Latter-day Saints Answer “Call to Arms” Following Hurricane

Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer

  • 25 October 2016

Article Highlights

  • Hurricane Matthew struck North Carolina and other Atlantic states on October 8.
  • Members and missionaries worked together to salvage flooded homes.
  • Approximately 250 people provided some 1,800 hours of volunteer service.

GOLDSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA

Goldsboro North Carolina Stake President Franklin Jones will likely remember Hurricane Matthew from two distinct angles.

First, of course, will be memories of historic flooding in his stake and across the Atlantic Coast, stretching from the nations of the Caribbean to the American southeast. In all, the hurricane claimed more than 1,000 lives, displaced tens of thousands, and caused incalculable damage.

But President Jones will also remember the selfless response of good-hearted people in and outside of the Church. While several Mormon families in his stake were impacted by Matthew-caused flooding, a far greater number of families and individuals have stepped forward to help.

“The members of our stake and beyond have really rallied around others,” he said.

After wreaking havoc in Haiti and other Caribbean islands, the brunt of Hurricane Matthew struck North Carolina and other Atlantic states on October 8. Heavy rains inundated eastern North Carolina waterways such as the Tar River and the Neuse River. Floodwaters swept through many homes, including those of members. The bishop of one ward in Goldsboro, for example, watched as four feet of water filled his home.

As expected, members and missionaries have answered “a call to arms,” said President Jones. Folks offered immediate help where they could—then returned October 15 for an organized cleanup effort.

“We had about 250 people provide some 1,800 volunteer hours on that one day,” he said.

Members and missionaries worked together mucking out homes, salvaging damaged furniture and appliances, and hauling out fallen trees and large branches.

President Jones was called to preside over the stake just a few weeks ago. The past 10 days have been an unwanted crash course on local Church disaster response for the new stake president. Still, he’s found strength in the cooperation offered by area leaders and countless members in his stake and in several neighboring stakes in North Carolina and Virginia.

“This has been a testimony builder on how the Church works,” he said.

The work is not over. An additional, multistake cleanup project was organized in Goldsboro for October 22.