The following is a sampling of reports from Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) efforts leading up to press time. These snapshots illustrate the love Southern Baptists have for their Lord, and their efforts to demonstrate that love by meeting needs.
Work continued in Burlington, Vermont, according to John Scoggins, DR coordinator in Burlington. As of July 15, 110 homes had been assisted. Assessors and mudout volunteers continued to be needed in Vermont where Scoggins and Baptist Convention of New England staff hope to complete work by the end of July. New England Baptist Disaster Relief has served as the lead agent for the Vermont state Voluntary Organizations Assisting in Disaster (VOAD) for this response. Good working relationships with other agencies have helped provide additional housing and equipment to SBDR teams. As he shared the good news that teams have witnessed professions of faith of eighteen new believers, Scoggins said, "Teams are making the church relevant and we need to finish strong." A mudout team from the Maryland/Delaware convention and assessment teams from the Northwest convention were working in Burlington, Vermont that week.
North Dakota Flood
Minot, North Dakota, has been devastated by major flooding. The city, situated on two hills with a valley in between, had been divided by flood waters making maneuvering difficult. Two local churches, Cross Roads Baptist Church and North Hill Baptist Church, were working to support disaster response efforts. Two Kansas/Nebraska DR shower units and a laundry unit were up and running in support of sheltering operations. An incident command team gathered in Minot to help Dakota Baptists coordinate the response. As of July 6, additional shower units along with assessment and mudout teams were making preparations for deployment. Training for mud out teams was scheduled for July 29-30 in Minot. Experts predicted the flood waters would remain in some places for three or more weeks.
Haiti Earthquake Rebuild
Fritz Wilson, Florida Disaster Relief coordinator, reports that long term recovery continues in Haiti. Teams of volunteers are joining forces with Haitian nationals to build new homes for the hundreds of thousands who remain homeless following the earthquake in January 2010. Approximately $2500 will build a home in Haiti. Contact the Florida Baptist Convention www.flbaptist.org for more information on how you can help.
Teams from North Carolina, California, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Kentucky were scheduled to travel to Japan in July and August to assist with mudout operations and other relief efforts in the tsunami ravaged region. Baptist Global Response leaders continue to work with IMB missionaries and other partners in Japan to coordinate response efforts. The needs are monumental and Japanese Baptists along with IMB missionaries in Japan urge us to pray for the people living in the region, that through the obedience of God's people this area of Japan will become a gateway to a Gospel movement that sweeps across the island nation, bringing new life and hope where the ocean waters brought death and destruction.
Massachusetts Tornado Wrap-Up
Southern Baptists led by the Baptist Convention of New England completed their chainsaw work in the towns of Brimfield, Monson, Southbridge, and Sturbridge, Massachusetts. One-hundred-ninety-six Southern Baptist DR volunteers from seventeen states, served 868 days, and completed seventy-three jobs, investing 4,831 hours in these communities. According to the V.I.P.S. (Volunteers in Public Service) website, the hourly value of volunteers in Massachusetts is $26.18. This makes the monetary value of what Southern Baptists provided $126,475.58. The eternal value is that at least five people have begun a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ.
Texas, Grimes Fire
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention Disaster Relief Volunteers served with the New Hope Baptist Church in Navasota in response to fires. Volunteers served to cleanup home sites and provide a positive witness of the hope of our Lord Jesus with the families affected.
New Mexico Fires
New Mexico Baptists joined the frontlines of fighting the fires that ravaged the state. New Mexico Disaster Relief also had a feeding unit operating in Pojoaque, New Mexico, and one on standby for Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
Chaplains were assigned to both of these locations. Feeding volunteers were also placed on alert at the request of Albuquerque Emergency Management officials to support firefighters in the event a fire occurs in the Albuquerque metro area.
Arizona, Wallow and Monument Fires
Arizona Southern Baptists deployed units and volunteers in response to the Wallow and Monument fires in Arizona. A shower unit was deployed to Lakeside, Arizona, June 8-14. While there, Arizona Baptists provided showers units for 168 showers and washed thirty loads of laundry in laundry units. Forty ministry contacts were made.
Though the Alabama tornados have been off of the radar for some time now, Alabama Disaster Relief teams continue to work. Mel Johnson, state disaster relief directors, says, "We will have teams working for the next several weeks, perhaps months." There is an ongoing rebuild effort started and information can be found www.sbdr.org.
Disaster Relief volunteers had a busy June in North Carolina. In sixty-five volunteer days they completed thirty-five clean up jobs following a tornado in Maxton, North Carolina; a laundry unit supported firefighting efforts in Dare County; and they coordinated two teams in response to BGR requests for Japan.
Rick Seaton, the Missouri Baptist Convention's DR director, reports: "Southern Baptist churches in Joplin continue to assist their community with recovery and rebuild efforts following the massive tornado that struck the city in May. Two Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief shower units remained onsite providing support for mission teams that are coming into the city to work with the churches."
The Missouri convention is not coordinating Baptist disaster relief work in Joplin at this time but the churches in the city are working to help with recovery and rebuilding efforts.
Other Active Responses
As of July 6, a shower unit was still operational in Battle Creek, Michigan, where a tornado struck in June; mudout teams were assisting homeowners in Mississippi; fire cleanup was underway by Texas Baptist Men teams in Texas; and chainsaw teams were cleaning up tornado damage in Knox County, Tennessee.
Long term recovery efforts were underway or being planned in Alabama, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
Cliff Satterwhite, South Carolina convention DR director, reported they have had a record number of responses in the first six months of this year. In addition to sending teams to other states and to Japan they have deployed 109 teams in response to disasters in eleven counties in SC already this year.
Donations can be made to individual Baptist state convention disaster relief ministries.
Find contact information for Southern Baptist state convention offices at www.namb.net/statepartners.
Donations through the North American Mission Board can be made online at www.namb.net/disaster-relief-donations; by phone, 1-866-407-6262; or by mail, via checks payable to "North American Mission Board" and sent to Disaster Relief Fund, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, Georgia 30368-6543. Donations are fully
tax-deductible and 100% of all gifts are used to meet the needs of hurting people in the wake of disasters.
Through July 18, 2011, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Teams Have Reported:
Professions of Faith
Children Cared For
Compiled from reports by the North American Mission Board