By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector
MOUNT JULIET — Two Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief shower trailer units are serving flood victims in Louisiana and Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief teams who are willing to do mud out are needed, said Wes Jones, director of Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief.
Also, assessors and chaplain units are needed, added Jones. If the mud out or flood recovery teams have equipment, that would be helpful. Trained volunteers are preferred but not required in this case, Jones said.
The situation is that most of the experienced and readily available Tennessee Baptist DR volunteers have responded a lot this year and some are still serving in Rainelle, W.Va., said Jones.
He explained that mud out work is very demanding and that TBDR flood recovery volunteers have been involved in 12 different disaster relief efforts in 2016. TBDR volunteers have responded to 21 disasters in 2016, he added.
Flood recovery volunteers have recently served in Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas (twice), West Virginia, and Missouri, he reported.
“Most of our mud out units are really tired, just worn out,” explained Jones. “We need some new folks to come along side and serve.”
The two shower trailers currently serving include one from Hermitage Hills Baptist Church, Hermitage, stationed in Gonzalez, La., and one from Chilhowee Baptist Association, based in Alcoa, ministering in Denham Springs, La.
TBDR works in cooperation with the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention and the other 42 state Baptist conventions.
Reports are that 65,000-plus homes have been affected and 13 people are dead as a result of the flooding, Jones said. The Louisiana Baptist Convention has identified 60 Southern Baptist Convention church facilities and 60 homes of pastors which have been flooded.
“DR volunteers need to go through us so we can arrange housing through NAMB and so they will be assigned to an area,” stated Jones.
DR training is available Aug. 27 in Clarksville and Sept. 9-10 at First Baptist Church, Cleveland. For more information, go to www.tndisasterrelief.org.
In addition to this response, other Tennessee Baptists are meeting the needs of Louisiana flood victims.
Jim Ramey, DR director, Sullivan Baptist Association, based in Kingsport, is leading a project involving flood buckets. The five gallon buckets are filled with supplies for clean up. For more information, contact him at 423-579-2435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vicki Hulsey, childhood specialist, Tennessee Baptist Convention, and Julie Heath, preschool and children’s missions specialist, TBC, are leading a response by children’s Sunday School classes and missions groups to collect school supplies for children who are flood victims. For more information, contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, Don Owen, DR director, Nolachucky Baptist Association, based in Morristown, is planning to deliver a second load of supplies to south Louisiana Aug. 23. For more information, contact him at email@example.com.
Owen learned of the need from a person in south Louisiana who helps with the Harvest of Israel ministry of First Baptist Church, Morristown, which Nolachucky Association and the association DR supports. As part of that ministry crates of supplies are shipped to Israel from south Louisiana.
The partner of Harvest of Israel who called Owen told him of “the critical needs” adding that flood victims “were desperate down there. And he had seen Katrina, Wilma, and Rita,” said Owen, referring to hurricanes which have struck the south Louisiana area and caused flooding.
The first delivery was coordinated through Stan Statham, director of missions, Baptist Association of Southeast Louisiana, in Kentwood, La. The supplies were left at two church facilities.
To volunteer in Louisiana, contact Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org, 615-371-7927, or 712-253-4408.
A fund to support TBDR in this response has been set up and gifts can be given at tndisasterrelief.org to 2016 Louisiana Flooding Fund or by check made payable to the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Send the check to TN Baptist Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024. Write on check the nature of any designation. Any checks received that do not have a designation will be used for general disaster relief.