HANNIBAL – Disaster Relief participants are taught to “be flexible.”
The mantra was practiced in training September 8-9 at Calvary Baptist in Hannibal when there were ample reasons to cancel the training.
To wit: The training fell between Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and between state disaster relief directors. Four regular session leaders were deployed or returning from Hurricane Harvey relief in Texas. A fifth was cross training in another facet of Disaster Relief. Acting state director Tamara Parry attended a funeral.
Yet, the training continued.
“This is disaster relief. You have to be ready to fill in. You need to be ready to accomplish for that moment and for that day what God wants,” said Joe Banderman, who coordinates college student logistics support in Disaster Relief.
“Tamara could do this better, but we’re doing what we can do. It’s a ‘yes-we-can-what-can-I-do’ attitude. People who were not part of Disaster Relief were doing what they could do.”
Banderman said using fill-in session trainers is typical of what participants are taught. Few disasters are ever textbook in relief operation.
Canceling the training was discussed, but soon nixed. One reason training continued was due to a large number of first timers among the 130 attending. With trainers, the number attending was about 145.
Banderman’s wife downloaded participant photos so Parry could make badges before she left for relief deployment. Several collegians took time off classes to respond also – after the Hannibal training.
Clay Hayden is a Hannibal school teacher. He will respond on a call-out to help in flood recovery in Texas.
“This is my third training. We’ve been told they don’t need chainsaw teams (as other states are sending those), so I’ll do mudout. Having a student teacher will allow me to get on the mission field. I say ‘Here am I Lord, send me.’”
The MBC’s Cathie Kirkweg, who brought previous disaster experience, left the day after the training with Parry. Kirkweg had responded to help after Katrina in 2005 in Louisiana.
“I trained (in Hannibal) for incident management, shower and mud out. I didn’t realize that some of the training is what I do in the Baptist Building administration. Wes Hammond (who taught incident management) said ‘there are a lot of places where you can use your specific gifts. Disaster Relief is a great ministry to present the gospel and meet needs,” she said.
Ken Kroencke, a member of Emmanuel Baptist in Hannibal was another first timer with previous disaster work experience in Baton Rouge last year to help in flood recovery (mudout) and helping rebuild a church.
“I’m training in chainsaw, mudout, and shower. I’m semi retired and I want to be able to help people,” Kroencke said, adding he’ll be deployed to Texas in October.
A new northeast Missouri shower trailer was displayed at the training, a joint partnership between Bethel Association, Mt. Salem/Wyaconda Southern Baptist Association, and the Missouri Baptist Convention.