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Hope rises in flooded Ga. communities

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ATLANTA (BP)–Flies gather on a teddy bear draped over the lip of a garbage can in a front yard. Dorothy Everett and son Quintin stood in this spot watching water rise from Prosper Creek, a trickle of a stream that swelled into their community in west Atlanta.

A sulfur sewage smell still mingles with the musty mold dust floating from open windows as Quintin describes what happened after heavy rains on Sept. 21.

“The water was as high as that shed there,” he said.

A friend hauls lumber and scrap metal nearby as Quintin tests his drill and curls back a panel on a tin shed.

“There. That’ll let some air in.”

As floodwater rose, within two hours Quintin and his mom were surrounded and had to be rescued by boat.

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“But within an hour,” he says, “all the water had gone back down.”

The damage had been done. The Everetts’ wood flooring swelled with water and dry wall was drenched a foot up.

“I’m grateful,” said Quintin, gesturing to a man in a bright yellow shirt in the house’s crawl space with a mold-killing spray can of Clorox. “These folks are great.”

Since morning, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers from Alabama, Kentucky, Virginia and Georgia had been working to repair homes up and down the Everetts’ street.

The first four feet of trees and houses are covered in a tell-tale brown film from the waters’ rising, but hope is what’s rising this morning in parts of west Cobb, Douglas and Fulton counties as homes dry out and selfless acts redeem flood-stained streets.

More than 50 units of DR volunteers from nine state conventions — Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, South Carolina, Nebraska, Tennessee, Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia, Virginia Baptist Mission Board and Texas Baptist Men — have mobilized to Georgia.

Volunteers have spent 684 volunteer days preparing more than 8,600 meals, finishing 77 mud-out jobs and making 241 chaplaincy connections with homeowners. This, in turn, opened the door for 105 Gospel presentations and three professions of faith.

To assist Georgia’s thousands of flood victims, a toll-free number, 1-800-460-6881, has been established by the North American Mission Board and the Georgia Baptist Convention to field calls from homeowners needing help to clean up their flooded, mud-filled homes.
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Adam Miller is a writer for the North American Mission Board.