Stranded Chowan Students Serve
In the wake of the devastation Hurricane Florence left behind, two Chowan University students were stranded in Lumberton, NC, for over a week and used their time to serve those impacted by the hurricane.
Hannah Henderson of Lumberton, NC, and Mary Shomper of Leland, NC, evacuated the Chowan campus on September 11, to seek safety and shelter from the impending hurricane. They traveled to Henderson’s home in Lumberton, NC. Though the hurricane turned in the 11th hour and spared Chowan any damage, Lumberton was not as lucky.
The flooding in and around Lumberton, NC, was so severe it prevented Henderson and Shomper from returning to campus the following week. Instead of using the extra week away from school as a vacation, the two decided the best use of their time would be in service to the community. They served with Henderson’s church, Orrum Baptist, and teamed up with the Baptists on Mission/North Carolina Baptist Men Disaster Team. Shomper said, “We just used our time to help where we were needed.”
Henderson and Shomper served food to those in need with Henderson’s church and other local churches in the community. They directed traffic with Baptists on Mission/NC Baptist Men Disaster Team. “It was awesome being in my hometown serving many people I knew and I was glad my friend Mary could experience this with me,” said Henderson.
Henderson explained that service is all she knows. “I love helping wherever I am because it soothes my soul and I feel blessed that I was able to serve in my own community.” She continued, “I’ve always had a servant’s heart. This is what God has called all his followers to do, so I always try to do my best to serve, no matter the circumstances.”
Although Henderson’s family was fortunate to sustain no damage, others in her community were not. She was humbled to serve people she knew. “It really hit me hard because many people are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew. Although, during this tough time I could sense that God was trying to tell us something, or it could have just been me,” she said.
Henderson has a long record of serving others – in her hometown at My Refuge (a soup kitchen in Lumberton) and at her church. As a student at Chowan, she has served on eight different mission trips with Campus Ministry, and serves around campus when opportunities are available. She is also a Ministry Chaplain at Chowan. Chaplains are upperclassmen who live and serve in residence halls to help bring a presence of Christ to the daily lives of first-year students.
Upon returning she said, “I’m so thankful to return to Chowan because this is my last semester and I want to finish strong, but to be honest, I have felt so unbalanced since I have been back on campus. I’m so worried about my hometown and what they are still going through.” She continued, “All I can do is pray and help raise money or supplies for my hometown, which is the best I can do since I’m not actually at home. Since experiencing this event, I have really lived the service mission but it has become my lifestyle and I’m forever grateful.”
Campus Ministry will lead two trips to Lumberton, NC, to assist with flood relief efforts, the first December 12-15 and another in the spring. For more information on how to help Chowan Campus Ministry support victims of Hurricane Florence in the Lumberton/Red Springs area contact Reverend Mari Wiles at 252-398-6868 or firstname.lastname@example.org.