$4,500 HEART Fund Grant Given to Help Tornado Victims in Georgia

Last week, WMU and the WMU Foundation gave a $4,500 HEART Fund grant to Georgia WMU to help people in their community who were effected by a tornado.

“On Tuesday, April 5, a tornado touched down over nine miles devastating the community of Black Creek and the towns of Ellabell and Pembroke, Georgia. Located between Savannah and Statesboro, it is a rural community. Municipal buildings and the recreation department were destroyed, but, more heartbreaking, at least 60 homes were impacted with at least 45 in the in the category of significant damage to total destruction.

Several were just completely wiped off their foundation. At this time, there has been one death reported. Power is still not restored, and cell service is limited as temporary towers have been installed.

There are three Southern Baptist churches in the affected area trying to minister. Pembroke First Baptist Church is offering shelter. Christ Baptist Church is on the road with the two subdivisions that were greatly affected. Thankfully, the church sustained no damage despite being only a quarter mile from the worst of the storm and is trying to remain open to be available for the community.

Olive Branch Baptist is just across the creek from the worst, and they are feeding first responders and providing shelter for volunteers.

We will use the funds from the HEART Fund grant to provide gift cards for the churches’ WMU groups to distribute to those they know in the community who will have to be relocated for a time and will need to begin again. The Gospel will go with the gift!”

-Lauren Sullens, Georgia BWMU President

Update from Lauren Sullens on April 15, 2022:

We are so thankful for the $4,500 granted by the WMU Foundation to meet some immediate needs of victims of the Ellabell/Black Creek and Pembroke tornado. Today, I was able to deliver those funds to Christ Baptist Church and Olive Branch Baptist Church, both located in Ellabell.

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The first picture is of the Clubhouse at the Black Creek Golf Course. The employees who now have temporarily lost their jobs because the storm devastated the golf course were the first Christ Baptist Church wanted to bless. In addition to this, there’s damage to some of their homes. Joy Traywick, the pastor’s wife at Christ Baptist, is to the far right.

The young woman with the baby is Natalie. She was in a mobile home with her two month old son when she knew the tornado was coming. She ran to her neighbor’s house for better shelter just before it hit. In the picture, she stands with Joy Traywick just in front of where the home was standing. It was destroyed. Natalie said someone, maybe her father who passed away when she was young, told her to leave for safety. We were able to witness to her that it was the voice of God she heard that afternoon and pray with her.

Olive Branch Baptist used Heart Fund money to help Lynne Moore and her husband. Lynne was in her home in Park Place, the worst hit neighborhood, when the tornado came. While neighbors’ homes were ripped from the foundations, hers shifted and many belongings flew out the end of the house. The home will be torn down next week as it is structurally unsound. The money came to her in good time. The hotel bill was drafted out of her checking account today. While insurance will reimburse them, for today that money that is needed is not in her checking account. She said she and her husband will be at Olive Branch this Easter Sunday because they need to thank God. Lynne is in the center. Shae McDaniel of Olive Branch’s WMU is to the far right.

Thank you for enabling these churches to reach their community. Both Christ Baptist and Olive Branch will continue to distribute the funds over the next few days.

Update from Lauren Sullens on May 12, 2022:

Pembroke First Baptist Church WMU chose to have a group presentation at the church to give their HEART Fund grant gift to members of their community affected by the F4 tornado early in April. The church had already served meals to some of the emergency workers on several occasions, opened their church as a shelter on the first night of the storm, and helped with cleanup. The HEART Fund grant further helped them stretch their arms to meet needs of these families. This is a picture of the families they helped. Thank you so much!


Thank you for your gifts to the HEART Fund that help WMU and the WMU Foundation give quickly when the need arises.

Zachariah Seanor

Director of Mission Advancement