First, I want to share this article written by Dr. Waylon Bailey, pastor of FBC, Covington, which he wrote to share with his church. Some of the article is general information, applicable to all Southern Baptists, but some specifically applies to his church ($30,000 collected last weekend).
I see the article as evidence of so much that needs to be done. I note his appreciation of the large number of Baptist VOLUNTEERS who have worked and are still working. Much of the work in our area has been done. Soon, some of those working in this area will be moving to staging areas closer to where much of the work still needs to be done.
I have been blessed to know some of what has been done. The stories told by the VOLUNTEERS will touch your heart. I hope you have the opportunity to hear from the volunteers or the victims.
We all know how widespread this is and how many people have suffered because of it.
Here are some things you need to know.
In addition to the 60,000 homes flooded, 72 Southern Baptist churches and 57 pastor homes in this area of Louisiana flooded as well.
The response by faith based groups has been astounding.
Southern Baptists, through the North American Mission Board, have been on the ground and are committed to be here for the long haul. So far Baptists from 21 states are in Louisiana with 48 officially trained mud out teams at work “gutting” houses. In addition, there are “probably twice that many teams which are not officially trained at work across the region.”
Southern Baptists are the third largest relief agency in the country (after the Red Cross and the Salvation Army). The wonderful thing about Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is that it is volunteer labor without any overhead. When you and I give to the various offerings to meet the needs of people all of the money goes to people needing assistance.
I am thankful to be associated with that kind of group.
I listened this week in a pastor’s meeting to a representative of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. He described “a miracle in spontaneous response.” He said we are further along after two weeks than most areas are after eight weeks.
I credit “people helping people” and the churches of the area responding so rapidly. David Hankins, Executive Director of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, noted that “Churches are the best Disaster Relief organizations in existence.”
Thank you for volunteering across the region to help people “gut out” (also known as “mud out”) their homes. Thank you also for the almost $30,000 you gave last weekend for relief help. We will use that money and additional funds that will be given to meet as many needs as possible.
Second, I want to acknowledge the churches that have stepped up to help so many in needs, people they don’t know and probably will never see again. They only wanted to meet some needs and to share Jesus in the process.
What a blessing it is to help in some tiny ways! The blessings to my heart and the hearts of others is overwhelming. Thanks to those of you who allowed us to work alongside you.
I know each person who helps has stories to tell. Most have stories of what they have seem. Some will tell you of individuals they helped who blessed them in prayers.
Many have had food to eat or homes gutted and sprayed for mold. Sometimes, the hard part was giving up possessions that where so close hearts, but totaled by the water damage. I cannot imagine!
Many workers have had brown bag lunches. Some loving hands prepared these and all the other meals that have been freely given. When the supply of something runs short, people jump in to say they will take care of the need immediately and the needs were met.
The workers I saw, even this morning, ranged in age from 10 to about 80. I missed seeing the clean out team, but when I add the clean out team to the food and delivery people, I can only say God was leading the way. To God by the Glory!
What a special touch to see toys in each bag marked for kids! I saw enough food in bags for a meal and some to have later. How thoughtful!
If your heart hasn’t been touched by the flood damage and then by the volunteers who have stepped up to meet needs and share Jesus, you have surely missed out.
The needs are not all met. I hope you are helping. If not, ponder on this quote by Henry Blackaby.
As I said earlier, “To God be the Glory”!