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Disaster Relief Reflection Following Active Spring Storms

disaster-reliefThis article was originally published in the July/August edition of the newsletter of the Blackwater Baptist Association.

Learn more about Disaster Relief.

Disaster Relief volunteers use chainsaws to clear debris after the tornadoes in North Carolina this spring.
Disaster Relief volunteers use chainsaws to clear debris after the tornadoes in North Carolina this spring. (NC Baptist Men & Women Disaster Relief Ministry)

By Sammy Carr, Black Creek Baptist Church

Disaster Response and Relief by Virginia Baptists (VBMB - Virginia Baptist Mission Board)As Christians, we should always have in our heart the desire to serve. All of us can, in our special way.

That is why I made the decision in 2012 to receive disaster relief training with the Virginia Baptist Mission Board.

I received training in chainsaw recovery and shower/water purification trailer training.

After being drafted into the feeding unit in West Virginia’s winter storm in 2013, I received my training in the feed/wash unit. I am now serving on the association disaster committee.

That brings me to my writing this article. Nancy C. Greene, Blackwater Baptist Associational Administrator & Disaster Relief Coordinator wanted me to write a short article about our association response to North Carolina the first of this month after the deadly tornadoes touched down and caused a large amount of damage.

On Tuesday, April 29, 2014 – 9:45 am the disaster members got this e-mail:

ATTENTION CHAINSAW VOLUNTEERS!! We will be receiving a request from North Carolina Baptist Men later today for volunteers to assist in Elizabeth City, NC for tree cutting and debris removal. Begin clearing your calendar now and offer assistance if you are able.

After juggling my schedule, I made contact with NC Baptist Men and was on my way with Bill Fowler of Newsome Baptist Church on May 2 at 6:00 am.

When we arrived at Corinth Baptist Church in Elizabeth City, we were greeted warmly by the NCBM and other brothers and sister from our association and VBMB disaster services.

An extensively damaged home outside Elizabeth City, NC. (NC Baptist Men & Women Disaster Relief Ministry)

After a delicious breakfast, Bill and I parted ways and I was teamed with the chainsaw recovery team from Rosedale Baptist Church of Abington, VA.

The four of us were dispatched to a home outside of Elizabeth City that had two trees damaged in the back yard. It was the home of an 82 year old widow.

It took us all morning to get the trees cut up and pulled to roadway. She was so appreciative of our help and was in tears as we prayed with her and gave her a Bible that we had written words of inspiration and our names.

We returned to the church for nourishment and a little rest and headed to another home with tree damage. At this home no one was there, but we were told it was a home where the man and wife were of poor health. Since they were not home, we could only leave the signed Bible with words of comfort and inspiration.

Disaster Relief members pose with a homeowner. (NC Baptist Men & Women Disaster Relief Ministry)

By the time we get back to the church, the day was gone. Due to a prior obligation, I could not help on Saturday, so Bill and I headed back to Virginia. We were tired, but had no injuries.

Only those who have been a part of a disaster relief team response can understand the feeling of the presence of the Holy Spirit that I always feel.

Disaster relief volunteers are there with like belief and love and compassion for those not only in physical need, but spiritual need. I encourage everyone to get involved in some way, physically (get the training), spiritually (praying) or financial (donating to disaster relief).

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