“I am still able to be here, I am still alive to praise Him, and say thank you, Lord.” – Bradley Achord [#ThankYouLord #ThankGod #PraiseTheLord #PraiseGod #Nederland]

“I am still able to be here, I am still alive to praise Him, and say thank you, Lord.” – Bradley Achord [#ThankYouLord #ThankGod #PraiseTheLord #PraiseGod #Nederland]

Dec 8, 2019

Amy Boneau went from confused to hopeless in the hours after an explosion at a nearby chemical plant shattered windows in her house nearly 2 weeks ago.

“Both my front picture windows blew in, it went through my roof, it knocked out my porch windows and my bedroom. My hope was at the bottom. My energy resources were drained and my hope was gone of ever finishing and securing the house.”
– Amy Boneau

The next day, volunteers from the First Baptist Church in Nederland arrived to help Amy Boneau secure her house.

“That gave me a boost like you wouldn’t believe. While I started to lose hope, I never lost my faith.”
– Amy Boneau

According to Pastor Jason Burden, scenes like that occurred across the area.

“Within an hour of the explosion, we had people showing up at the church asking how they could help. It really shows the resiliency of this area, and the kind of people that live in Southeast Texas.”
– Jason Burden

According to Pastor Jason Burden, beyond providing aid, shelter and repairs, the church became a source of normality and solace, as questions about the blast continued to go unanswered.

“Being that this is a man-made disaster, we do want some clear answers. But in the immediate aftermath, they were just really focused on God’s goodness in protecting all the people that He did, and their own sense of perspective, which was kind of enlarged. When you see yourself in the context of all the things that could have gone wrong, you thank God for what went right, and that faith perspective has been a predominant theme throughout conversations I have had.”
Jason Burden

One congregant was still shaken the second Sunday after the blast.

“It was the loudest sound you could possibly imagine. It was honestly like a nuclear blast without the radiation.”
– Bradley Achord

Bradley Achord, who has had a number of brushes with death throughout his life — including an accident that cost him a leg — said his faith was the only thing that gave him strength through the ordeal.

“My faith, and knowing that this church, and these people are here for me was like injecting steel into my spine. It is so much more than just a church, and just a building, it is my faith.”
– Bradley Achord

The role of the church as a shelter and spiritual respite during disasters is not new for the church, which has been a hub for evacuees during Tropical Storm Harvey, Tropical Depression Imelda and now the TPC explosion.

While faith has carried the town through each time, Jason Burden said the impact is clear.

“I think the frequency of disasters, and the evacuations has basically worn people down. We just think, ‘man when is the next thing going to happen?’ because they seem to reoccur before we have had a chance to get our feet back under us. Church is the one thing that has remained constant. We gather every Sunday, we sing our hymns, we read Scripture together and we pray together.”

“As soon as the explosion happened, all the joy and the happiness that was associated with that house was gone. But I will never move further than I can drive to come to this church — never.”
– Bradley Achord

Before he evacuated, Achord took a picture of his house and his car, in case he never got to see them again.

“Even if it would have blown my house flat, if I still had my dogs and I am still able to be here, I am still alive to praise Him, and say thank you, Lord. This Thanksgiving was actually the most thankful one I have ever had in my life.”
– Bradley Achord

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