‘A Lot Of Humanity Is Suffering’ — DR Volunteer

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Kay Thompson of Hermitage Hills Baptist Church, Hermitage, in metropolitan Nashville, prepares to do some laundry in the shower/laundry unit of the church in Gonzalez, La. Thompson is part of the Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief effort to help flood victims in Louisiana.

Kay Thompson of Hermitage Hills Baptist Church, Hermitage, in metropolitan Nashville, prepares to do some laundry in the shower/laundry unit of the church in Gonzalez, La. Thompson is part of the Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief effort to help flood victims in Louisiana.

MOUNT JULIET — “A lot of humanity is suffering because so many people are without their homes,” said Don Kohanski, disaster relief director of Hermitage Hills Baptist Church, Hermitage, who has served recently in Gonzalez, La., leading a shower/laundry operation.

“What we are doing is being backup for the teams who are really doing the work and helping the public. … We’re trying to help the people, giving them some kind of relief.”

The shower/laundry unit and its volunteers are set up at First Baptist Church, Gonzalez. The unit began serving Aug. 19.

Kohanski described seeing neighborhoods of houses in Gonzalez with almost everything that was in the house pulled out and placed on the street including insulation and drywall. He could see water lines on houses showing how high the water had been. Though most of the flood waters are down, he heard of residents who still had water, up to four feet, in their houses. Gonzalez is located about 25 miles southeast of Baton Rouge. Continue reading

Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief Receives Call Out For Louisiana

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

The home of Lonnie Tucker, pastor of Still Waters Baptist Church in Hammond, LA. Photo: Lonnie Tucker

Home of the pastor of Still Waters Baptist Church in Hammond, LA. Photo: Lonnie Tucker

MOUNT JULIET — Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief shower trailers and flood recovery teams were mobilized by the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention to respond to recent flooding in Louisiana Aug. 17.

Wes Jones, director of Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief, said a shower trailer and volunteers from Hermitage Hills Baptist Church, Hermitage, left Aug. 18 and one from Holston Baptist Association, based in Johnson City, will leave Aug. 22. Continue reading

Louisiana Update: Urgent Request

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Photo: Baptist Press

Just a short update on what is going on with things in Louisiana.  They are still in the process of beginning to assess the need for teams and finding locations to set up.  According to reports today, some 10,000 people are displaced from their homes in shelters, 40,000+ homes have been affected, 11 dead and over 20,000 have been evacuated or rescued in some form. Continue reading

Tennessee Baptists Prepare To Help In Louisiana

Photo: NOAA.gov

Photo: NOAA.gov

Slow-moving storms are causing record flooding and significant damage as they move across South Louisiana. Thousands of residents have evacuated, at least three people have died and there is significant property damage and loss to more than 50,000 homes. At least three interstates are closed by the flooding of the Amite River and much of Louisiana State University’s campus is covered by water.

The rising water is the result of more than 27 inches of rainfall over a 36-hour period near the city of Baker, just northeast of Baton Rouge. Continue reading

FORMER TBC STAFFER MIKE OVERCASH DIES

By Lonnie Wilkey, Editor
Baptist and Reflector

Mike Overcash

Mike Overcash

BRENTWOOD – Retired Tennessee Baptist Convention staff member and long-time disaster relief volunteer Mike Overcash died June 8 following an apparent heart attack.

Overcash, 80, a former employee of LifeWay Christian Resources who served several Tennessee Baptist churches as minister of music, was on the staff of the TBC from 1995-2001 as computer services specialist and as interim director of Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief in 2015. Continue reading

DR Teams Called Out

BRENTWOOD — Ten­ne­ssee  Bap­tist  Disaster  Re­­­lief volunteers have been asked to respond in the wake of deadly storms and flooding that occurred across the nation during the Christmas holidays.

As of Jan. 4, 11 states had Southern Baptist Disaster Relief vol­unteers serving at min­­is­try sites in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Louisian­a, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas.

“The lives of so many families and communities are forever changed,” observed Mickey Caison, interim executive director of SBDR.

Wes   Jones, disaster relief specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Con­vention, reported that a Tennessee team led by Gary Cate of Knox County Baptist Association served last week at First Baptist Church in Yukon, Okla., helping cut up downed trees.

Jones said Missouri Baptists have asked for mud out teams to assist residents affected by flooding in the state.

He noted three teams were scheduled to leave over the weekend to travel to Elmore, Mo. In addition, five groups of assessors are traveling to Missouri to assist, Jones added.

For more information about volunteer opportunities, call 615-371-7927.

DR Concludes in SC, Travels to TX

MOUNT JULIET — Just after concluding five weeks of work helping flood victims in South Carolina following Hurricane Joaquin, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers traveled to south Texas to help flood victims there.

One great result was that the first day they served, Tennessee Baptists saw two people make professions of faith, reported Wes Jones, disaster relief specialist, Tennessee Baptist Convention.

The team of eight are serving in Weslaco, Texas, near the border with Mexico doing mud out just like most Tennessee Baptist DR volunteers did in South Carolina, said Jones.

The team is led by Bill Sartain of Nolachucky Baptist Association, based in Morristown. They will serve about a week. The team left Nov. 14.

Jones said he doesn’t know at this time if any other Tennessee DR teams will respond to the needs in Texas.

For more information on Tennessee Baptist DR, contact Jones at 615-371-7927 or wjones@tnbaptist.org.

First Flood Recovery Team Deployed for SC

Please pray for our teams as they serve in South Carolina. Carolyn Watson will leading our first flood recovery team from the Cumberland Baptist Association. They will be leaving Sunday for SC. Their team will be serving with the North Carolina Baptist Disaster Relief.  (In order to serve, you must be currently credentialed with the Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief.)

In the meantime, prepare yourselves in case we are called upon.  Check over your equipment and supplies. Most of all, prepare yourselves spiritually to be called upon and pray for our brothers and sisters in South Carolina that God will use this disaster to bring honor to Him and many will be drawn to Him.

If you would like to contribute financially, make a contribution online, or make your check payable to: Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief. Mail it to: P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024-0728. Mark on the check for SC Hurricane Relief.

Ten Years After Hurricane Katrina

NAMB: Ten Years After Hurricane Katrina

On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina slammed into Southeast Louisiana and the Mississippi coast. The deadly storm became the most expensive natural disaster in United States history. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers were among the first to respond to the need. This video looks back at how they served and how the lessons learned still shape Southern Baptist relief efforts today.

 

 

DR Volunteers Serve Tornado Victims

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Roscoe England of Sevier Heights Baptist Church, Knoxville, cuts a damaged tree in the Sweetwater/Tellico Plains area.

from the Baptist & Reflector:

SWEETWATER — As Kenny Witt, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteer of Madisonville, drove down a rural road near Sweetwater by homes and property, he saw more trees damaged by the tornado and storms which struck Monroe County July 14. He stopped at a house which had downed trees but didn’t find anyone home. Witt went further down the road to the next house and found the owner of the previous house was there staying with her mother-in-law because she was expecting a baby soon.

The lady quickly accepted the help Witt offered, signing the required forms.

The next day Lou Mulsand of Knoxville and a team of DR volunteers from Sevier Heights Baptist Church, Knoxville, arrived at the lady’s house. Mulsand and Tom Freels of Sevier Heights went to introduce themselves and learned more of her story.

She was scheduled to have a baby the next day but couldn’t ride in her car to the hospital because a tree — “a four footer,” according to Mulsand, — blocked the driveway.

Freels told Mulsand and Witt that they had to get that driveway opened up that day so she could get to the hospital tomorrow.

A team of about eight volunteers did just that, the men reported.

The volunteers working two days later learned that the lady had delivered a son and both were well.

“The timing just worked out perfectly on that,” said Witt.

Mulsand noted, “It’s not a coincidence that we go to certain homes.”

About 26 Baptist DR workers have served beginning July 16 in the Sweetwater and Tellico Plains area where they found and completed about 50 jobs. The work is still continuing.

The storm did damage in an area about 20 miles long, stretching from the west side of Tellico Plains to the east side of Sweetwater.

Mulsand, director of disaster relief for Knox County Baptist Association, whose crews worked in the area seven days as of Aug. 5 and planned to return with a team on Aug. 8, said they also saw a man rededicate his life to Christ and a lot of older ladies helped. Many of the ladies would say upon meeting the DR workers that God had answered their prayers, he added.

Witt said besides helping the expectant lady another incident stood out to him. He was visiting with a homeowner they were helping. The man looked at all the damage on his property and said, “Kenny, you think you’ve seen the power of God when you look at all of this, but you really see the power of God when you see neighbors helping neighbors.”

Finally, Witt said they helped a family whose home was basically destroyed by trees falling on it so they had moved in with their son. In the area three or four homes were destroyed by the storm. The DR workers removed a tree to allow them to access items from their house.

Two groups of DR volunteers stayed and worked for five days — from Woodland Baptist Church, Brownsville, and Holston Baptist Association, based in Johnson City. They were housed by Fairview Baptist Church, Sweetwater. Tony Rutherford, director of missions, Sweetwater Baptist Association, helped make these arrangements as well as delivering lunch and water provided by the association and individuals to volunteers.

DR workers also served from Sweetwater Association; Hamilton County Baptist Association, based in Chattanooga; Knox County Association; and Nolachucky Baptist Association, based in Morristown.

Mulsand said he was amazed at the work ethic of the volunteers who worked all day, only stopping to move to another job, and despite heat and humidity that “was just brutal.”

God also provided people who were very skilled on the equipment, said Mulsand. For instance, Arlin Phillips of First Baptist Church, Tellico Plains, was very good because he was in the logging business nearly all of his life.

No federal government aid is available to residents because the tornado was not ruled to be bad enough, reported Rutherford.

All of the damage on private property is up to the homeowners to repair and the work is very expensive, said Rutherford.

“We’re just really grateful and our community is just really grateful for all the work that has been done. The people here needed help,” he stated.