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DISASTER RELIEF: Recap of flood & tornado response

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP)--The following disaster relief update is adapted from a recap issued June 22 by the North American Mission Board. It includes year-to-date Southern Baptist Disaster Relief totals.


Teams of Southern Baptist disaster volunteers have been clearing tornado-downed trees and debris.

Gary Capshaw, Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief assessor, shared the following story:

"Jim Barker and I went to assess a job which had lain un-acted upon for 11 days. It turned out to be a young widow who was suffering from a prolonged period of depression following the death of her husband several years ago. Her 'job' was just a couple of small limbs which had fallen over her fence, but that's not why God sent us there.

"The Spirit led Barker and I to know that she needed much more than just a few limbs cut and dragged, so instead of taking the assessed job back to the command center, we went a few blocks and handed it off directly to his (Barker's) team, which was working nearby. He had a DR rookie on the squad named Mark Cook, who is the pastor at . We handed the job to him. It took about two minutes for three of us to cut her little limbs, and then Mark went up on the porch to talk to the woman while his son and I dragged the limbs to the curb.

"As soon as he stepped on the porch, a man across the street raised a window, stuck his head out and began cursing Mark at the top of his lungs. He could be heard 2 blocks away as he screamed over and over, 'Get out of here! We don't need your kind in this neighborhood!' After a few minutes, he stopped. I didn't learn why until later.


"Mark told the woman to just ignore him, but she couldn't. Finally, she said they'd have to go inside. Mark asked her to pray with him and this is what he reported he prayed: 'Lord, shut the mouth of that demon spirit so this lady can hear what You have to say.' And, He did! Immediately! The guy shut up and sat down in a chair and didn't make another peep until we were leaving and even then, it wasn't much.

"By the time we left, the woman was in tears and told me that Mark had told her exactly what she needed to hear."


New England Baptists continue to lead a response to flooding in Burlington and Barre. To date, teams from California, Florida, Maryland/Delaware, Pennsylvania/South Jersey, South Carolina, Southern Baptists of Texas, Texas Baptist Men, Virginia Baptist Mission Board and Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia have served in Vermont. A team from Ohio will arrive this weekend.

John Scoggins has returned to lead the response in Burlington as the Incident Commander. Ron Earley (SBCV) stepped into the IC role to give John some well-deserved time off. Larry and Marcia Hoffman from Illinois, who have been in VT since early June, are working with John on the Incident Command Team. There are 61 volunteers working this week in assessment and mudout operations. Forty-one mud-out jobs have been completed in Barre and Burlington since the operation began.



Volunteers from Florida are working with New England volunteers to complete the cleanup operations in Brimfield. Bruce James, Baptist Convention of New England disaster relief director is very thankful for all the volunteers who traveled to Massachusetts to help. The work in Brimfield will be completed by the end of this week.


Arizona Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers and equipment continue to respond to the needs created by the massive wildfires in their state. Larry Hyde, who only recently became the convention's disaster relief director, has committed chaplains, feeding and shower units and they are looking at helping homeowners sift through the burned-out remains of their homes.


Though the Alabama tornados have been off of the radar for some time now, Alabama Disaster Relief teams continue to work. Mel Johnson, state disaster relief directors, says, "We will have teams working for the next several weeks, perhaps months." There is an ongoing rebuild effort started and information can be found here:


Rick Seaton, the Missouri Baptist Convention's DR director, reports: "Southern Baptist churches in Joplin continue to assist their community with recovery and rebuild efforts following the massive tornado that struck the city in May. Two Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief shower units remain onsite providing support for mission teams that are coming into the city to work with the churches."


The Missouri convention is not coordinating Baptist disaster relief work in Joplin at this time but the churches in the city are working to help with recovery and rebuilding efforts.


Larry Thomas, state DR director for the Kansas/Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists, reported that numerous tornados had touched down in the state Wednesday night and that volunteers were out assisting in their communities.


Kentucky Disaster Relief is responding to flooding needs in Knox County near the towns of Artemus and Kay Jay. Local trained disaster relief volunteers from First Baptist Church of Artemus are responding. First assessments indicate about 13 homes that are affected.


Waters from the Souris River have overtopped levees in Minot, N.D. The N.D. National Guard reports about 13,000 have been evacuated as flood waters have reached heights only seen once (1976) since 1881.


Donations can be made to individual Baptist state convention disaster relief ministries. Find contact information for Southern Baptist state convention offices at

Donations through the North American Mission Board can be made online at; by phone, 1-866-407-6262; or by mail, via checks payable to "North American Mission Board" and sent to Disaster Relief Fund, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543. Donations are fully tax-deductible and 100% of all gifts are used to meet the needs of hurting people in the wake of disasters.



Through June 22, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams have reported:

Professions of faith: 98

Gospel presentations: 663

Other decisions: 47

Chaplaincy contacts: 10,379

Volunteer days: 25,660

Meals prepared: 399,948

Mudout jobs: 358

Chainsaw jobs: 3,307

Showers: 10,511

Laundry loads: 4,269

Children cared for: 427

Copyright (c) 2011 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press

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