Disaster Relief Update

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

“A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him,” James 1:12 (HCSB). 

Many around the world are enduring trials today. In Mexico homes were damaged by an earthquake last Tuesday; in Medina County Texas a tornado has left residents with no home to return to; and in Henryville, Indiana students went back to school this week three weeks after a tornado destroyed their school and many of their homes. In all of these cases, and more, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers and resources have been present to help in times of trial.

Mexico Earthquake

A 7.4 earthquake near Ometepec in southern Mexico on Tuesday, March 20th damaged homes and panicked residents. The earthquake was powerful enough to be felt 200 miles away in Mexico City. Late on Tuesday, Pat Melancon of Baptist Global Response (BGR) reported that initial assessments by IMB missionaries and BGR staff in the region indicated local Baptists would be able to handle any response. Pray for Baptists and IMB missionaries in the area where the damage occurred as they minister to their neighbors.

Mexico quake damages homes but spares lives 

Medina County, TX Tornado

TX SBTC MedinaA tornado moved through parts of Medina County, Texas on March 20th. Jim Richardson, Disaster Relief director for Southern Baptists of Texas Convention reported that Incident Command staff, assessors, chaplains and chainsaw teams completed their ministry on Saturday. The teams were coordinated out of First Baptist Church Natalia.

Photo right: SBTC team members can be seen assisting a homeowner with the recovery of belongings from a destroyed home in Medina County, Texas. (photo from SBTC Facebook page)

Reflecting the importance of local host churches in the ministry of disaster relief teams, Incident Commander Daniel White sent the following: "Pastor Billy Morse and Natalia Baptist Church have a true servant's heart. They opened their church to us and ministered to us, making sure that we were comfortable, had everything we needed, and he kept the coffee pot full. Billy and his precious wife even cooked us breakfast this morning. It was a great blessing to be hosted by them." 

If you have been deployed as a Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteer take time today to pray for the church(es) and their staff who hosted you. Remember that their ministry in those communities hit by disaster continues even now. The work of healing and recovery lasts long after the teams of volunteers return home and then move on to the next disaster response.

Dexter, Michigan

A Michigan chainsaw unit spent the past week helping residents of Dexter, Michigan clean up following a March 15th tornado. About 100 homes were damaged by the storm.

West Liberty, KY

Students from Morehead State University spent their spring break assisting homeowners in the West Liberty area of Kentucky with cleanup work following the tornadoes that struck eastern Kentucky at the end of February. The students completed 21 jobs and witnessed one person begin a new life in Christ during the week. The last Kentucky recovery unit is working in the Piner, KY area and will finish the last two jobs on Tuesday. Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief is assisting local communities with the development of long term recovery plans.

KY OH ChildcarePhoto left: Ruth Baxter of the Ohio Childcare team reads a story to children at the shelter in West Liberty, Kentucky.

In West Liberty, KY an Ohio childcare unit came in to take over ministry at a shelter from the Kentucky childcare unit. Upon their return home Larry Randolph, chaplain for the team reflected on the ministry opportunities God provided for them. "The phone calls started going out Sunday before noon. By late Sunday night seven volunteers had said I will go. We were all set up, ready to serve and begin our Ministry on Tuesday morning. The parents started bringing the children until we had seven children to serve.  On Tuesday morning a different phone rang and a young man gave his life to Jesus. By Friday morning the Ohio Child Care Team had helped six people make that same call and ask Jesus into their heart. I stopped by the Command Center to drop off some paperwork. Donna and Bill Johnson had been ministering to a family down the street from the command center since their arrival. Donna asked me to go with Bill and minister to Mr. Williams, an 83 year old gentleman, one more time. They had been showing Jesus' love, taking food to him, his 100 year old Christian mother and a younger brother who they led to the Lord. After visiting with Mr. Williams for several minutes we shared the gospel and I asked Mr. Williams if he would consider asking Jesus into his heart. He said yes, we prayed and he asked Jesus to be Lord of his life. Joy filled that little porch and the seventh soul had been drawn in by the Holy Spirit using the joint efforts of many organizations and Christians with various spiritual gifts. Seven Disaster Relief childcare workers, seven children served and ministered to, seven salvations." 

Joplin, Missouri

Oklahoma DR Chainsaw teams are back working in Joplin, Missouri on some long term debris cleanup around the city. The Oklahoma volunteers are assisting Missouri Disaster Relief to support the work of 800 college students from across the USA expected to serve as volunteers in Joplin during their spring break. Missouri Baptist DR is hosting the student groups and plans to have a big high energy worship for the students each night. Pray for these students as they work alongside SBDR volunteers and participate in worship that they will hear God speak to them and those who do not have a personal relationship with Him will accept the Lord as Savior while serving others in Joplin. Pray for the OK and MO Chainsaw teams as they work with the students. Pray for the safety of all remembering that many of the students dragging the brush have never worked around chain saws and skid steers. Pray for the homeowners they serve that they will be encouraged and draw nearer to God through the ministry of these students and SBDR volunteers.

In the News

Helping those in need - group cleans up after tornadoes 

Henryville elementary students return to classes 3 weeks after tornado destroys school 

NC Disaster Relief partners with the National Mobile Disaster Hospital, the nation's only full-service civilian mobile hospital 

Japan Earthquake/Tsunami

Another construction team from Georgia has made the trip to Japan and will be working with Baptists in Japan and their partners on long-term rebuild and recovery projects in the coastal region where the tsunami, generated by the strong earthquake, rushed ashore last year.

Baptist Global Response continues to coordinate work in Japan. Additional teams of volunteers are needed to work alongside Baptists in Japan and their partners. For information visit the BGR website.  

Teams scheduled to travel to Japan
March 26-April 7 Georgia Construction team
April 8-19 Texas Baptist Men Feeding specialists
April 9-21 Georgia Construction team

Upcoming Trainings

The following is a list of trainings scheduled over the next three months that we have received information from convention DR leaders. Check your convention's website if you do not see a training listed here.

Alabama State Board of MIssions
April 13-14 Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center
Register here.

Arkansas Baptist State Convention
3/31/12 Bear Creek Springs Baptist, Harrison
4/14/12 FBC, Arkadelphia
4/21/12 Trinity Baptist Church, Blytheville
4/28/12 Geyer Springs FBC, Little Rock
5/5/12 Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Crossett
8/11/12 FBC, Pea Ridge
Download a pdf file with the training information  

Colorado Baptist General Convention Disaster Relief
April 27-28 Centennial, CO - OSFA Training (Chaplains Only)
Contact Jan Loser to register

Florida Baptist Convention Disaster Relief
2012 Regional Trainings
April 28, May 19, June 2, June 23
Download the FL DR training flyer.

Kentucky Baptist Convention Disaster Relief
April 14 London, KY - Disaster Relief Training
For information visit the KBC website  

Louisiana Baptist Convention Disaster Relief
April 20-21 DR Roundtable - Northern Region Ruston, LA
For information visit the LBC website  

New Mexico Baptist Convention Disaster Relief
Annual NM DR Celebration and Training
March 29-31 Sandia Baptist Church, Albuquerque
Contact Cricket Pairett 505.924.2315 or the NM DR website for information.

Baptist State Convention of North Carolina Disaster Relief
April 20-21-Monroe, NC
May 18-19 - Marion, NC
June 1-2 - Murphy, NC
Register for the training.

Northwest Baptist Convention Disaster Relief
2012 Roundtable and Training
March 30-21
NW Baptist Convention Center, Vancouver, WA
Get information via email or the NW DR Facebook page.

Tennessee Baptist Convention Disaster Relief
April 14, 2012 (N. Western Region) Huntingdon
May 12, 2012 (N. Central Region) Cookeville
There are additional specialized trainings as well.
Get the latest information on all TN DR trainings and register.  

Utah-Idaho Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief
May 10-12, Idaho Location TBA
Email UT-ID Disaster Relief for more information

Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia Disaster Relief
March 31 - Southeast Region, Great Neck Baptist Church
April 14 - Southwest Region, GraceLife Baptist Church
Get more information and register here.