Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2001

My apologies for being tardy in updating the blog.  Things have been busy!  Here is a quick rundown of what has been happening since our last update on April 30.

VCC opened the Relief Center on the afternoon of Sunday, May 1 following our morning worship serice.  Visits to the center were frequent during the early part of the week, but dropped off steadily as the weekend approached.  The elders made the decision to close the center at noon on Saturday, May 7.  The majority of the supplies have been distributed.  Our DEEPEST thanks go out to the many volunteers who manned the center 12 hours a day and to those individuals and congregations who donated supplies.

Power has been restored to Vilonia.  Those whose homes were either destroyed or are under repair such that they are uninhabitable have found places to stay.  So, our focus has shifted from meeting the immediate needs (food, water, etc.) following the storm to longer-term assistance.

A number of work crews worked on Saturday (May 7) and there remains some work to do.  I should mention that we have made every effort to identify members of area churches of Christ who need assistance with cleanup and meet their needs first.

In addition to assisting with cleanup, VCC is also making a concerted effort to identify those who are in need of financial assistance.  The generosity of individuals and congregations across Arkansas and the mid-South region has been overwhelming!  THANK YOU is simply not enough!

To ensure that we are good stewards over these relief funds the elders at VCC have established a process whereby area residents can request financial assistance.  This process includes personal interaction by a Christian.  The disbursement of funds is only part of the process - we want to make sure that we are fully ENGAGING with those whom we help.

I will post an occasional update to keep you apprised of what is happening.  Again, thanks SO MUCH for your assistance!

In Him,


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday Evening, April 30

Another day has drawn to a close and we were blessed with good weather in which to work.  Let me begin by thanking the volunteers who poured in from ALL over the state of Arkansas.  I won't even begin to attempt to mention everyone for fear of leaving out some names.  Suffice to say that churches of Christ from as far away as 200 miles were here early this morning and worked until they were ready to drop.  The number of volunteers jumped significantly now that we have reached the weekend and that was expected.  But, it was still overwhelming to see how much people care.  THANKS!!!

I made a run to Levy late this morning to pick up more supplies.  One of the Levy elders, Stan Peebles, accompanied me back to Vilonia.  Crews worked most of the day finding storm survivors who needed supplies.  Continued thanks to Levy and Churches of Christ Disaster Relief, Inc. of Nashville, TN.

The Pleasant Valley Singles cooked over 600 hamburgers and many, many hot dogs (we lost count).  I can't imagine what this week would have been like without them.  The logistics of keeping all of our workers - and many, many others - fed is an enormous task.  They run like a well-oiled machine!

We will pause tomorrow and gather for a much-needed period of worship to God.  The Vilonia church will only have one service, beginning at 10:00 AM.  We have used the term "family time" to describe this particular service.  If you can join us at VCC, please do so.  The roadblocks have been taken down and you should have no problem accessing the building at 893 Main Street.  For those coming from Conway, we are located on the north (left) side of Highway 64 at the west city limits.  Please come and share in a special time or worship and prayer.

Some work will be done tomorrow afternoon, weather permitting.  The Ministry Center will be open, rain or shine.

Have a great evening,


Picture from Local Newspaper

This photo, taken by Linda Hicks, was on the front page of the Log Cabin Democrat yesterday (Friday, April 29).  Thanks to all of you who make those relief supplies available so that the Lord's work can be done!

Start of the Day - Saturday, April 30

We're up and at 'em!  Ready for a new day!  Here is a quick summary of today's work and then some things that you will need to know:
  1. Helping at the Relief Center - volunteers are needed at the Ministry Center to help coordinate distribution of items.  This will include interacting with those who come to us and helping them think through what they need and then giving it to them.  This can be an emotional process for some of them.  Be prepared to give them a shoulder to cry on.
  2. Distribution of Meals - The Pleasant Valley Singles Group will be here again today cooking hamburgers and hot dogs.  Once they have them bagged and ready to go, we need people to help deliver them out to those who are working.  The Vilonia church members will give you direction about where to go.  Fill your tank up and come ready to deliver.  Hopefully, the traffic will improve today, but be patient.
  3. Distribution of Supplies - This group will need to take supplies to the victims of the storms.  Some supplies are perfect for those who are still without power.  That includes food that is ready to eat without preparation, flashlights and batteries, etc..  Others who may or may not have power will need cleaning supplies.
  4. Cleanup Crews - If you have a chain saw, we have a list of about 7 or 8 places where you can go to help some of your brothers and sisters in Christ who have suffered damage.
THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!  Please note that they are asking all volunteers to check in at the Vilonia Primary School in order to be issued a badge that you can wear.  The Primary School is located on Highway 64 east nine miles east of Conway.  It is just past the intersection of Highways 64 and 36.  The problem is that there is a roadblock at the Eight-Mile Store where authorities require a badge.  That's right: you must have a badge in order to proceed to the place where you acquire a badge!  All I know to do is tell them that you are going to get your badge and then going on to the Church of Christ.  Hopefully, you won't have a problem.

It's easy to get frustrated with the authorities, but they are doing most of this for the benefit of those of us who live in Vilonia.  Believe it or not, there has been a real problem in the damaged areas with people looting and stealing generators.  There has even been a few instances of people attempting to steal heavy equipment.  Someone (unsuccessfully) tried to steal the generator at our house in the middle of the night earlier this week.  So, as you become frustrated with the situation, try to understand.  I just hope that they next time someone sets up roadblocks and badge distribution centers that someone will buy them a globe!

God bless all of you who have volunteered and helped this week!  We love you!

On behalf of the Vilonia church,

Marty Knight

Friday, April 29, 2011

End of Day - Friday, April 29

Thanks to all the volunteers who joined us today!  Many helped out by either manning the relief center (Ministry Center), working with chain saws, cooking food, or delivering supplies and food to volunteers.  Simply saying THANK YOU is inadequate!  But, it's the best we can do!

As Friday draws to a close, those of us who call Vilonia home can reflect on how blessed we are.  More supplies were provided today by Churches of Christ Disaster Relief in Nashville, through the good brothers and sisters at Levy in North Little Rock.  Pleasant Valley was here also providing hamburgers, hot dogs and chips for distribution to workers in sack lunches.  You good people are AWESOME!  Many other organizations helped out today with donations.

Several crews spent the day working at the homes of area church members.  In one particular case the tornado took three mature (meaning huge) pecan trees and two large pear trees in the yard of one family and twisted them together in a SINGLE pile!  About a dozen guys spent the day working untangling that mess with saws.

At the end of the day there were some tired, sunburnt folks!

As for Saturday, the list of needs and work to be done is similar to that which I listed previously.  Check the previous posts for those items.

Before closing I want to thank all of those who could not be here physically, but have sent funds to assist!  Your kindness and generosity is overwhelming.  The elders have met daily this week and we are overwhelmed - but not surprised - at the generosity and love shown to the Christians here in Vilonia.  I want to mention that the elders of the Vilonia congregation have contacted other churches of Christ in the area to ensure that all Christians affeceted by this storm are assisted.  It's a great thing to be a part of God's family.

We feel very loved and we appreciate you all very deeply!

On behalf of the other Vilonia elders and the congregation here,

Marty Knight

Plans for Friday, April 29

Good morning!  The sun is shining on God's creation this morning!  It is a welcome sight.

Our plans at Vilonia Church of Christ today are:
  1. Continuing to distribute materials from the church building as people come to us.  Volunteers are needed for that activity.  It is an inside activity that could require lifting of some boxes, but it is not the backbreaking sort of work being done outside.  If you can help in this way, we would love to have you.
  2. Taking food and cleaning supplies to the community.  We need people with vehicles who are willing to take these items out to the affected areas and deliver them.  This one may require some patience since traffic is really horrible.  Entergy continues to work to restore power and they need space to do so.  That affects traffic heavily.
  3. Delivery of meals.  The PV Singles Ministry will be here again today cooking hamburgers, hot dogs and preparing sack lunches.  These need to be taken out to relief workers and volunteers.  Again, you need a vehicle and some patience.
  4. Heavy clean-up work with chain saws, heavy equipment, and such.  This is primarily being coordinated by others at the Vilonia Primary School on Highway 64 west of Vilonia.  It is near Highway 36 and the 8-Mile Store.  Since we are so busy with distribution of supplies, it is hard to know where that type of help is needed.  Your best bet may be to find work through the coordinators at the school. If you find work through the school we will still want you to come by the church building for a hamburger or hot dog when it is convenient.  Especially those who are coming from out of town!  We want to see you!
The Vilonia Church will meet for one service this Sunday (May 1) at 10:00 a.m.  We will NOT have a potluck following service, as is our custom on the first Sunday of each month.  The Ministry Center is being used for other purposes.  (Smile!)  We will not have a 5:00 p.m. service either.

For those who need to contact us, please use the e-mail addresses in the previous blog entry or you can call me at 501.269.0450 or David Koone at 501.472.5136 or Kenny Henderson at 501.772.2119.

Thanks to all and God bless!

Marty Knight

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Vilonia Church of Christ - Disaster Relief Efforts - 4/28/2011

Welcome!  The Vilonia Church of Christ has set up this blog to keep people informed about our efforts to assist those in our community who were affected by the tornado on Monday, April 25, 2011.  First, let me begin by offering our DEEPEST THANKS to all of you who have volunteered, sent donations, provided supplies or who have offered prayers on behalf of our community.

For those who aren't familiar with the situation, the town of Vilonia (pop. 3,800) was struck by an EF-2 tornado at 7:30 on Monday evening, April 25.  Straight-line winds of up to 130 MPH accompanied the tornado.  The damage cut a mile-wide path through our little town.  Four from the community were killed in the storm and dozens injured.  The facilities of the Vilonia church were not damaged and are being used to the glory of God to help in assisting our community.

Let me take a few minutes to catch you up on where we are tonight in our recovery efforts.  Our building is being used for a number of purposes.

A number of organizations and individuals have provided supplies that are being staged at the building and delivered to those in need.  These items are primarily boxed food items that do not require preparation, personal items (hygiene, etc.), and cleaning supplies.  The Levy church in North Little Rock and Churches of Christ Disaster Relief in Nashville, TN have provided a substantial portion of these supplies and for that we are grateful.  However, many others have donated items, as well.  Each and every donation is important, regardless of size!

The Pleasant Valley Singles Ministry from Little Rock is cooking and distributing hamburgers and hot dogs at the building on their awesome "double-barreled" cooker.  Thanks to those guys and gals!  Two other organizations from the community have asked to use our parking lot for that same purpose and we're glad to let them use it.

The Faulkner County Sherrifs Office is using the parking lot to house their Mobile Command Center.  We're grateful to all of the military and law enforcement folks who have provided assistance to the community.

- Cleaning supplies (mops, buckets, 409, rags, bleach, rubber gloves, etc.)
- Food that does NOT require cooking.  Most of our community still does not have power.
- Bottled water and juice of any kind.
- Volunteers to help distribute all of these items to those who are recovering their homes.

Many have asked, "Do you need help with the cleanup?"  Yes, we do!  There is much debris to be cleared, trees to be cut, and that sort of work.  If you report to the church, we will do our best to find other Christians who need your help.  However, your best bet may be to check in at the Vilonia Primary School and they will assign you a work location.  If you're coming from out-of-town, check in at the building and we'll guide you to the school.  If you choose to check in at the Primary School (located on Highway 64 west of Vilonia), then PLEASE, PLEASE come by the building for a meal whenever you take a break!  We want to see you while you're in town!

The Vilonia congregation is only three years old and is a fairly small group of Christians.  We do not have the luxury of abundant resources (people and otherwise) like many of our sister churches.  To compound that problem, approximately half of our congregation was directly affected by the storms.  We find ourselves in the tough situation where those who would typically serve are needing to BE served.
Thank God that none of our members were injured or killed, but many did suffer damage to their homes.  So, your help as a volunteer at the building will be greatly appreciated, especially early next week.

We hope to have the building open on Monday, May 2 and Tuesday, May 3, but we need volunteers to help distribute supplies and food.  If you can help man the building on those dates, please e-mail any of the following elders:

Patrick Fay at
Marty Knight at
David Koone at

Some churches and individuals have already assisted with monetary donations.  If you can help in this manner, the church will see that funds are delivered to those who need assistance in the community, beginning with those of the household of faith (Galatians 6).  However, we want to help as many as we can.  Donations can be sent to the church:  Vilonia Church of Christ, P.O. Box 836, Vilonia, AR 72173.  If you have questions regarding cash donations, please contact any of the following elders:

Kenny Henderson at
Jeff Gray at

God bless you for your concern!  Our little town has taken a tough blow, but is really showing it's character.  It is a wonderful thing to see God in action through His people.

Marty Knight