Thursday, December 29, 2016

December Newsletter Posted

The December newsletter is posted to the website. Stories include how to help with Gatlinburg fire relief. Sign up for our newsletter on the right side of this page and view the archive under the Newsletter link.

Sevier County TN Fire Relief

Here is a letter sent out to those who have inquired about helping with fire relief in the Sevier County, TN area from Pastor Wes White, of Evergreen Church (Sevierville, TN). In it, he sets forth a number of ways you can help with recovery efforts. 
Dear friends,

          Yesterday, I was driving into Sevier County from Knoxville after attending my first UT basketball game with my eight-year-old daughter Leah. I saw our beautiful lights and the large light display that said “Winterfest: Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg.” Ever since I came here two years ago, these lights have been a sign to me of the joy and wonder of our area that is rooted in our Christian heritage, artistic creativity, and natural beauty.

However, on this night, it made my heart heavy, thinking of all the loss that the word “Gatlinburg” now represents to me and so many. That word now makes me think of all the stories that I have heard over the past week. Stories of people wrapping themselves in wet cold blankets and hiding in crawl spaces as the flames came near. People submerging themselves in rivers to avoid being burned. A family with three houses on the top of a hill could not get out because a log covered the road. They did not know how they would get out. Then, they saw a light down below. It was a young family staying in a cabin. They got a ride with them off the mountain to safety. Others did not escape. Our community hoped and prayed for the Reed family whose wife and two daughters were missing. They did not make it out. The stories just keep multiplying, layer upon layer. How can we enjoy the lights of Christmas in the midst of all these things?

          But then I thought of other stories. People have come together in this community in a way that I have never seen any community come together. People are volunteering and offering to help those in need. People are coming alongside one another to love them where they are and help them where they can. Immigrants who have been ignored are getting attention and concern in ways they never have before. Our community is being a community, people connecting with people.
          And there it is, the wonder of Christmas. The love of God in human form coming to a world of brokenness. The wonder is still there. The lights continue to shine.
Thank you for being a part of showing what Jesus did in coming to this world. Thank you for your offer to help. I wanted to respond to your questions and offers to help with five ideas for how you can help Sevier County:
1.      Pray for Sevier County.
2.      If you would like to donate items, we can help you know what you should gather and where to send it.
3.      Volunteer. If you would like to come and help, there is now a centralized location for all volunteers. You can go to the web site You can also go directly the volunteer processing site at the theater on the corner of the Parkway & Cate/Park Rd.
4.      Donate to our church benevolence fund. We have developed our church’s benevolence fund to meet niche needs such as getting money for a deposit for an apartment, paying electric bills when someone got behind, purchasing food or gas to help people make it to the next paycheck, helping with funeral expenses, and so on. We expect that we will have a lot more of these types of opportunities. So, a gift of $100, $250, or $500 or any other amount would be helpful. You can send a check to P.O. Box 5830 Sevierville, TN 37862, or you can go to and contribute via Paypal. Just write “Gatlinburg Fire Benevolence” on your check or Paypal contribution.
5.      Come visit Sevier County (Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville). Our recovery will be based in large part on tourism. It is the economic backbone of our region. You can help us by encouraging people in your church to come visit, have fun, and shop here. I know this is not how we ordinarily think of benevolence, but let me emphasize, encourage your friends, family, and church to come visit. Really. This will be one of the best things you can do for us.
We have also established a task force that will look at further opportunities to help the people in our area, possibly in coordination with Mission to North America’s Disaster Relief.
If you have further questions, please feel free to call me at 865-567-6763 or the chairman of our task force working on how to coordinate Evergreen Church’s resources with the needs of our community. His name is Steve Bain, and his number is 865-221-5372.
                                      Yours in Christ,
                                      Pastor Wes White

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

East Tennessee Fires

Image result for gatlinburg tennessee fireA number of you have asked what they can do to help those in East Tennessee impacted by fires. MNA Disaster Response is communicating with churches in the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge/Sevierville area to learn how we can best come alongside them to provide God's grace to those impacted by wildfires.

We have had conversations this morning with Wes White at Evergreen PCA and Bill Fikes at Smoky Mountain PCA and will be sharing more information here as we receive it.

For now, pray for enough rain to extinguish the fires.

Monday, November 21, 2016

November Newsletter Posted

The November 2016 MNA Disaster Response TAG Region newsletter has been emailed to our subscribers and archived to the website. Stories this month include immediate need for volunteers, photos from recent work at the MNA Disaster Response Warehouse, and FAQs.

The newsletter is sent each month to supporters of MNA Disaster Response in the TAG Region. To join our mailing list, please fill out the form on the right side of our web page.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Thanks to Smyrna Presbyterian Church

Image result for smyrna ga pca churchThanks to the good people at Smyrna (GA) Presbyterian Church for allowing me to speak at their recent missions conference. I had a great time and enjoyed meeting everyone. I do hope to visit with them again.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Opportunity to Serve Saturday, October 15

We are inviting individuals and church groups to visit the MNA Disaster Response Warehouse in Rome, GA this Saturday, October 15 to help prepare flood supplies for deployment to disaster sites. We plan to meet at 9 am and will likely work until noon or 1 pm, depending on the number of people who help.

This is work that people of all ages and skill levels can do. Please share this announcement with your friends.

For more information, contact Mike Kennamer via email or telephone at 256-899-4966.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Regional Training Session Postponed

As you likely know, Louisiana has been hit by what the National Weather Service has termed the ‘1,000 year flood’. A slow-moving storm hovered for several days over much of LA dumping as much as three feet of water in some locations. One source stated that a record four trillion gallons of rain fell over Baton Rouge alone! Throughout the state over 30,000 people were rescued from their homes, at least 11 lives have been lost and over 100,000 homes have been destroyed. MNA Disaster Response is helping to coordinate a response through six PCA churches in the region. Many MNA Disaster Response resources (staff and equipment) have been deployed to the region. 

For that reason, we have decided to postpone the disaster response training session scheduled for September 24, in Meridianville, AL. While we believe that training in advance of a disaster is vital, we believe that all available resources should be devoted to the response in LA. 

We do plan to reschedule this training session once the needs in LA are met. Please consider being part of the work in Louisiana by: 

              Going to help with relief efforts (For more information on how to do that, click here.
              Contributing to LA flood relief.
              Serving closer to home - We are in need of flood buckets and hygiene kits and will have opportunities for church groups to visit the Disaster Response Warehouse in Rome, GA to prepare relief kits for shipment. Please contact Mike Kennamer for details of how you may be part of this work.

Above all, pray for those who have lost so much and that the Gospel will bring hope to those who so desperately need it. Pray for opportunities for this work of mercy to open hearts to the Word.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

August Newsletter Posted to Website

The August newsletter has been posted to the website and emailed to 364 subscribers. This month's newsletter features our upcoming training session, to be held Saturday, September 24 at North Hills Presbyterian Church in Meridianville (Huntsville), Alabama. Click here to learn more.

It also includes:
  • photos of a recent MNA staff meeting;
  • updates on church and presbytery visits; and
  • a call to like our Facebook page
Get your copy of the newsletter each month by subscribing using the form on the right column of this page. 

Friday, July 8, 2016

July Newsletter Posted

Our July newsletter has been sent to email subscribers and is posted to this site. Click on the Newsletter menu tab to view any of our email newsletters.
Learn how these guys encouraged the MNA DR Coordinator.

In this month's issue you will read about how Christ Community Church in Kennesaw, GA encouraged MNA Disaster Response Coordinator, Arklie Hooten and how you can connect with us on social media. It's easy:

Twitter: @mnadrtag
Facebook: @mnadrtag

Other news items this month include immediate need for funding as well as an upcoming training opportunity. Please check it out!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Enjoyed Birthday Greetings from General Assembly

While I was previously committed to be in Texas during the PCA's General Assembly this year, my colleagues at MNA Disaster Response sent me a video message on my birthday. Who would not want to work with this great group of people?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Thanks to Christ Community Cobb!

Jonathan Stuckert introduces Mike during Sunday School.
Trisha and I enjoyed a good day of fellowship and worship at Christ Community Cobb on Sunday. We started out by sharing "Ten Ways to Get Involved in Disaster Response" during the Sunday School hour and then was given the opportunity to share about the ministry during worship.

After worship we went to the Kennesaw Whistle Stop Cafe for lunch with several people from the church. We always enjoy hanging out with Pastor Cameron Barham and the good folks at Christ Community. This is a church that has embraced this ministry through financial support, work trips to the Disaster Response Warehouse, donation of supplies, and training sessions like the one held during Sunday School. I am most appreciative of this church and all the do in support of MNA Disaster Response.

A crew from Christ Community will be at the Disaster Response Warehouse on Saturday to continue to serve in this ministry. 

Pastor Cameron Barham interviewing Mike during worship.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

June Newsletter Distributed

The June 2016 issue of MNA Disaster Response TAG Region News has been emailed to subscribers and posted to the archive on this site. News items for this month include:
  • Disaster Response Training
  • Opportunities for Service - DR Warehouse
  • 10 Ways to Get Involved in Disaster Response
  • Many hands make light work.
Check it out under the Newsletter tab of this site. Better yet, sign up to be on our email list to receive it in your inbox every month. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Training Session Announced

MNA Disaster Response TAG Region has opened registration for a training session in the Huntsville, Alabama area. The Disaster Response training session will be held Saturday, September 24 at North Hills Church in Meridianville. Topics to be covered include:

  • MNA Disaster Response: Who we are and what we do.
  • Why We Do Mercy Ministry and Disaster Response
  • Breakout Sessions: Mucking, Chainsaw Safety, Roof Tarping, Site Coordination, more...
  • Roles and responsibilities of a Key Leader
  • How to Get Involved
The training will take place from 8:30 am until 2:00 pm and will cost $25.

Click here to register.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Thanks to Smoky Mountain Presbyterian Church

I enjoyed a good morning with the men of Smoky Mountain Presbyterian Church in Maryville, TN on Saturday, April 30. After a good breakfast, we took some time to discuss MNA Disaster Response by sharing ten ways they can become involved in the ministry. Thanks to Rev. Bill Fikes for the invitation and to Ron and Bev Dalia for opening their home to me on Friday evening.

Please let me know if your church (or any subset thereof) would like to have a similar visit. I would love to visit with you to share ideas for how you can show Christ's mercy by serving those whose lives have been disrupted. Simply email me to discuss your needs and open dates.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May Newsletter Available

The May MNA Disaster Response TAG Region Newsletter is now posted online and has been emailed to our supporters. If you are not on our email list please sign up on the right column of this page. This month's email features articles on:
  • Christ Community Cobb at MNA Warehouse
  • Save the Date - Disaster Response Training
  • Thanks to Smoky Mountain Presbyterian Church
  • Budget Update
Newsletters are published at or around the first of each month. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

5th Anniversary of April 27, 2011 Tornado Outbreak

After multiple tornadoes ripped through the South on March 27, 2011, our oldest son (who was, at the time, a communications student at the University of North Alabama) and our youngest son drove around our area and captured video of the destruction. The result was this video, which gives you a good idea of what the destruction was like.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

April 27, 2011 EF5 Tornado

With only a few days left until the 5th anniversary of the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak, I thought I would share this video that shows the formation of the largest of the tornadoes that hit our county.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Upcoming 5th Anniversary of April 27, 2011 Southeast Tornado Outbreak

In some ways it seems like yesterday and in other ways it seems so long ago. In less than a week we will observe the fifth anniversary of the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak that claimed 35 lives in my home county of DeKalb (Alabama). Over the next several days I will share some news reports, some photos, some videos and some reflections from that day.

In this first installment, I'll share some photos from a website that shows some of the damage sustained from the EF-5 tornado that tore through our county. Click here to visit the site.