Disaster relief Q&A with Ingleside Baptist Church
IMMOKALEE—Missions director, Lisa Call, shares about Ingleside Baptist Church’s experience serving with Send Relief and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief in hurricane-battered Florida.
SR: Why Florida?
LC: The love of Christ compelled us to serve hurricane survivors there. After Hurricane Harvey, our members expressed compassion and concern for Texans. They emailed me about volunteering in Texas to help with clean up whenever possible. Then Irma came and hit a little closer to us. A number of evacuees from the Florida and Georgia coast sought refuge in our city of Macon. We tried to share God’s love in practical ways. And after the storm died down, our members continued expressing their desires to stay involved and help hurricane survivors. So, I contacted Send Relief to see if we could send teams to Florida to help.
SR: What kind of work did your team do?
LC: Primarily our team put tarps on roofs. People were very appreciative. It was really windy, and one family tried to work alongside us to help.
SR: Who did you encounter there?
LC: We went to two houses owned by Hispanic families. There wasn’t much flooding remaining in this area. Wind damage was what they had suffered from most of all, so covering holes in roofs was a big need.
SR: Tell one story that impacted your team significantly.
LC: This is a story that our team leader, Robbie Parks, who was on the ground in Immokalee, shared …
“God moved in an amazing way as our team from Ingleside Baptist Church in Macon, Georgia served those in Immokalee, Florida affected by Hurricane Irma. We met with a family from the Hispanic community of Immokalee to cover their roof with tarps to prevent leaks from the rain. Their roof had been damaged severely from the storm, and the husband was disabled and too poor to make the repairs. As we were working, several of our team members were able to minister to them one-on-one. We finished the roof, and before we left we were able to share the gospel with Santa (the wife). She asked to receive Christ and was saved! What an awesome opportunity and experience for our entire team, and we thank the Lord for allowing us to be part.”
SR: Would you do it again?
LC: Yes, we want to continue to send disaster relief teams because we believe it honors the Lord when we show compassion in His name. This trip was a great example of how God will sometimes use terrible circumstances to accomplish His ultimate plan. Because this family experienced a disaster, and Send Relief responded in love by providing a way for churches to serve, God opened the door for our message, and Santa heard the good news of Jesus. She repented and believed, and her life will never be the same. God saved her, and He graciously allowed our team to witness His work. All glory goes to Him! God is in the business of changing lives and expanding His kingdom. Of course we want to be used by Him again and again in whatever way possible.
SR: What would you say to encourage others to serve?
LC: It was our great privilege to serve the people in Immokalee in Jesus’ name. We have an opportunity after these disasters to show with our works and tell with our words the good news of Jesus. People may be more open to listening when you are there to help them with a practical need.
Josie Bingham writes for the North American Mission Board.