Tornado challenges faith, faithful to help victims rebuild - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Tornado challenges faith, faithful to help victims rebuild

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APISON, HAMILTON COUNTY (WRCB) - A week after the hit, Billy and Connie Johnson are sure that the tornado blasted their part of Apison so quickly that they had no time to be scared.

"It was just over in a matter of seconds," Connie says.

Sorrow is the emotion they can't shake.

"I fell apart, is what happened to me," Connie says.

Seven days with no power. No savings. No insurance.

"Not a dime," says Connie.

But since Sunday, the hope has been back, for good. "There was three guys in the yard, working, picking up brush," she says. "All from Gainesville, Georgia. And I asked one, 'who sent you up here?' He said, ‘God did.'"

Faith also comes through the Revered Todd Chancey, pastor of Apison United Methodist Church.

Wednesday, he would bring a $100 gift card, so that Billy could gas up his generators.

"I keep telling folks that being a Christian doesn't give you a pass from the realities of life," Rev. Chancey says.

The Johnson's aren't his only stop.

"It seems like every day somebody has a major need," he says. "But somebody will just show and say I've got the skills."

At least three United Methodist congregations have committed their hearts, and hands to the cause.

The greatest challenge is which total loss to tackle first.

"I worry about the people without faith," he says. "How they get through a disaster like this without a God who loves them."

How long they're in for, Pastor Chancey says he has no way of knowing.

But the Johnson's are sure that the tornado has blown away doubts about their faith and their fellow man.

"We'll get through," Connie says. "Some people up the road lost everything they had."

"I could understand all your kinfolk, but when a stranger comes up," Billy says. "All I 'm saying is the Lord's got a hand in it."

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