As the updates and images continue to emerge from the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey, many Baptists in Tennessee are looking for ways to help aid the relief effort.
Wes Jones, disaster relief specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, wrote a letter to Tennessee Baptist Churches that outlines ways in which churches can get involved. The letter, which can be viewed below, was sent to pastors and church secretaries across the state.
Dear Tennessee Baptist Churches,
As you know, Hurricane Harvey has devastated large parts of East Texas and may yet move into Louisiana. The number of people and homes affected are on a Katrina scale if not larger.
The greatest hindrance to getting in to help is that the rain is still falling, but be assured Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief stands ready to share Christ as volunteers assist in the response effort.
Today we had a Directors Conference Call and the leadership in Texas is working directly with their State Emergency Operations Center. Some organizations have tried to already go in and are now “stuck” because of the rising waters.
Churches are beginning to ask, “How can we help?” I would like to share with you and encourage you and your congregations in ways they might help.
- Pray for those affected by these devastating rains and winds. Pray that God will comfort and guide then as they walk through this very difficult time. Pray that God will use this event to lead many people to faith in Christ. Pray the God will encourage believers and churches as they seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus to their neighbors. Pray for the local, state and national leaders overseeing these operations. Pray for the safety of the many volunteers who will respond and that God will provide opportunities of ministry for them as they serve.
- Give to assist those in need. This should be above and beyond what a person or church normally gives, so as not to harm the local congregation. You can give online at http://tndisasterrelief.org/contributions/ or send it directly to TBMB and designate on the check where you’d like the contribution applied (Ex: Harvey Relief). Sometimes we would rather send something tangible rather than money. However, when cash donations allow us to purchase materials and things where the disaster occurred, which in turn stimulates the local economy that has just suffered. It also does not have to be warehoused or shipped, which often costs almost as much as the gift.
- Give specific items. For those desiring to give something tangible, what you give should be based on the needs of a particular disaster. One of the best things is gift cards to Home Depot, Lowes and Walmart. Please refer to the EMERGENCY DONATIONS document, which contains a list of items we will be collecting at the Missions Mobilization Center (MMC) for shipping to the affected sites. Please contact us here at the MMC (615-371-7926) if you have any questions. At the end of the event any leftover items will be given to other charitable organizations, or saved until a similar event happens. Items can also be dropped off at the following locations:
Mission Mobilization Center
6434 John Hager Rd.
Mount Juliet, TN 37122
Contact Elizabeth Holmes at 615-371-7926 or Wes Jones at 615-371-7927 to set up a drop off time. Normal building hours 7AM-4PM.
1040 Evergreen St.
Dresden, TN Just off of HWY 22
Contact Tommy Wilson at 731-415-6934 or Weakley County Baptist Assn. at 731-364-3739 to set up a delivery time.
3441 W Andrew Johnson Hwy
Contact Tom or Cindy Jenkins at 423-373-0200 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a delivery time.
- Train to GO. Often in a disaster, people want to go and help. The best way people can go and help is to be trained and ready when the time comes. I encourage churches, associations or groups of associations to work together with us to train people and get them assigned to teams. This will be a continuing event for some time. The quicker we can set up trainings to prepare the volunteers to go, the sooner they can go. Contact us at the MMC (615-371-7926) and we will work with you to set up training. Please watch the website for the latest trainings tndisasterrelief.org
I am continually grateful for the way Tennessee Baptists and Tennessee Baptist Churches always “stepped up” to respond and help those in need after a disaster. May God continue to bless you and your congregation as you reach out with the hope of Christ, and may He also bless the volunteers who will continue to respond to those in need.
— Wes Jones
Disaster relief specialist for the
Tennessee Baptist Mission Board
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.