Sandhill AME Church gets helping hand from community, out of state volunteers

Sandhill AME Church gets helping hand from community, out of state volunteers
Volunteers from different churches come to help gut Sandhill AME Baptist Church after Hurricane Florence. (Source: WECT)

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - The Sandhill AME Church in Whitestocking has been a central location for Hurricane Florence recovery efforts in Pender County.

Now, the church has to be gutted, forced to start over after getting rid of what was damaged by the storm.

“It hurts when your house of worship is in a situation like this, but after all, it’s just His house, the house of prayer, and the true God is within us,” Whitestocking resident George Ballard says.

Members of Wrightsville Beach Baptist Church made it their mission to help the Whitestocking community by ripping apart moldy pews and tossing damaged property on Tuesday.

However, Wrightsville pastor John McIntyre said he knew his church was going to enter a community of heartache.

“It breaks your heart," McIntyre said. "Matter of fact, I texted all of my group coming. I said, ‘Have your heart ready’ because it’s hard. It breaks your heart.”

When members of Christian Liberty Church of Baltimore heard of the devastation in Pender County, they wanted to help too.

“It is sad to see what has happened, but it’s a wonderful opportunity for us to show the hope of Christ and to share that Jesus is a keeper and this too shall pass,” Christian Liberty Church pastor Wayne Lee.

Residents and volunteers were fed a barbecue lunch and it was the first hot meal for many since before the hurricane.

Nevertheless, they keep a positive attitude.

“This is our neighbors coming in from different states and all showing the love of God," Ballard said. "I am so grateful and so thankful for it, so that encourages me to keep on keeping on.”

A community that has lost everything is holding on to its faith for a brighter future.

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