Living Compassion in the Aftermath of Disaster

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Pastor Tim Britton never would have expected to find himself surveying tornado damage as part of his role as a pastor. Britton leads Conway First Church of the Nazarene in Conway, Arkansas, only a 20-minute drive up Highway 64 from Vilonia, which was devastated by a tornado this past Sunday. Although his community wasn’t directly affected, Britton explains, “Everyone has a friend or a relative who has been affected. Our kids go to the same high school … our stories are connected.” As Britton drove to meet with local pastors and members of the community, he saw the path of the tornado’s destruction. “You drive through the affected areas and for miles and miles and miles all you see is a path of destruction,” he says.

The drive to Vilonia was largely rural and unpopulated, but upon arriving, he was amazed at what he saw.  There was “devastation in every direction,” he says. “I stood across the street from what used to be a neighborhood and saw that it is now just rubble. Life has been pretty much destroyed for them.”[space_20]