VAN, Texas (Christian Examiner) – Disaster relief took on a new dimension recently for Texas Southern Baptist disaster relief volunteers Wayne and Ann Barber when they worked with a 911 dispatcher to save someone’s life.
Assigned to assist residents in the small East Texas town of Van which was hit by an EF-3 tornado May 10, the Barbers came upon a disoriented homeowner in his late 40s leaning unsteadily on a lawnmower.
Realizing something was wrong and relying on their disaster relief training, they hurried to help.
“He was unresponsive, but we knew what to do from our SBTC first aid training,” Barber toldThe Southern Baptist Texan. “I got cold Gatorade and a chair from the back of my truck. We eased the man into the chair and cooled his body with ice and water. He could not even drink.”
See the rest of the story at christianexaminer.com.
July 1, 2015–August 31, 2016
Michigan Southern Baptists are asking Southern Baptists to help rebuild the area affected by the 2014 floods. More that 129,000 homes were flooded. Volunteers are needed to share help, healing and hope with the southeast Michigan communities. Volunteers can support emotional and spiritual care, base-camp operations and provide repairs to homes.
If you are looking for a missions project for your group, you have found it! Registration information below:
by Joni B. Hannigan
HOUSTON (Christian Examiner) – Just a week following the devastating and historic Memorial Day weekend floods in Houston – volunteers with Disaster Relief Ministries for the Southern Baptist of Texas Convention have turned on their stoves to serve up 5,000 meals a day for those hardest hit.
“God’s in control, though. It’s a God thing. When we go out, God gives us the strength we need – it’s absolutely amazing”-Mildred Fuller, Harmony Hill Baptist Church, Lufkin, Texas
Southern Baptists are working in partnership with the American Red Cross to prepare the meals that are placed inside about 20 official vehicles that are dispatched to locations throughout Houston with much needed food and water.
The warm meals will be taken to shelters, personal residences, neighborhoods, and nursings homes — anywhere there are people whose lives were abruptly changed when murky floodwaters invaded their living and work spaces to create chaos.
A collaborative effort between the FEMA, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships, and state and local partners.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
925 South 84th Street
(NE Corner of 84th and Pacific)
Omaha, Nebraska 68114
*** Registration is free ***
Please register by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “RSVP-NE” and include name(s) of participants, organization(s), e-mail address and phone number
As a participant you will:
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) sent supplies from the North American Mission Board (NAMB) in Alpharetta, Ga., to the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and Texas Baptist Men in response to the ongoing flood needs.
Jimmy Brake, Tennessee disaster relief volunteer, arrived this morning in Norman, Okla., to unload flood recovery supplies and water. These supplies will help Oklahomans as volunteers train homeowners to work on their own homes.
Continue to pray for the SBDR volunteers in these states, as well as Arkansas, as they bring help, healing and hope to homeowners who have been affected by the May storms.
By Leah Zamora
Southern Baptists’ quick response to the earthquake in Nepal on April 25 helped to reach thousands with desperately needed supplies to survive the first few weeks.
Your gifts to BGR’s Nepal Earthquake Response Fund allowed international Christian workers to be the “hands and feet” of Christ immediately following the crisis. But now the next phase begins — rebuilding — and your help is still needed.
A local Nepali believer asks that you pray as they begin a new normal in his country. He feels that God has a plan for Nepal in the wake of this disaster. In this country where only 1 percent of its 28.8 million population are followers of Christ, this believer says now is the time for a “spiritual reconstruction.”
“People can transform their lives through this pain,” he says. “We need to show Jesus’ love through our actions.”
International Christian worker Carl Russell* explains the importance of this statement.
“In South Asia, people most often hear best with their eyes,” Russell says. ”So when they see Christ working, they are much more apt to believe than when they just hear. Pray for opportunities for believers to show people who Christ is.”
It’s not too late to make an impact on Nepal. You can help with this “spiritual reconstruction”:
To volunteer to pray: https://gobgr.org/prayer/disaster
To volunteer to go: http://www.baptistrelief.org/Volunteer/
The Southern Baptist collegiate team for summer missions arrived at NAMB in Alpharetta, Ga., this past Tuesday. The team of 11 is comprised of students hailing from eight states. The students learned about summer missions opportunities available through NAMB from a variety of avenues, including through a disaster relief connection in their churches, through their Baptist student minister or through serving on the Sandy Rebuild Project on Long Island, N.Y. The team will serve for nine weeks.
After going through a nine-day training, they will make their first stop in Columbus, Ohio, to participate in the “For Columbus” collegiate ministry experience prior to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting there. From Columbus, they will continue on to the Detroit Metro Area to assist with the rebuild project there. They will help homeowners begin to restore their homes and participate in other disaster relief events.
Susan Peugh, collegiate and volunteer opportunities coordinator at NAMB, is very excited about these students as they learn about disaster relief ministry and serve individuals and communities this summer. This is an opportunity to reach and train a younger generation of disaster relief volunteers.
The Missouri Baptist Convention Disaster Relief also has a collegiate team of six and Kentucky Baptist Convention Disaster Relief has a team of two students. Each of these states also has its own summer schedule to follow.
Pray for all these students now and throughout the summer as they travel and use their gifts and skills to bring help, healing and hope to those they encounter.
By Joni Hannigan
HOUSTON – Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC) Disaster Relief leaders had “boots on the ground” in Houston Thursday following a month of historic rains and tornadoes across Texas and Oklahoma that led to deadly flooding over Memorial Day weekend with at least 15 dead and hundreds evacuated.
While images of separated families in raging waters, floating cars, submerged intersections and uprooted caskets caught the nation’s imagination and caused an outpouring of concern, Fritz Wilson, executive director for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief at the North American Mission Board, said it is each individual’s unique situation that becomes the focus of a volunteer’s effort.
Every team sent out by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief—the largest network of trained disaster relief volunteers in the United States—brings “help, healing and hope” to those affected by natural events, Wilson said.
“We are there to walk with them through cleaning and when they are beginning to try and get a handle on things so they can rebuild,” Wilson said. “Our folks are trained in how to provide not only physical needs, but also provide emotional and spiritual care in a dis
“In sending that team, we hope people see that God loves them and we are attempting to show them that – not just tell them,” Wilson said.
Volunteers ready when Houston waters recede
In Houston, Scottie Stice, director of Disaster Relief Ministries for Southern Baptists of Texas Convention (SBTC), said leaders are busy assessing needs after storms over the weekend dumped 6 to 11 inches of rain over the area.
“We want to see exactly which neighborhoods are under water and where they are in the city so that we can formulate our response,” Stice said, noting volunteers must wait until waters recede before they can begin to help.
Houston’s mayor on Tuesday said there were at least 4,000 homes and businesses affected by floodwaters. More water may be expected by the weekend.
Texas Baptist Men also has volunteers on the ground in Houston assessing the situation and working with churches, according to Terry Henderson, the organization’s director.
Henderson anticipated the Houston response—as well as those throughout other areas of the state—will be long and protracted.
“We will be calling on other states to help us,” Henderson said.
Massive flooding affects half of Oklahoma
Sam Porter, state director of disaster relief for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO), said this has been an unusual and record year in many ways for the state.
A record 25-30 small tornadoes “danced” across Oklahoma were followed by two major tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma in March, and then a massive amount of rain in May.
“We had been praying for the drought to break—we now have snorkels up,” he said.
In the past 10 days, Porter said the same system that overwhelmed Texas also impacted Oklahoma.
With a command center set up at First Baptist Church in Norman, Oklahoma, Porter said volunteers are spreading out to meet tremendous needs with homes flooded in 38 of the state’s 77 counties.
With only two mud-out trailers to help, Porter said his greatest challenge has been to think about how to approach the situation.
“This thing is getting to biblical proportions,” Porter said. “We are having floods everywhere. There are not enough mud-out guys across the Southern Baptist Convention to handle this.”
So he prayed, and by Sunday night came up with a plan to hold training sessions in order to multiply the laborers—by inviting leaders and volunteers from other faith-based groups and residents.
The training is being held regionally across the state by expertly-trained recovery instructors and there is no charge for those who want to attend, Porter said.
He also brought BGCO leaders on board to film a 30-minute instructional video to post on its website with steps on how to remove water and “wet stuff” and “kill the mold” in order to salvage a home.
“I’m trying to think God-sized here,” Porter said.
At NAMB, Wilson said he has heard from many Southern Baptists who wondered how they could help and so in addition to urging prayer, the North American Mission Board sent out a semi-truck loaded down with supplies specifically needed for mud-out operations.
“Coordinating this response through our disaster response center for the body of Christ is really what makes the ministry to the one family, through the team happen,” he said.
Dozens of facemasks, shovels, rakes, wheelbarrows, water, disposable suits and other equipment left NAMB headquarters early Thursday morning.
In addition to mud-out operations in Norman, a mobile feeding unit began feeding 2,500 a day May 23. Another unit in Poteau is producing 750 hot meals a day.
Other volunteers are working across the state in Atoka, the Tulsa area, Waurika, Lawton and Elk City.
At the end of the day, it’s the recent memory of 21 people who accepted Christ in the middle of their flooded or tornado-torn homes that keeps Porter going.
“We do this because we love God,” he said. “We do disaster relief to earn the right to share the gospel.”
Baptists across Texas
With “very strange” weather patterns across the Texas plains in May, Stice said its SBTC disaster relief ministry teams have been hard at work primarily in North Texas already—before the most recent severe thunderstorms hit.
When a wall of water forced rivers in Wimberly to rise to nearly 40 feet—20 feet over what historians call the 500 year flood mark—Stice said he began to focus energy on asking volunteers to do whatever they could.
Flash floods there destroyed more than 350 homes and left up to 1,000 homeless, news reports have said.
“We were in 11 different places in May,” he said. SBTC disaster relief ministry teams are equipped for various operations including feeding, recovery with chainsaw, mud-out and blue tarp duties, communications, chaplains assessment, shower and laundry operations, water purification and more.
Stice said there is also an SBTS clean up and recovery crew working at the campus of Jacksonville College in Texas, and a mud-out team working at the home of a widow in Arlington.
Stice said he is appreciative of “closely coordinated, good relationships” in Texas between Southern Baptists and volunteer organizations like American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.
“It’s just heartbreaking, and we pray for the victims and the volunteers and churches as they volunteer for the ministry,” he said.
Southern Baptists have 65,000 trained volunteers—including chaplains—and 1,550 mobile units for feeding, chainsaw, mud-out, command, communication, child care, shower, laundry, water purification, repair/rebuild and power generation. SBDR is one of the three largest mobilizers of trained Disaster Relief volunteers in the United States, along with the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.
To donate to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief visit: namb.net/disaster-
Joni B. Hannigan, a freelance writer based in Houston, writes for the North American Mission Board.
By Coy Webb, Western Recorder
Editor’s note: Kentucky Baptist Convention Disaster Relief Director Coy Webb just returned from Iraq where he got a close-up look at the human toll Islamic State terrorists have inflicted. This is his account of the hardships that people there continue to face.
Thousands upon thousands fled into the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq to places called Erbil and Dohuk. They took refuge in parks, stadiums, abandoned buildings, parking garages, shelters and tents. Months later, many of them continue to live in camps and refugee centers with little hope of ever returning home.
I have just returned from northern Iraq where I served with a Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief medical and children’s trauma team. The team was comprised of Dr. Tom Ashburn of Barbourville, Glenn Hickey of Monticello, Stacy Nall of Shelbyville, Pat Callan of Sparta, Debra Kramer of Henderson, Karen Smith of Shepherdsville, and myself, Coy Webb, Kentucky Baptist DR director. We spent nine days in northern Iraq seeking to bring help, healing and hope to those displaced by war and violence.
As we ministered among the refugees, they only asked one thing of us, “Will you please tell our story to the world?”
Life as a refugee is difficult. In the winter, they endured snowstorms and cold temperatures. Now, in the summer, the heat can soar above 130 degrees Fahrenheit and the sun is scorching. Multiple families are forced to share very limited water sources, bathrooms and kitchen areas. Every day is a battle to feed your family and survive.
The first step in following Jesus isn't to be more righteous, but admit you need God's mercy. “It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17
Iowa pastors: Mark your calendars and register now! The BCI Ministry Life Retreat (April 19-21) will be an encouraging and restful recharge for you and your ministry. https://t.co/dwx4fNSksM
As followers of Jesus, we should initiate courteous conversations while sharing a meal with even people very different than ourselves, "many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and his disciples" Mark 3:15