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When a massive tornado ripped through Tennessee Baptists’ Union University on February 5, it left far more than classroom buildings and 13 dormitories in shambles. Hundreds of students found themselves with little more than what they were wearing when they fled the storm.

Until classes resume February 20, most students have been able to return home to find shelter and comfort, as well as to replace their wrecked laptop computers and restock on clothes or other supplies.

That’s been a more difficult task for some students, however: at least 55 students at Union are MKs (Missionary Kids) whose homes — and parents — may be halfway around the world. Many MKs also lost more of their possessions than other students. Without a home base nearby, MK students may have had everything they owned with them in their college dorm or apartment.

Recognizing the need, Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) quickly sent $10,000, through the WMU Foundation, to assist MKs at Union. The money is being channeled through the WMU of Tennessee organization, which is working with Carl White, MK volunteer sponsor at Union, to provide quick and effective assistance. The funds came from WMU’s “HEART” fund (Humanitarian Emergency Aid for Rebuilding Tomorrow), which has previously assisted disaster victims in New York, New Orleans, Indonesia, and other places.

In a press release from the WMU Foundation, Tennessee WMU executive director Candy Phillips said the MKs “are all accounted for and are in safe, warm places with food to eat; but some have just the clothes on their backs.”

The grant will assist MK students in meeting basic needs, such as food and clothing. It will also be used to repair cars and replace books and computers, according to the press release.

David George, president of the WMU foundation, said he anticipates that additional grants will be made as new needs are identified and additional funds become available. States and individuals are welcome to be involved, George said. He told Baptists Today that South Carolina WMU has already sent $12,000 to assist MKs at Union who were originally from that state. Ruby Fulbright, executive director of North Carolina’s WMU organization, said five of the MKs have N.C. roots, and plans are to provide further assistance for them when needs are clarified.

Additional gifts to the HEART Fund may be sent to WMU Foundation, 100 Missionary Ridge, Birmingham, AL 35242

WMU leaders made these gifts without seeking publicity or credit: even the press release was prepared by request rather than as a public relations initiative. Assisting missionaries — and their children — is just something WMU truly takes to heart.

[Photo by Kyle Kurlick, Union University]

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