Joyce Visser, a construction supervisor for the CRWRC group, said the members are working in response to what Jesus has called them to do.

''It's a very rewarding experience to help to get the people back into their home,'' Visser said. ''They've been through so much, we want to let God's light shine through us to them. I think it's a commandment of God - love your neighbor as yourself. It doesn't matter where they are. Jesus taught us that - to serve others.''

Many Christian volunteers came to Jackson without knowing each other. But after working together building houses, they say they form a big family under Christ.

''You come in as a stranger and become one family,'' she said.