First Presbyterian Church of Opelika, Ala., escaped damage during the March 3 tornado outbreak that devastated portions of southern Alabama. As of March 5, 23 people had lost their lives in Beauregard, a rural community about 10 miles south of Opelika.
“No one in our congregation had major damage or injury,” said Josh Yates, Assistant Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, “though some of our long-time members knew some of the victims.”
Yates reported that numerous aid organizations were in the area, but the authorities are asking people to stay out of the affected area until all residents are accounted for. News outlets are reporting as many as several dozen people are still considered missing.
“We are in a holding pattern right now as far as relief goes,” Yates said. “Since things are still in a search-and-rescue mode, cleanup efforts would probably not occur until next week. Plus, area residents have donated so much in the way of dry goods and supplies that right now we have more than we need.”
Yates noted that the church expects numerous opportunities to minister as the recovery continues.
“We are very thankful that all of our church members were spared,” he said, “but pray for us that we would share the gospel during all of this, and for wisdom to provide the right kind of help when and where it’s needed.”