Do You Have
Help and Hope at Hillsdale
by Tim Eaton
“At historic Saint Bernard Pass, high in the Swiss Alps, travelers find a hostel run by monks and staffed by great Saint Bernard rescue dogs. During the last century, when winter storms rendered trails invisible, the monks would ring a great bell so lost travelers could find the hostel by following the sound of the bell.”
In the midst of tragedy, it is sometimes difficult to see the way clearly. After a deadly tornado just missed the Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College campus on May 20, the college family began “sounding the bell” for the surrounding community. The campus soon became a central staging area in the recovery of Moore, Oklahoma. The gymnasium, filled with items to help displaced families. Up to a hundred families visit the campus daily to access these items.
The dorms continue to house recovery volunteers. I cannot begin to number the organizations that have used the Hillsdale campus as a command post. The Hillsdale staff has worked long, hard hours to feed and house these workers. Almost every day, the staff and volunteers unload additional truckloads of goods for the recovery effort. During these days, we have taught, believed, and lived the truth of Jesus’ words, “Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of my brethren, you have done it unto me.”
Photo: Relief supplies fill the Hillsdale gym.
At this writing, Hillsdale has provided almost 4,000 nights of lodging for survivors, first responders, and volunteers. Staff members and partner church volunteers have cooked and served three meals a day from the cafeteria. Volunteers have come from the east to west coasts, Florida to Michigan, and occasionally from as far away as England and Israel. They have installed generators, worked in the debris field, completed home repairs, and helped the city of Moore restore parks and green spaces.
Hillsdale, many Free Will Baptist churches, and Oklahoma humanitarian ministries (Arms of Compassion, Bridge Builders, and Step Into the Water) have been joined by a coalition of partners including: CitiIMPACT Ministries, World Vision, Matthew 25, and Operation BBQ. During the first two weeks Operation BBQ headquartered on the Hillsdale campus, the ministry provided over 140,000 meals to volunteers working throughout the storm track.
We ask you to continue to pray that Hillsdale will be a witness to the Moore community. While the college has accepted the financial responsibility of this task, many have responded and given generously. Thank you for all you have done.
About the Writer: Tim Eaton is president of Hillsdale FWB College. Follow the school on Facebook.