DR: A Storied History and Bright Future

From Baptist & Reflector

By Randy C. Davis
TBMB President & Executive Director

An EF5 tornado dropped from the skies five years ago and roared across Oklahoma’s open spaces at 200 mph. It locked on Moore, Okla., then slammed into the modest Oklahoma City suburb filled with middle-class, salt-of-the-earth people. It bulldozed an elementary school. It was over a mile wide and ripped a 17-mile path through the heart of that city. The devastation was comprehensive: 24 people killed, more than 200 injured, and more than $2 billion in damage.

And within hours, Oklahoma and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams swooped in to serve people. Among them were nearly 40 chaplains caring for the emotional and spiritual hurts of people. But the great thing about Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers is that every person goes as a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ, even if they are running a chain saw. Continue reading

East Tenn. DR Team Goes Above and Beyond

From Baptist & Reflector

The members of a DR team from East Tennessee salute the flag at the home of Army veteran Myron Havrilchak. (Contributed photo)

SOUTHBURY, Conn. — Myron Havrilchak, a resident of Southbury, Conn., was among the thousands of homeowners who saw their houses and property substantially damaged by the tornadoes that recently swept through the area.

And yet, when the members of the Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief team arrived at the Havrilchak residence on May 26, they quickly realized Havrilchak had something on his mind that meant more to him than brick and mortar.

Havrilchak is a veteran of the US Army, and he proudly flies a flag in his backyard. But the storms had destroyed his flagpole, and the 86-year-old Havrilchak, having the heart of a solider, was focused on rectifying the problem.

“When we got to his house, he was more concerned about not being able to properly celebrate Memorial Day (which was two days away) than he was about the trees in his yard,” said Larry Sharp, a member of the DR team from East Tennessee that was deployed in Connecticut. “So, we went to a hardware store, we purchased a piece of pipe, took it back to his house and drove it in the ground.” Continue reading

Update on Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria Along With Las Vegas Shooting

Team Leaders, Secretaries and DOMs,

Thank you for your continued support to those who are hurting.

Las Vegas – As of Monday’s conference call Nevada SBDR was in communication with the State Emergency Manager and offering assistance with Chaplains to help minister to those affected by the shooting. Please be in prayer for all those affected by the tragedy. Continue reading

Jones: How You Can Help

Baptist and Reflector

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. Continue reading

Hurricane Harvey Response (video)

Hurricane Harvey is shaping up to potentially be the greatest natural disaster in our history. Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief teams are staged and ready, but they need your financial support to sustain what will be a prolonged effort. TBMB Executive Director Randy C. Davis offers a timely perspective on what Tennessee Baptists are doing and will do, and how you can help.

Tennessee DR Teams on Alert for Hurricane

Baptist and Reflector

Photo: Texas National Guard

MOUNT JULIET — Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief is monitoring Hurricane Harvey closely.

As of Monday, Aug. 28, the Tennessee Baptist DR feeding unit was still on alert status while response/recovery units are on standby, said Wes Jones, disaster relief specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.

Alert status means there’s a good likelihood the feeding unit will be called out quickly while it’s more of a “wait and see” scenario for the response/recovery units, Jones said. Continue reading

Update on Hurricane Harvey

Image: NOAA

Update on Hurricane Harvey and what we are being asked to do at this point. I shared this information with all team leaders, secretaries and Directors of Missions earlier this afternoon. Please be in prayer for those in the storm’s path and those preparing to respond. Please let your team leader know if you are available for possible deployment.

I know that many of you have been monitoring Hurricane Harvey which is expected to make landfall later today in Texas and then possibly sit there for a while before going back into the Gulf and then hitting Louisiana. Pray for those in the path of the storm and that its impact will not be as bad as they think.

We have been asked to place many of our units on alert and standby. The following is part of an email that I received from the North American Mission Board… Continue reading

Dr ‘Tree Climber’ James Brown Recognized

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

James Brown

KNOXVILLE — He’s known as the “Tennessee Squirrel” or the tree climber among Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers. Children seeing him swinging around in a tree with ropes have called him Spiderman.

He is James Brown, a Tennessee Baptist disaster relief volunteer. Brown not only climbs and swings from ropes in trees, he manhandles a chain saw. The trees have been damaged by storms or fires and need repair or removal. Many times the trees are reached by volunteers working from bucket trucks, but sometimes the trucks can’t be used. Continue reading

Jones Surveys Damage

Wes Jones, disaster relief specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, recently surveyed the storm damage at the home of Will and Kristi Johnson in Brentwood. Though a massive response was not needed, a team from Cumberland Baptist Association, based in Clarksville, traveled to Brentwood to cut the downed trees and clear debris from the home.  Jones said Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief units are gearing up in order to respond if needed as storms move across the state this spring. Jones encourages Tennessee Baptists to let the TBDR office know of areas where volunteers can be used. Call Jones at 615-371-7927 or Elizabeth Holmes at 615-371-7926.

— Photo by Royce DeGrie

Tennessee Baptist Assistance Continues

From Baptist and Reflector

TBC President Steve Freeman surveys the damage to property immediately behind Roaring Fork Baptist Church. Several homes near the church were destroyed, four of which belonged to church members. Freeman has called on Tennessee Baptists to give $20 for tragedy to help in the disaster relief effort. Contributions can be made at TNDisasterRelief.org/contributions.

TBC President Steve Freeman surveys the damage to property immediately behind Roaring Fork Baptist Church. Several homes near the church were destroyed, four of which belonged to church members. Freeman has called on Tennessee Baptists to give $20 for tragedy to help in the disaster relief effort. Contributions can be made at TNDisasterRelief.org/contributions. -Photo by Chris Turner

GATLINBURG — Tennessee Baptist Mission Board (TBMB) leaders are grateful for the quick response, both financially and with physical assistance, following the wildfires which struck the Smoky Mountains in late November.

What’s more, help will continue in the months to come, leaders agreed.

“I am thankful for the quick response of our disaster relief volunteers at the very start of this tragedy in Sevier County to meet the immediate needs of first responders and evacuees,” said Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the TBMB. Continue reading