Story updated at 6:00 p.m., Sept. 4
By Baptist and Reflector
MOUNT JULIET — Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief teams have arrived in Sugarland, Texas, and have set up operations at Sugarland Baptist Church, according to Wes Jones, disaster relief specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.
The feeding unit is set to begin providing meals on Tuesday, Sept. 5, while flood recovery teams and other volunteers will begin working upon arrival throughout this week.
The initial Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief teams responding to the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey was assigned to North Houston, Texas, on Sept. 1, but were reassigned while on route to the site, Jone said. Tennessee DR teams originally had been assigned to Sugarland.
“When I teach introduction to disaster relief I talk about the need to be fluid,” Jones said. “Our great volunteers have had to demonstrate this over and over again during this call out. Pray for safety, quick organization, and strength for the work,” Jones said.
Jones also cautioned that another hurricane (Irma) has reached Category 4 status in the Atlantic Ocean and another response may be needed on the East Coast by the weekend. “We will need all the volunteers we can get to minister to those affected by these hurricanes,” he said.
“My prayer is that God will use these responses to build relationships and reach people for Christ,” Jones said.
Jones said the Tennessee DR team has received a high volume of calls from those seeking training in order to be equipped to aid the relief process when the call comes.
Randy Davis, executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, is calling for Baptists to respond to the relief efforts with prayer, mobility and giving.
“This disaster is a disaster that eclipses so much of what we have known in our lifetime,” said Davis. “It’s going to take all of us, not just in Tennessee but across our nation, to respond as only believers in Christ can respond — with care, compassion and excellence.”
Earlier this week, during a conference call on Aug. 28, DR leaders were informed that many roads in Texas were not yet passable.
Jones said other Tennessee Baptist units will remain on alert and be assigned as in the coming days.
Across Texas, families are searching tirelessly for missing relatives on the sixth day since the catastrophic storm made its first landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, CNN reported.
At least 37 deaths related to Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath have been reported in Texas.
Emergency workers and throngs of volunteers went door to door in Houston on Wednesday, trying to rescue victims of the flood. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said authorities have received 60,000 to 70,000 calls for help.
The unrelenting storm, now classified as Tropical Depression Harvey, continues to devour cities in Texas, CNN reported on Thursday. It has unleashed its wrath on a wide swath east of Houston, leaving thousands stranded in flooded homes and forcing the evacuation of a nursing facility and even an emergency shelter where residents had sought refuge.
For updates on the storm and relief efforts, visit the Baptist and Reflector site. 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, Tenn., 37068. Write “Harvey Relief” in the memo line.