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Doug Creamer Column: Helping neighbors in the wake of Florence

I am sitting at my computer looking out my window at a hummingbird at the feeder.

It is a welcome sight after the wild weather week we have just experienced.

I just watched some heart-breaking videos of people who are suffering greatly from Hurricane Florence. The one that touched my heart the most was seeing a man crawl into a boat and get settled and then a little kitten comes around the inside of his hood and makes an appearance.

There are so many people across both North Carolina and South Carolina that have been affected by the storm. I saw one restaurant owner who said it could be a few months before he re-opened his business.

There are countless restaurants and businesses that have suffered great loss due to the storm.

In one video I saw people breaking into a closed store and stealing merchandise. What a shame after such loss. Why do people do such things?

On the flip side of the coin, there are so many heroes working search and rescue missions. People are risking their lives to save people whose cars have been washed away in flood waters.

There are people in boats going through flooded communities and helping the stranded and trapped. There are countless stories of people reaching out with love and compassion to help those who are suffering.

The Reserves and National Guard have been called in to assist people in need. We have a few of our church members who are offering a helping hand.

I am so proud of these men and women who put their own families and personal lives on hold to help people they don’t know through this tragedy.

Another group of heroes are the power company workers. Our power flickered several times and we did lose power for about four hours on Sunday.

I have unwavering respect for the men and women who keep and restore our power. They put themselves in harm’s way and work in unbelievable conditions in order for us to have power.

I want to thank you for all the long hours and hard work to get the power back on for residents and businesses.

All these heroes remind me of what neighbors are supposed to do for each other. When you are in need, a good neighbor will be there for you.

When trees fall or flood waters rise, a good neighbor will lend a helping hand. When tragedy or loss strikes, here come the neighbors with casseroles. Good neighbors come and stand or sit with you.

I have always been lucky to have good neighbors. From childhood through adult life I can’t remember a time that I didn’t have good neighbors.

My parents taught me about being a good neighbor. They taught me to watch out for my neighbors’ homes, to take better care of neighbor’s things than my own, to drop everything and run to help a neighbor in need.

It seems to me that Jesus expected us to be good neighbors. He taught the importance of looking out for our brothers and sisters in need, our neighbors.

The question that comes to my mind is whether the people who are suffering loss because of Florence are our neighbors? Are we called to only help those in our own community or does this call apply to those who live far away?

I remember from the New Testament that Paul made collections for those in need in Jerusalem. Corinth, among others, collected goods for those who were suffering.

There are many ways to help those who are suffering from the hurricane. Some churches may choose to adopt a church in another town and send relief.

Some people might contribute to the Red Cross or Samaritan’s Purse, which will take relief aid to people who are desperate for help. Others may drive down with boats and supplies to give in a personal way.

But even if you can’t help in any of those practical ways, we can all pray for those who are suffering. I believe in the power of prayer to change situations.

I want to encourage you to consider how God might use you to help your neighbors, whether across the street or in another town down the road. God needs people to answer the call to help those in need.

There are so many ways you can give, some include financial assistance while others include strong arms and backs.

God can use each one of us uniquely to be a blessing. Ask Him and then do what He tells you. He needs each one of us to do our part.

Doug Creamer writes a column about religion for The Stanly News & Press. Contact him at doug@dougcreamer.com.