DBU Students Minister to Tornado Victims in Arlington

DBU students helped clear brush and debris from this home that was destroyed by the tornado.
DBU students helped clear brush and debris from this home that was destroyed by the tornado.

On April 3, nearly a dozen tornadoes ripped through North Texas. Neighborhoods in Arlington and Lancaster—just minutes away from Dallas Baptist University—were among the hardest hit. Thirteen area counties were eventually given state disaster declaration as they began to rebuild.

Seeing the destruction in their own community, DBU students were eager to help. Thankfully there was only minimal damage for most faculty and staff; however, one worker lost his home in the storms. As it was still too dangerous to start any physical labor, DBU students began a campaign the next day to collect and donate various toiletry items for the man and his family.

They also approached the on-campus Baptist Student Ministry asking if there were ways for them to serve the storm victims.

“I think it is so important for our students to be able and willing to respond in a time of crisis like this,” BSM director Chris Holloway expressed. “Arlington is literally right down the street from us, where a lot of our students spend their time. What better place to show the love of Jesus than in one of our own communities?”

Because of the students’ initiative, a team of eight DBU students was able to meet at Fielder Road Baptist Church in Arlington and help with the Samaritan’s Purse relief work that began a few weeks after the storm. The DBU team served at three different sites throughout the city, performing a variety of needed jobs from gutting a destroyed house to demolishing a broken shed and fence to even trying to rake up debris left in yards.

“Though I didn't know these people, my heart began to break for them,” said Evan Burton, a sophomore from Forsan, Texas. “I realized that serving isn't about accomplishing a task…it’s about representing Christ's love. For the first time, serving didn't feel like I was trying to show people how much I loved Jesus, but how much He loved them, and what I could do to be that love.”

One house they worked on was so badly damaged that nothing was salvageable. By sweeping away debris and clearing the yard, the students were able to help the families move forward.

At another site, freshman Lyndsey Rector, from Gardner, Kansas, participated in the cleanup project to help relieve some of the stress the victims were facing and help remind them they still had hope. She shared, ”we were given the opportunity to show the families that everything this world has to offer will not last, but there is a God who loves them and wants to be with them for eternity.”

While the students accomplished a lot during their day of service, much work is still left to be done. Holloway reflected, “Our DBU students did a wonderful job assisting, and we look forward to the opportunities to help more in the coming days and weeks.”

Written by Kalie Lowrie

Kalie Lowrie was the former Director of News and Information at Dallas Baptist University.