By Randy C. Davis
TBMB Executive Director
The news media may have moved on, and that’s okay. As we say, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers get there when the disaster hits and stay long after the media has left.
And that’s definitely the case in Sevier County where November’s wildfires devastated countless homes, businesses, and woodlands. Tennessee Baptists have been well represented as hundreds of committed volunteers have served — and continue to serve — thousands in their time of need.
Here’s a look over the last eight weeks. Tennessee Baptists DR volunteers have:
- Served 16,442 meals
- Performed 269 damage assessments
- Removed debris at more than 200 sites
- Completed 147 chainsaw jobs
- Recorded more than 345 heavy equipment hours
- Sifted through the ashes to recover valuables at dozens of homes
- Invested more than 24,000 volunteer hours
Throughout, Bible tracts have been distributed, the gospel has been shared, people have been spiritually ministered to, and lives have been changed. Needless to say, our disaster relief chaplains have been busy.
But this hasn’t just been the efforts of a few; it’s been the efforts of many. We are so thankful for the $350,000 that’s been given directly to support disaster relief in the wake of the Gatlinburg fires. If you are interested in participating financially, please visit TNDisasterRelief.org/contributions.
However, we are also thankful for the ongoing support Tennessee Baptists provide through the Cooperative Program and generous giving through the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions. A portion of this giving enables Tennessee Baptists to have resources in place for such a time as this. Our response can be expedient and tangible while always carrying forth the Commission of Jesus Christ to make disciples.
In the weeks and months ahead, the sites of burned out homes will continue to be cleared and families will begin the rebuilding process. The folks in Sevier County and those serving them sure could use your prayers. The relief given will continue for the foreseeable future.
Thank you, Tennessee Baptists, for showing up and being there for our fellow Tennessee Baptists.