CARRIE, Ky. — Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers, along with DR teams from Ohio, have been hard at work since early this month, assisting with flood recovery efforts following torrential flooding in the area in late July.
Wes Jones, disaster relief specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, reported that 12 counties in Eastern Kentucky have been declared federal disaster areas of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Jones added that DR teams from across the Southern Baptist Convention are working alongside Kentucky Baptist DR teams. An incident command team, led by John and Kaye Thomas of First Baptist Church, Sevierville, has been in place for nearly three weeks, Jones said.
Tennessee DR also has shower laundry units, chaplains, assessors, feeding team, heavy equipment, debris removal and flood recovery teams on site, he added. The teams are based at Montgomery Baptist Church in Carrie.
“The great thing is, that through our site, we have seen seven people come to trust Christ as Savior so far and one rededication,” Jones reported.
“Pray that the Holy Spirt will continue to work in the hearts of those we come into contact with so that they will be encouraged and many more trust Christ as Savior,” he continued.
Jones related how one person trusted Christ as the team from Ohio traveled down and stopped to eat. “As the chaplain shared with the waitress, she trusted Christ as Savior,” Jones said,
In addition another volunteer went to get something out of his truck when a person came up looking for some supplies. As they talked, the volunteer was used by God to lead that man to faith in Christ, Jones shared.
“A number of people in the area who attended the church we are serving out of have said they are planning on coming back to church. Praise God for what the Holy Spirit is doing through the volunteers who are serving,” Jones said.
Jones expressed his gratitude for all the hard work done by the teams.
“Most of all, I am grateful for their willingness to share their faith with those who they come into contact with.”
Kaye Thomas said that as of Aug. 10, nine jobs have been completed and there are 173 requests for jobs that need to be completed.
“It is still hectic here,” she said, noting that people in the area are terrified because weather forecasts call for more rain in the area. “Any amount of rain will make the creek overflow again,” Thomas said. She added that some residents have been flooded again since the first flooding occurred in late July.
She related that members of Montgomery Baptist Church, where the teams are based, have been praying that it will not rain. Thomas encouraged Tennessee Baptists to join in that prayer. “We need people to pray that it will not rain and flood again,” she said.
Thomas said the area residents are appreciative of the efforts of Tennessee DR volunteers. She noted the church is a distribution area and when they come in for supplies, “they thank us for being here.”
Jones said more flood recovery teams are urgently needed to serve the people affected by the flooding in Kentucky. Teams will be needed through the end of September, he said.
Those who are able to gather a team to provide support for the families who have lost so much should contact Jones (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).
The phone number to reach the Tennessee DR Response Phone, and to obtain the most accurate information, is 615-969-0410.
Jones suggested volunteers communicate by e-mail because phone reception is spotty. Teams who plan to help should arrive at the church no later than 6 p.m., he continued. “The roads are too dangerous to be driving after dark, particularly if you are pulling a trailer.”
Individuals interested in donating to disaster relief can visit tndisasterrelief.org/contributions and click on Kentucky flood relief. B&R