Ohio Disaster Relief Responds to Tornado in Middletown, Construction Mission in Hungary

Ohio Disaster Relief Responds to Tornado in Middletown, Construction Mission in Hungary

By Dr. John Heading and Stephanie Heading

Ohio Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (OSBDR) never knows when or where it will be needed to help victims of disasters or to assist those with other urgent needs. In the past month, OSBDR assisted  tornado victims in Middletown, Ohio, and then sent a team to Budapest, Hungary to provide construction help to an International Mission Board (IMB) missionary. 

During the last week of February, four tornadoes touched down in southwest Ohio, and the area northwest of Middletown experienced the worst damage. The Kuykendoll family home took a direct hit from an EF1 tornado which severely damaged the house, removing the roof and trusses, ripping clothing and personal items from the second floor and scattering them around the yard and a field next door. The twister knocked down mature trees which also damaged the home. 

In response, OSBDR called up a chainsaw team led by seasoned veteran Chainsaw Team Leader Dale Patterson to clean up as many trees as possible. On Saturday, March 4, the team deployed all day and finished the job. 

The OSBDR response was a blessing for homeowner Sarah Kuykendoll. “You guys are a Godsend,” she said. “The insurance company won’t cover any trees unless they on the house, and we didn’t know how we were going to be able to handle this mess. Thank you so much.” 

“You guys are a Godsend"

Soon after the Middletown tornado outbreak, an OSBDR team deployed to Budapest, Hungary, to lend aid to an International Mission Board (IMB) missionary in need. 

Trey Shaw is an IMB missionary who serves in Budapest, and he and his church members started construction of a church kitchen to serve both locals and Ukrainian refugees. However, after doing all they could, they needed help to finish and reached out through Send Relief to the Ohio/Louisiana Disaster Relief partnership, which exists to respond to disasters in Western Europe.  

Four OSBDR members from Ohio and two from Louisiana DR (LSBDR) traveled to Budapest to meet the need. Terry Taylor, Chillicothe BC, served as team leader with Phil Hopper, Isaac Hopper, and Ski Buchenau, all from Hill Station BC, and Louisiana team members Howard Turner and Hank Roberts completing the team.

They arrived in Budapest and went right to work, but quickly learned that their mission was more than building a kitchen. While they were working, a lady who knew they had come to work at the church stopped by to ask for prayer for a family member having surgery in Denmark and another family member having surgery in Kiev, Ukraine. Instead of seeing this interruption as a delay in working, the team saw it as a reminder that the work is a vehicle to share the gospel and respond to personal needs as they arise. 

Even travel days are part of the ministry of OSBDR. On the flight home, Ski Buchenau was sharing about the mission with the man sitting next to him. When the man left his seat, the woman sitting on the other side of him asked for prayer. She heard him talking about what the team had done and assumed he was a Christian. Buchenau prayed for her as she was traveling to visit her son who has cancer.   

While working and encouraging those the Lord put in their path, the team didn’t know that they were ministering to IMB missionary Trey Shaw as well. “I don’t have a story to relate, but I do want to express how grateful we are for the team. They were a huge encouragement to us in so many ways,” he said. 

“Of course, we appreciated their hard work with our renovation project, but it went way beyond that. Every guy on the team showed genuine interest in our work and the city we live in. Many times, missionaries in Europe can feel somewhat forgotten, but these guys reminded us that God always sees us and sometimes He will send a group of men across the ocean to help us and to remind us through them how much He cares for us and our service.” 

A colleague of Shaw’s in Budapest was impacted as well. “It feels great to be seen and I feel loved and appreciated. The trip, in our eyes, was a huge blessing in so many ways.” 

“It feels great to be seen and I feel loved and appreciated."

Shaw says there is more work to do to finish the kitchen in Budapest and mission teams are always welcome. “This team is the only team who came to help us and there are no other teams scheduled at this time. We greatly appreciate the support of Southern Baptists and now the support of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, but other teams are welcome to come and help us with the mission here in Budapest, Hungary.” 

For more information about serving with Ohio Disaster Relief or Trey Shaw’s team in Budapest, Hungary, please contact John Heading, OSBDR director, at jheading@scbo.org to see how we can make this happen. 

Extensive tornado damage at the Kuykendoll home near Middletown

OSBDR deployed to remove multiple trees from the Kuykendoll home near Middletown

The work in Budapest involved both electrical tasks and construction