Monday morning, April 28, we woke up to devastating images from tornado damage in Vilonia as the result of a massive storm.
As you know, First Assembly has a church in Vilonia, where Sunday night’s storms caused massive damage. Our pastors, staff, and their families are all safe and actively ministering to people in our church family and in the community. Our lead pastor in Vilonia is Pastor John Wimberly. Immediately after the tornado, John assisted in locating people in the wreckage of homes. He and the rest of our team are involved in the efforts to help people recover possessions. Please pray for our pastors to have wisdom, strength, and safety as they minister to hurting people. Our other pastors in Vilonia are Pastor Ashley Duff and Pastor B.J. Herndon. In addition, Pastor Jim King, from our Little Rock Campus lives in Vilonia.
Pastor Ashley spent much of Sunday night attempting to locate and account for our church family. As of now, here’s what we know: at least four families in our church had their homes completely destroyed, while many others sustained damage. We are thankful that although their homes were destroyed, their lives were spared. At least one of our church members lost his business. We are still getting reports from others. We are ministering to the families and providing whatever help and assistance they need.
Vilonia is a small town, and a close-knit community. Although none of our church members were killed, many of them have lost people whom they know and love. There are many families in shock, grieving after suffering devastating loss. We will minister not only to our church family, but to others in need in the area.
Ladies in the church are helping wash clothes, and sort through items. Convoy of Hope is helping with supplies. It's so wonderful to be part of an organization that quickly mobilizes to help. Monday morning, our state leader of the Assemblies of God, Larry Moore, sent an email to all 432 Assemblies of God churches in Arkansas, asking for their help. Our General Superintendent (national leader) George Wood, has also contacted us offering prayers and assistance.
Many have asked how they can help. At this point, the best thing we can do is make funds available for needs as they arise. We have established a fund to assist the church in Vilonia as they reach out to the community. We began giving assistance Monday night, knowing people would want to give towards the need. The money you give will be distributed through the church and our pastors in the community.
*Or you can bring a check by or mail it to the church office – write “Vilonia Disaster” on the memo line.
We appreciate your donations very much and ask that you continue to give to help those in need in Vilonia. Having the resources to assist families with short-term immediate needs has been incredibly beneficial. In addition, having the resources to strategically help families and the community rebuild long-term is a huge testimony to the city of what a healthy body of Christ should look like.
Others have asked about going to Vilonia to give some hands-on help. As of Tuesday, the town is open to visitors and you are more than welcome to go and help. We ask that you report to our Vilonia campus pastors, Pastor John Wimberly, Pastor Ashley Duff, & Pastor B.J. Herndon at the church (851 Highway 64 E, Vilonia, AR 72173) for instructions. They will need help, not just this week, but for many weeks and months to come, so if you can’t help this week, feel free to plan a time in the coming weeks to go to Vilonia to work. If you have specific questions about help you can contact Vilonia First Assembly at (501-796-8250).
We appreciate your willingness to go work, your generosity in giving, and your faithfulness in prayer!
*Our focus has been on ministering to families rather than thoroughly checking our facility, but it does not appear our Vilonia campus sustained any major damage.
Posted on Tue, April 29, 2014
by Tim Hill