Baptist and Reflector
FRANKLIN – Just a week after responding to relief efforts caused by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston area, Tennessee Baptists are gearing up to respond to devastation caused by Hurricane Irma in Florida.
At press time on Monday (Sept. 11), Hurricane Irma had been downgraded to Category 1 status, but still packed wind gusts of about 100 miles per hour and more than a foot of rain in parts of south Florida, according to news reports. An estimated six million homes and business were without power and at least four deaths were reported after the storm struck on Sunday, Sept. 10.
The North American Mission Board Send Relief team has identified several Southern Baptist churches that will be ready to serve as shelters and disaster relief staging centers after the storm has passed, according to an update from NAMB late on Sept. 10.
The NAMB update noted that Tampa is expected to incur significant damage, adding that a storm the magnitude of Irma has not struck the city since the 1920s.
“We are asking that all Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams east of the Mississippi River be on standby to serve in Florida, Georgia, and other areas impacted by Irma, the NAMB report stated. “The Florida Baptist Convention has significant disaster relief resources but many of their volunteers have been evacuated and will be focused on helping their own families recover for the foreseeable future,” the report added.
Wes Jones, disaster relief specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, confirmed Sept. 10 that Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief is on standby for Irma.
“Keep praying and preparing so that when Hurricane Irma finally runs its course that we are ready to respond,” Jones said.
“Pray that the storm will lose its punch quickly and pray for the safety of those in its path and those who are ready to respond,” he continued.
Jones observed that as the hurricane “runs its race, let us also run the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1). Thank you for being ready to serve those who are affected by the disaster,” he said.
For updates on the storm and relief efforts, visit www.baptistandreflector.org. If you would like to donate to the response effort, visit http://tndisasterrelief.org/contributions or mail a check to TBMB DR, PO Box 682789, Franklin, TN, 37068. Write “Hurricane Relief” in the memo line.