DAWSON SPRINGS, Ky. (KT) – Trent Keeton, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dawson Springs, found himself with his family huddled under the church baptistery as the December 10 tornado ravaged the town around them.
Keeton, who has led the church since September 2019, said what happened after the storm was a miraculous testimony to God’s plan to use their church.
“Those early hours (the next day) were filled with flashing lights and sirens as darkness blanketed a scene no one was ready to see on the dawn of a new day,” Keeton said.
Keeton walked through town the next morning and was shocked at the destruction he saw. All he could do was “embrace and encourage those who needed it most,” he said. “Sometimes there is no need for words, just a shoulder and a hug.”
Members and staff of First Baptist Dawson Springs immediately got to work meeting the needs of community members. And much of their effort involved using their new center of life.
In October, the church “came out in faith” to pay off Life Center’s remaining debt almost ten and a half years earlier, Keeton said. They had no idea that construction would be a central part of their ministry a few months later.
“FBC is fortunate to have an amazing group of talented people who love God and desire to serve Him,” Keeton said. “A member of our kitchen team is really good at organization and a willingness to always put others first. She texted me on Sunday morning and suggested that I ‘do something’ with the whole family. food in church freezer / refrigerator.
“After our December 12 prayer service, other faithful members took out the grill and began to prepare all the food that would spoil while the children and youth made signs trying to encourage passers-by to take the time. to eat. “
But food preparation was just the start of FBC Dawson Spring’s outreach plan.
“We had several children’s hygiene items in stock in our Awana and Centershot ministries, and we just started preparing tables and filling them. From there we moved everything to Life Center due to weather issues and God started to reveal His plan, ”Keeton said.
The church now has the Life Center stocked with donated items to help community members who were affected by the tornado.
“Sunday morning (December 12) the Life Center at First Baptist Dawson Springs was empty. Today it is full of free supplies for this hard-hit community. Pastor Trent offered the building to the Lord and he filled it up and uses this church to serve those in need, ”said Todd Gray, executive director-treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention, who visited the church on Thursday. last.
Stories of God continue to come out of this distribution center as frequently as supplies, Keeton explained sharing a recent encounter.
“A couple from Lexington approached me on Saturday night (December 18) and told me that they felt compelled to give someone a Toyota van. I immediately thought of a single mother in our church who had lost everything, and the couple were beaming with joy as they knew God had arranged the event, ”he said. “They returned to the church for worship on December 19 and after the service the new friends were introduced and tears of joy were exchanged as a reliable vehicle was given to someone in need.”
Samaritan’s Purse has also partnered with the church and is helping organize groups for cleanup efforts, the pastor said.
As a result of this ministry at FBC Dawson Springs, “the gospel was shared on The Weather Channel and 14 Evansville News (and with people who walked on the property) which would not have been possible without this tragedy.” .
While Keeton “wished it had never happened,” he prays that Genesis 50:20 would come to fruition, that what was conceived as evil God would use for good to save the lives of many.
“Unfortunately, it often takes a personal tragedy for people to begin to consider where they will spend eternity and the state of their spiritual health,” Keeton said. “Our hope is to help people with their physical needs and to seek opportunities to share gospel music.”
The church always accepts donations for its tornado relief efforts at dawsonspringsfbc.com for anyone or organization wishing to help.
“The overwhelming love and support for Dawson Springs has been more than overwhelming and immensely appreciated,” said Keeton. “May the Lord receive all glory and honor as we humbly strive to love this community as Jesus calls us. “