By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are a special breed of people.
They love the Lord with all their hearts and souls, and they love people enough to do “the dirty work” that most people would run from.
I spent time this week with Tennessee volunteers who were serving out of First Baptist Church in Manning, S.C. Teams did flood recovery or, “mudouts,” for people whose homes were devastated by historic flooding in the Palmetto State earlier this month.
In the area around Manning, located about 60 miles from the state capitol in Columbia, residents received about 24 inches of rain in a three-day period. Needless to say, numerous people experienced unprecedented flooding, especially those who lived closer to a river, pond, or swamp.
Though the water has receded, damaged homes remain. Many of the homes have been untouched since the flooding occurred. As a result homes are filled with mold. For those without flood insurance, many have no one to whom they can turn.
Enter Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. Tennessee teams have been in South Carolina for two weeks offering relief to any who accept it. Volunteers have removed untold pounds of trash and destroyed furniture from homes. They have torn out walls and floors in order to spray for mold. In some cases, as they crawled under homes they’ve even killed a snake or two.
But not once have I heard a complaint while here. Instead, volunteers praised God that they’ve had the opportunity to show God’s love to people in distress. What’s more, some of the volunteers saw people come to know the Lord as Savior.
Tennessee DR volunteers truly are a unique and special people who put the needs of others over their own comfort, and will continue to do so. Wes Jones, director of Tennessee Disaster Relief, said that teams will probably be needed through November. He also said Tennessee Baptists can help by making financial contributions that will be directly used in the relief effort. For more information regarding how to give financially, visit tndisasterrelief.org.