Jacksonville College

FBC Waskom helps Nome church come home after Harvey

July 11th, 2018 / By: Kay Adkins / comments

FBC Waskom helps Nome church come home after Harvey

Students from FBC Waskom volunteered to give up their Disciple Now weekend to help First Missionary Baptist Church of Nome recover from damage following Hurricane Harvey. The newly restored auditorium was ready for worshippers by Easter.

WASKOM Invite volunteers from your church to help a struggling congregation in Nome, and they might assume they were heading to Alaska. As it turned out, the members of First Baptist Church of Waskom discovered the town of Nome, Texas, one of the places hit hard by Hurricane Harvey last year. 

Volunteers traveled nearly four hours south last March to begin rebuilding and renovating First Missionary Baptist Church of Nome, which had been severely damaged by flooding. Since August 2017, the Nome congregation had been meeting off site. 

The Waskom missions team chair, Rose McLane, told the TEXAN, “It is our understanding that our efforts during the week of March 21 were just enough to bring this congregation back to their home church for Easter Sunday, and it was standing room only.”

Early this year the FBC Waskom missions team met to discuss opportunities to serve regionally, with a focus on Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. But by the time the missions team met to plan, many immediate needs had been resolved.  

The hurricane, which rivaled Hurricane Katrina with an estimated $125 billion in damage, left much destruction that still needed attention.  

So FBC Waskom reached out to the SBTC to explore the Adopt-A-Church program and how they could help. 

Tony Wolfe, SBTC director of pastor/church relations, guided the Waskom missions team to consider adopting the Nome church. Other SBTC churches had helped with immediate needs last fall, including Inglewood Baptist in Grand Prairie and Faith Memorial Baptist in Jacksonville.

 “None of us knew Texas had a city by the name of Nome,” McLane said.

They began to research, and Pastor Ivy Shelton reached out to John Coleman, pastor at Frist Missionary Baptist in Nome, to begin the conversation. Then the missions team met with Coleman on a conference call.  

According to McClane, Coleman shared that his congregation had been meeting off site, and “they just needed some help to ‘come home.’” The team prayed and discussed the opportunity, then voted to adopt the Nome congregation.

Since their first trip in March, FBC Waskom has sent two additional weekend teams to speed the progress on the renovations.  

One of the teams included 16 Waskom youth.  

Jacob Speight, Waskom’s finance chairman, said, “These guys were supposed to have a Disciple Now weekend in Waskom where we live. When we went to them and asked if they would like to help this church out, they said ‘definitely.’ They gave up their D-Now weekend to go and help work on this church.”

The students painted, made sheetrock repairs, removed debris from damaged rooms and helped wire the stage for audio and video.

Thus far, Wascom volunteers from ages 5 to 60 have participated in the recovery work. The church now has use of a classroom, the fellowship hall, a finance office and fully functioning main bathrooms.

McClane estimated that after three or four more weekend trips the renovations should be complete. 

“Pastor Coleman would like to hold a dedication service when we are done,” McClane said, “and we will make every effort to attend. We’ve met a few of the members of First Missionary Baptist and the smiles on their faces are ‘thank you’ enough.”

“Many thanks to the SBTC for giving us the opportunity to work alongside First Missionary Baptist of Nome and Pastor Coleman,” Shelton added. “It has been an incredible blessing to our people.”