Mayfield Kentucky Recovery Six Months After Tornado

On Friday, December 10, 2021, a devastating tornado ripped through the town of Mayfield, Kentucky destroying countless structures and changing lives forever.

Karisha Gillenwater, a member here at Northwest, has an uncle who is a pastor in Mayfield. After conversations with her aunt and uncle, Karisha let us know about all that was going on through her uncle’s church, the Mayfield First Church of the Nazarene.

Our Local Missions Team spread the word and began collecting needed items, along with gift cards that we could send to Mayfield. The items, gift cards, and a monetary donation were delivered at the end of January and put to use right away.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Karisha was able to visit her uncle and receive a tour and first-hand account of all that has been taking place in Mayfield, Kentucky over the past several months.

Thank you again for your generosity and giving hearts during a town’s difficult situation. Please continue to pray for the church, the town of Mayfield, and that God will continue to do mighty work amongst the people in that community.

Karisha’s visit to Mayfield six months after the tornado

“After talking with my Uncle Steve, he just could not say enough how much he appreciated our donations, both monetary and otherwise. They received help from all over the world for this disaster and were able to help over 6,800 families (once they started keeping track!).

Of course, at first, everything was utter chaos. Once they knew this was going to be a long haul, they started coordinating deliveries/donations as best as they could and had several organizations helping to sort and distribute the supplies. They had a pick-list for families who needed help, where they would mark items on a pre-printed list, and then it was sent to a runner to gather those items. Gift cards were handed out to church members for food and other necessities. Cases of water were so abundant, that they were able to set them out by the road and allow people to just take whatever they wanted. Water and electricity were out for most residents for over two weeks, and remember, this was the end of December.

There was also a large renting population in Mayfield and unfortunately, many of those residents have not returned.

The large monetary donations were put to good use. Needs were established and met with several parishioners.

They questioned several times afterward, how is it that their church building was virtually spared, yet less than 500 feet away, there was utter destruction, where people’s lives and livelihoods were destroyed. After much prayer and discussions, my uncle and the church board have decided that some of the several thousands of dollars that were donated from across the world, would be put to use for any future disasters.

They will be creating a “safe haven” for storage for supplies along with shelter, laundry facilities, shower stalls, sleeping areas, etc., on the church property, for use of those who are in need after any future disasters. Apparently, there have been several disasters in the area over the years and many of the houses do not have basements.

They feel this is their testimony and light to shine out to their community. They want to be the hands and feet of Jesus when others have lost all hope. It is the reason they feel their church was spared and they want to continue this ministry forward!

I can’t thank Northwest Bible Church enough for all of the prayers, donations, time, and energy put towards my family, their congregation, and the community of Mayfield, Kentucky. After almost six months, I just can’t imagine still seeing what they had to go through in those first several days. It is just sad. But God had a plan and is still working amongst the community and the rubble.”

—Karisha Gillenwater
Map of where the tornado impacted Mayfield. Green dots are affected structures, yellow are major damage, and red is destroyed.