USA (MNN) — Anyone who thought lightening couldn't strike twice in Madison, Alabama must have been stunned by last week's disaster.
Tornadoes ripped through Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Alabama and Georgia late last week, leaving at least 39 dead. Snow now threatens to exacerbate the extreme cleanup demands in Indiana and Kentucky.
Madison, Alabama is not experiencing snow, and it was hardly the worst-hit region. But the amount of déjà-vu the area is experiencing may make its story the most distressing.
On April 27, 2011, an F-5 tornado devastated Madison and surrounding areas. Trees were ripped from their roots. Homes were decimated. Lives were completely overturned.
At the time of the disaster, the Evangelical Free Church of America's TouchGlobal Crisis Response team paired up with the community's Hope Church. The team has spent the last eleven months clearing debris, sawing through tree limbs, repairing roofs, and re-establishing normalcy for those who were affected.
Not even a year later, much of that work has been undone.
"Many of the homes and families that we worked with, cleaned up, and touched: they've been hit again," says Mark Lewis, director for TouchGlobal Crisis Response.
"Thankfully, the impact to church facilities and maybe the membership has been relatively minimal, considering the number of tornadoes and the broad area they covered," adds Lewis. "But a number of churches are reaching out."
Hope Church is once again responding by mobilizing prayer teams. An effort is underway not only to continue projects that were started last April, but to begin new repairs. Perhaps the biggest obstacle to tackle this time around is not a physical need, though.
"It's just an amazing terror to have a tornado hit your area. But then the second time within such a short time frame is just very traumatizing," says Lewis. "So we really want to bring the hope that comes in the Gospel into the lives of people there."
Lewis says the emotional toll will be great, intensified by memories of last spring's disaster. Prayer is vital at this time.
Lewis says victims need prayer for "physical strength for trying to plow through the emotions of going through a recovery effort and knowing how much pain and effort that is–now having experienced it–and then having to go through all of [those] post-trauma feelings again. And this time, you know what it's like."
TouchGlobal already has counselors on the scene to help people deal with this reignited trauma. It's just one of many ways that the ministry plans reach out with Christ's love to the community.
Tornado victims, Hope Church congregants, and Crisis Response team members all need prayer, but physical resources are of course vital, too. To support tornado victims, click here.