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God’s faithfulness amid flood draws praise in S.C.

LEXINGTON, S.C. (BP) — Flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Joaquin temporarily cut off access to First Baptist Church and flooded the homes of church members in the surrounding low country, but associate pastor Harry Adkins remains thankful.

Adkins, who is also the church’s worship leader in Kingstree, S.C., thanks God for protection amid the flooding that has killed at least 17 in the Carolinas since the storm sent two days of heavy downpours and flooded the Black River.

“I’m thankful that especially in our area, even in the midst of all the flooding, there was no loss of life,” Adkins told Baptist Press. “In the midst of the flooding, we’re cleaning up and we’re beginning to restore and rebuild.

“And people have not lost hope,” he noted. “We’re firm in our faith. God has provided before and He will provide again.”

Adkins is among 100 church worship leaders and others participating in the concert “Through the Flood: A Celebration of God’s Deliverance,” at Lexington Baptist Church in Lexington at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 24. Sponsored by the music ministry and related choirs of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, the event will include songs of worship and praise to God for His protection in the midst of the storm, and will thank the many Southern Baptists and other relief groups participating in recovery efforts.

“For me, I just needed to do something musically that would say thank you to God,” Adkins said. “I just needed to go and be a part of this, and it’s very important to me.”

The South Carolina Baptist Singing Churchmen, part of the music ministry of the SCBC, had already planned before the storm to present the concert, but the flooding changed the event’s focus.

“I think that it’s special this year because of all the events that have happened in South Carolina,” Adkins said. “The concert was planned even before we knew anything about this, but since the floods … our focus has changed to be a time of thanksgiving and God’s provision.”

Mark Powers, director of the Singing Churchmen and director of the SCBC’s Worship and Music Office, said the event is “giving God the credit, making God the hero” in sustaining the community and helping it recover.

“It’s a worship service [to] thank God for the deliverance,” Powers said. The free event is not a fundraiser — no offering will be collected — but the audience will be encouraged to give to Southern Baptist relief efforts. SeraphSong, worship leaders comprising the female counterpart of the Singing Churchmen, will also participate in the event.

“What we’re doing is showing videos in between our songs,” Powers said. “The last video will tell them how they can donate.”

Adkins expressed thanks to the many Southern Baptists and other volunteers supporting relief efforts in the area. His church has served hundreds of meals to volunteers who have responded to the flooding, and as associate pastor, he has provided pastoral care to survivors.

“I think the mood is very positive,” he said of Kingstree community members. “They were just very confident we were going to make it through this.”

Many are also devastated, he said, especially those who have lost their homes and loved ones. The homes of five church families were flooded with up to two and a half feet of water, he said, but countless other homes in Kingstree were heavily damaged.

“There’s both sides of the coin,” he said.