Missouri keeps pulling its Disaster Relief load
JEFFERSON CITY – This summer has been no vacation for Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief (DR). After responding to tornadoes in Kansas and flooding in western Missouri, units are now being called into service because of severe flooding in northeastern Oklahoma.
As of press time, the Spring River Baptist Association shower unit has been working in Miami, Okla., and has provided 199 hot showers and 173 loads of laundry for DR volunteers. A “mud out” team was expected to be deployed to Miami or nearby Joplin last week.
These deployments come at a time when Southern Baptist DR work is getting nationwide attention. A July 19 article in USA Today detailed how faith-based relief agencies, specifically the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Disaster Relief and Project Noah, are helping rebuild New Orleans. The newspaper estimated that 175,000 SBC volunteers have spent time repairing 5,100 homes in Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina. The SBC tops USA Today’s list of 30 faith-based relief groups, representing more than a third of the half-million volunteers who have served in Louisiana.
To help maintain that reputation and increase the number of volunteers ready to respond, the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) will offer several DR training events in the upcoming year. Volunteers must be 18 years old and a member of a Southern Baptist church to be certified. The cost of the training is $25 and is payable at the door. Checks should be made to MBC. This fee covers the cost of training, meals, a shirt, hat, pin, and ID badge. If you do not need the clothing items, the cost is $10.
Training will be offered in Dexter Aug. 24-25 at First Baptist Church. Courses to be taught include Introduction to Disaster Relief, Mass Care (feeding), Chaplain and chain saw training. “Blue Hat” is being offered by invitation only. Those wishing to be trained as a chaplain need to bring a reference letter from their pastor or director of missions.
Wright-Douglas-Ozark Baptist Association will host training Oct. 12-13 in Hartville. Pulaski Baptist Association has scheduled training for Nov. 30-Dec. 1. There will also be a Northeast Region training event next year, on Jan. 18-19, and later on in Marshall on March 14-15. Details on these training events will be released soon.