WOODWARD, Okla.—From January 16 to present, the Oklahoma Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (OKSBDR) team has received 691 requests for assistance … and counting.
“We are making every effort to assist from our Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief resources,” OKSBDR Director Sam Porter said. “We want to share the love of Jesus with our neighbors in need.”
On the morning of January 15, many Woodward homeowners woke up in the dark. Soon after their electricity went out, loud pops and cracks echoed down the grid of neighborhoods. Trees—large and small—were succumbing to the ice.
The storm started with mostly ice on Friday, January 13, but the relentless rain shower that followed over the weekend caused the watery frost to build on tree limbs and power lines, with more than an inch weighing on groaning tree limbs and quivering wires.
Porter estimated the cleanup would take two weeks “if there were 100 Disaster Relief (DR) volunteers on the ground every day.”
But OKSBDR needs more trained volunteers.
OKSBDR Incident Command (IC) Wes Johnson deployed Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) volunteer teams from Oklahoma, Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas and Kansas to aid and assist feeding and chainsaw units in the Woodward and Laverne areas.
“We need more trained volunteers who will say yes to the call and respond quickly,” Johnson said. “The crews always receive kind words regarding their work and are appreciated. It’s a great reminder that when we’re out there ministering and blessing others, we’re ministering and blessing Jesus.”
Johnson said volunteering with SBDR is a reminder “that everything is done for God’s glory, for His name.”
As of Friday, SBDR volunteers have witnessed eight professions of faith, completed 200 chainsaw jobs and been able to provide chaplain support through SBDR Chaplaincy to 383 survivors.
“There is a common experience on all jobs we go on while serving with SBDR,” said Johnson. “We’re always left with an incredible sense of satisfaction—even with tired, aching bodies. I mean, we’ve prayed for God to guide us and prepare us through life to be servants, so it’s no surprise that while we serve, our callings and senses of purpose are fulfilled. Then, there’s the occasional platter of cookies, too.”
Josie Rabbitt is a writer for the North American Mission Board.
Published January 31, 2017