DR in Community:
On January 15-18, 2019, Arizona Southern Baptist Disaster Relief partnered with the K-LOVE Foundation to provide three courses in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) at the Mesa Public Safety Training Center. Through the generous sponsorship of the K-LOVE Foundation CISM training in Group and Individual Crisis Intervention, Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention, and Grief Following Trauma were offered at no cost.
There were 126 individuals registered for the courses, 20 of which were Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Chaplains. Chaplains from the Red Cross, police, fire, prisons, hospitals, and hospice also registered, along with several emergency dispatchers, detectives, and firefighters. Each of the courses required two or more days to complete. Participants received certificates from the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation at the completion of each course.
Plans are underway for similar training in 2020.
DR on Mission:
In March 2019, Arizona Southern Baptist Disaster Relief partnered with Pursue Life Ministry – a ministry of Arizona Baptist Children’s Services – to ‘travel with a purpose’. This was our fourth partnership; connecting with local churches and communities in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean island chain to support local church outreach and provide continued recovery/rebuild from hurricanes Maria and Irma.
This is Don Jose.
Don Jose lives alone, with exception to the menagerie that wander about – an assortment of dogs near the patio, a free-range flock of chickens, and a couple orange cats that come and go as they please. He is a soft-spoken man of faith with limited vision, living with almost enough to meet his needs. In a conversation, Don Jose told me how happy he was that we had come. As we continued to talk, he told me how he had been praying, “Please God, send someone to help me”
Before our arrival, Arizona Southern Baptist Disaster Relief had a cistern installed; allowing Don Jose to end his daily trips to collect water. Our task was to help create a more livable environment for Don Jose. After assessment, we began mold abatement and deep cleaning, replaced of a non-functioning refrigerator, built out storage and shelving, then finished with a fresh coat of paint.
While each island varied in need for relief and/or rebuild work, with the southern most in the island chain requiring the least, our local church partners sometimes preferred to use our 14-member team to meet spiritual needs.
On in island of St. Croix, USVI, Pastor John Smith, of Shepherd’s Fold Community Church holds Sunday worship services on the beach.
Our team welcomed worshipers as they gathered. It’s an amazing thing to see God take a simple greeting and turn it into an opportunity to provide love and encouragement to hurting people. The love of God expressed through a faithful heart and listening ear.
After church, lunch was served for the entire congregation followed by workshops facilitated by members of our team; focusing on the ‘how to’ and ‘what for’ of men’s and women’s ministry. It’s Pastor John’s desire that his church live on mission every day.
The opportunities and needs on the islands are diverse. It’s astounding how the physical destruction from the dead-head spin of a storm can bring with it so much emotional and spiritual pain – more so even two years out.
Team member, Mitch McDonald shares,
“This was probably the hardest disaster relief call-out I’ve ever been on with people ranging in age from 43 to 82 years and the variety of skill levels required for the work. God stretched each person from their place of comfort and met them in new ways that deepened their relationship with Him.
You can imagine the relationships started while spreading 30 gallons of paint and consuming countless PB&J sandwiches alongside SUVs (Spontaneous Unaffiliated Volunteers) throughout this trip. These SUVs were family members or neighbors who joined in to help those we came to serve – local pastors and church family, and even a Celebrity Cruise crew member who heard what we were doing and asked to join us on his day off.
Some 350 man-hours later, there were homes repaired and painted, lives encouraged and 14 volunteers who are changed forever.”
Arizona Southern Baptist Disaster Relief bringing help, healing, and hope.
~ for more information about Arizona Baptist Children’s Services’ Travel with a Purpose and Pursue Life Ministry contact Mona@abcs.org
What is Southern Baptist Disaster Relief?
Since 1967, when a handful of Texans answered God’s call, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) has grown into one of the largest disaster response agencies in the U.S. with more than 82,000 trained volunteers and 1552 mobile units. Volunteers stand ready to be called out when disaster strikes.
SBDR desires to represent Jesus Christ in the middle of a crisis. Believers are under scriptural and moral obligation to provide a positive witness of the love of Jesus to everyone. As Christians, we are to demonstrate love to those affected by disasters through the efficient and immediate use of the resources, talents, and time entrusted to them.
Through the development of a cooperative team effort, needs can be efficiently and effectively met for the glory of God. Every Southern Baptist Convention in North America now has a disaster relief ministry. They vary in their abilities, number of units, number of trained volunteers, and resources.
Southern Baptists are usually involved in meeting immediate needs in an emergency relief response; sending chaplains, feeding units, and medical teams. During recovery, SBDR continues operating feeding units, shower and laundry units, clean-up crews, and emergency repairs. Depending on the nature of the disaster needs, SBDR teams may continue to serve as the response transitions to rebuilding.
SBDR is a founding member of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) and has national signed agreements with:
- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- The American Red Cross (ARC)
- The Salvation Army (TSA)
- National Voluntary Organizations Assisting in Disaster (VOAD)
- Mercy Medical Airlift
- Convoy of Hope
- The Army Military Auxiliary Radio (MARS) Unit
- North American Mission Board (NAMB)
- Baptist Global Response (BRG)