By Mark Maynard
Ken Ford and a crew from Burlington Baptist spent five days in western Kentucky helping a family that was left homeless during December’s tornado outbreak.
The family was blessed with the work done, but Ford said the blessings went both ways.
“What people don’t understand is that they think you’re going to bless a family, but we’re much more blessed than the family we worked for,” Ford said. “To see the look on their faces when you’ve gone beyond their expectations, well, that’s special. It’s not about us. We’ve gone light.
Robin Bedwell and her husband, Brian, have received many graces and blessings from God since the December 10 tornado turned their world upside down. Their home, a garage and a horse trailer “disappeared in seconds,” Robin said.
Some of the remains of a house in Benton were destroyed by the December tornado.
Burlington Baptist’s 10-man crew was just the latest church team to come and help them rebuild.
“We saw God’s hands at work throughout this event,” Robin said. “There is so much going on in this world today. The media shows so much evil, but there is so much good. God is still at work. We were able to witness it first hand. We received donations for us, and Bro. Mark Sickling, the missions director of the Blood River Association, has been absolutely wonderful.
Sickling has hauled for many crews helping brothers and sisters in Christ. Churches in the region have also opened their doors to provide room and board for workers who often stay for a week and sometimes longer.
She said Burlington was the fourth crew to be sent. The cooperative effort of the association and the Zion’s Cause Baptist Church in Benton, which provided housing and meals for the teams, has made a difference for many people in the western Kentucky area where the powerful tornado left a horrible path of destruction.
Robin said seeing so many people come from all over to help rebuild her family and help so many others is hard to put into words.
“What they did for us, number one, is life changing,” she said. “There are no thanks. They have impacted our lives forever in ways we will never forget. Giving of your time is the hardest thing to do. I know this because I am selfish with my time. We are very, very blessed.
Bedwell said she was happy that although the tornado swept away their home, it did not cost her family their lives – she and her husband, two children, pet cats and dogs and four horses all died. survived. A barn, a horse trailer and their home were swept away by the direct hit.
“There’s no place like home,” she said. “It might not be much to most people, but this house means more. It is a house that love has built. People gave us money that we didn’t know and other foreigners came to help us. It gives you hope with the love shown to us.
On the night of the storm, Robin took her children to her grandmother’s house because she had a basement. Her husband was going to weather the storm despite the pleas of his wife and children to come with them. He eventually sought refuge next door in his mother’s basement when her son Landon told him he was worried about him.
Robin had checked the weather reports and seen the name of her street—Tri-State Lane—appear on the screen. “You get a little nervous when you see this,” she said.
Her husband arrived safely at the winery, with only a few minutes to spare. When he came back outside, he called his wife and told her that there was destruction on all sides.
“He said, ‘We’ve lost everything.’ I handled everything very well, although I was a bit in shock at the time,” she said.
Robin said she never cried over what was lost because she wanted to stay strong for her children, Jayln and Landon, aged 19 and 16 respectively. This strength and strong faith sustained her as they began the process of rebuilding their lives. They quickly realized that they were not alone.
The Bedwells, who are members of Pleasant Valley Baptist Church, received help from friends and people they never knew. They bought a factory-built house that had to be gutted to be habitable. Work crews, including the one in Burlington, have made the possibility of having a new home a reality. It first appeared that it would take 5-6 months, but now it’s more a matter of weeks.
“We went through the local AMS and said, ‘we’ll do anything,'” Ford said. “They initially had three or four projects for us, but when we got there and saw that particular house, they asked us to focus on that to get it back to life. It was probably the best decision.
The talented team worked quickly and efficiently to begin bringing the home back to life for the family.
“Their house was an absolute loss until the foundation,” Ford said. “Even part of the foundation was torn out.”
The days were long and the work was not easy, but the spirit of the 10-man crew remained strong, Ford said. They enjoyed the hospitality of Zion’s Cause and Pastor Charles Frazier, who spent time with them each day over breakfast.
“It would still be possible if 10 guys just wanted to do it, but not without the help of the local churches that house and feed us,” he said. “It’s huge. It didn’t cost us anything. I’m a guy with kids and a family. Our world is so divided right now. To do something that has nothing to do with politics is is good. (We want) to be a light for someone.
The Burlington crew and others were that light for the Bedwell family.
“I thought after the first two months everyone would forget about it,” she said of the tornado recovery. “But they’re still coming, they’re still helping and there’s still a lot of need out there.”
Ford said that in Burlington, a group of men take on projects several times a year and encourage other churches to look for ways to help. The blessings received, he said, far outweigh the effort.
He said that while this particular crew had construction skills, it wasn’t necessary. “Don’t let that hold you back. We can find things that everyone can do.
Any church looking to help in the Western Kentucky area can find projects by CLICKING HERE.