A hurricane. A collapsed pine tree. And a chainsaw.
Our God can turn a tragic hurricane into a life-saving miracle.
“Sometimes, it takes us kind of having to go to our knees before we are willing to bow to God,” David Kausler said.
Kausler serves with Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief (ABDR) through First Baptist Church in Marion. Most recently, he has been volunteering in Fort Myers, Florida, after Hurricane Ian made landfall in late September.
Killing over 100 Floridians, this deadly hurricane was a category four storm. But in the midst of loss, Jesus is saving the lost.
Last week, Kausler and his ABDR team began helping a man whose house set along a saltwater lake in his neighborhood. Hurricane Ian pummeled a pine tree near the water where this man often goes fishing. After deciding to remove the tree, Kausler asked the owner what he would like to do with the stump. Instead of leveling it to the ground, he asked the team to make a chair out of it.
“We cut the tree and stood the stump back up,” Kausler said. “Once we got it up, I began sawing a chair into it. And when we got done with the sawing of the chair, I actually etched a cross in the back of the chair that faces directly towards his house.”
While he was working on the chair, Kausler imagined his new friend going fishing early in the morning and seeing the cross he had carved into the back of the chair. Kausler thought about him going fishing there, hoping that Jesus himself would catch him and take hold of his life.
“Each job we do, we give them a Bible. We ask them about their relationship with Christ,” Kausler said.
Often, the chaplain of the ABDR team leads this conversation, but in this instance the chaplain spurred Kausler to share Jesus with the homeowner. Kausler took him down by the lake to his new carved-stump chair and showed him the cross. The man began to share about how difficult his life had been. Even as a younger man, he had already experienced many health issues and felt like he was a cat with nine lives.
“He said, ‘You know…this hurricane kind of felt like my eighth life was spent up,’” Kausler said.
So, Kausler asked if he wanted to not waste another minute and give his life to Christ.
“He said, ‘Sure; let’s do it.’ And so, we prayed with him right there, and he accepted Christ,” Kausler said. “It was kind of a surreal experience the way it all kind of worked out, because I had all that in my mind when I started thinking about what we were going to do with the stump. I know God put it there in my mind because He had a plan for how that was going to work out.”
This is just one out of 11 people that ABDR volunteers have led to the Lord while serving in Florida. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers in total have had over 1,300 Gospel conversations, resulting in 123 professions of faith in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
“A lot of times…it’s the hurricane or a tornado or a flood…that give people an opportunity to come to know Christ,” Kausler said. “These people are just like me. You know, they go through life, and for the most part they are healthy, hardworking people that can pretty much conquer life on their own. Or at least we feel that way. And then, whenever things like this happen, it kind of brings us back to reality about how fragile our life is and about how short our life can be.”
You can learn more about ABDR at https://abscdisasterrelief.org.