At last year’s BGCT meeting in Amarillo, a disaster relief feeding unit served lunch to messengers on the first day of the convention.  It was a delicious taco soup, and they prepared it and fed a thousand people in a relatively short period of time.  The unit was displaying its ministry to the messengers.  I was impressed. 

Our disaster relief ministries are important.  I have seen places where the very recognizeable disaster relief logo, shared by various state convention ministries under the NAMB umbrella, is in abundance in places that have experienced storm devastation.  I’ve heard testimony upon testimony about how visible and how helpful Baptist disaster relief has been in New Orleans, and along the Mississippi gulf coast since Katrina.  Baptists are working everywhere in New Orleans, with a permanent headquarters for various groups that now stream into the city with regularity to help residents with cleanup and repair services.  Texas Baptists were among the first on the scene during Katrina, and recently, during Gustav.  Most of these people are volunteers who do this because it is something God has called them to do, and they love to serve people.  That makes this ministry a tremendous witness and testimony to Christ.

Baptists have contributed a lot of money to provide equipment necessary to help.  We have all kinds of mobile feeding units, capable of turning out thousands of meals in a short period of time, over an extended time if necessary.  We have shower trailers for volunteers who sometimes sleep in a local church or school where such facilities may not be available.   Some of those are pretty sophisticated, containing laundry equipment as well, so volunteers can wash clothes.  Several states have tool trailers, carrying along equipment so volunteers can have what they need close at hand.  Even more remarkable is the fact that the various state conventions are willing to share their volunteers and equipment with other state disaster relief organizations.  It is a fine example of Baptist cooperation that works about as well as any other.  Your Cooperative Program dollars are at work.

One of the most remarkable things about this ministry is the way people work together.  Sometimes, especially with larger catastrophes, units from several different state conventions come together in a given location.  The work is coordinated by NAMB volunteers and staff, and everyone works together to help, doing whatever their unit is set up to do.  It is a cooperative effort, with the focus on providing relief services to people in the devastated area.  Imagine, a group of Baptist volunteers from different churches and different states, getting together, organized by an SBC agency, working together for a common cause.  When we really need to, we can work together and accomplish just about anything, can’t we?

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About LS

I'm 56, happily married for 25 years, B.A., M.A., career educator with experience in education as a teacher and administrator, native Arizonan living in Pennsylvania, working on a PhD and a big fan of the Arizona Wildcats, mainly in football and basketball.

2 responses

  1. Ken Coffee says:

    Lee, you mayor may not know that the Disaster Relief Ministry of the SBC was started by Texas Baptist Men almost forty years ago. They built and utilized the first Disaster Relief Units, including feeding, child care, etc. The first unit was a converted eighteen wheeler, trailer, tractor and all. The success of the TBM ministry prompted the SBC to grab onto it and they started assisting other states to build and develop their own ministries. In my opinion, it is one of the best things we do in Baptist life. Thanks for featuring it.

  2. Lee says:

    Yes, I did know that. I was in R.A.’s, and even though I grew up in Arizona, both of my RA leaders were native Texans, and had both been involved in Disaster Relief. It is indeed one of the best things we do.

    I’ve taken many a shower in one of those shower trailers during World Changers projects. The air conditioned ones are nice, the others, well, it’s like taking a shower in a hot car, but that keeps the line short! A lot of individual churches have build trailers for showers and laundry, some of the nicest ones I’ve seen belong to FBC Amarillo.