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DR Team Leaders, DOMs/AMS, Secretaries,

It has been a while since I updated you on what is going on in the DR world and so I want to share a few things with you.

  1. Praise God things have slowed down on the Disaster Response side of things.  There are some that are still assisting with COVID 19 response items but, by and large, we are slower at the moment.  Praise God for this.  Many needed a break because of the huge amount of work you and the other volunteers have been doing the last 5 years and especially this year. (more about this down below)
  2. Please lift up your local churches, associations and also TBMB as they navigate the pandemic and yet continue on with making Christ known to a lost and dying world.
  3. Please lift up the DR staff at NAMB (Send Relief).  At the beginning of this month, we were informed that they were cutting 4 of the 6 DR positions at NAMB due to the “expected downturn in the amount of money given to the Annie Armstrong Offering.”  This was a shock to the state directors.  People who were let go are, Eddie Blackmon, Cathy Miller, Beth Bootz and Duane Dannis.  With the loss of these, we lost a lot of experience in their specialty areas.  The two that remain are Sam Porter and Cindy Henderson.  Pray for those who were let go and those who remain.

Continue reading

Chattanooga Update and Need

DOMs, AMS, Team Leaders and Secretaries,

The work continues in after the storms in the Chattanooga area.  I am so grateful for all the work so many people and teams have done.  Between Bradley and Hamilton counties, teams have completed nearly 600 jobs. That is a tremendous amount of work.  Thanks to everyone making that happen. Continue reading

DR Volunteers Serving in Bradley, Hamilton Counties

From Baptist & Reflector

Tracie Frazier, right center, and her daughter, Faith, of Parkway Baptist Church, Cleveland, minister to homeowners Danny and Ann Adcock who lost their home during the recent tornado which struck southeast Tennessee.
– Photo by Phil Taylor

CHATTANOOGA — Baptist disaster relief volunteers are beginning to provide help to those affected by EF-3 tornado and severe storms that struck southeast Tennessee and particularly Hamilton, Bradley and Marion counties.

According to local news reports, at least three people were killed and several others were injured and hospitalized. Several hundred homes were severely damaged in the two counties, according to reports.

DR volunteers were out in both Bradley and Hamilton counties on April 14 as people were just beginning to be able to reach the hardest hit areas, which included the Brainerd and East Ridge communities of Chattanooga and moved toward Ooltewah and Cleveland.

Dennis Culbreth, director of missions for Hamilton County Baptist Association, said chain saw teams were going into communities during the afternoon of April 14. “We have not been able to get into the area because of severe damage. Roads were closed,” he reported. Continue reading

Tenn. Baptist DR Teams Fan Out

From Baptist & Reflector

Marlin Curnutt, left, of FBC Morristown, talks with Sharon Wildner, the director of God’s Warehouse Coronavirus Plan, as they organize boxes for delivery from God’s Warehouse in Morristown.

FRANKLIN — Wes Jones is accustomed to dealing with the unpredictable. It’s his job.

He’s been involved with flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, power outages and all in between.

But even Jones, the Disaster Relief specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, admits that the current confluence of instability, uneasiness and confusion — created by the COVID-19 pandemic — has been a major challenge.

“It’s different than anything we’ve dealt with before,” said Jones. “It’s very unusual on a lot of fronts.” Continue reading

Disaster Relief Update as of 3/17/2020

Tennessee Baptist DR Volunteers,

My heart is saddened to tell you that, due to the Coronavirus, we are canceling all training events from now until the end of April. Please pray that God would stem this tide soon.

Even though we are canceling these trainings, God has opened a door of possible ministry for not only DR volunteers, but also our local churches. Last week the DR State Directors were on a conference call in which representatives of the CDC ask if we (both DR and the churches at large) would consider assisting in meeting needs arising from the coronavirus event. What this might mean has yet to be defined however, some of the possible scenarios we talked about were: delivering food staples to those who were in self quarantine and did not have family or friends to help, possibly cooking either on large scale or within church kitchens and delivering food, assisting with getting food to children who are home and are no longer getting meals usually provided at school, and setting up a phone line for people to call in and talk with someone to get prayer or encouragement. Continue reading

Tennessee Tornado Update

My apologies for not having sent out more updates concerning the tornado.

Unbelievable is one word that comes to mind with this tornado – not only in the death and destruction it caused, but also in the response and speed in which the clean-up has taken place. Within 6 days of the storm, most of the initial cleanup-work was completed in the Benton, Davidson, and Wilson County areas. Within another day or two, the initial phase of the work in Putnam County was accomplished. This does not mean that the everything is back to the way it was before. What it means is that most of the fallen trees have been cut up and the debris has been taken to the street. Electrical services have been restored to most of the homes that remain in the area. Now, the picking up of the piles of debris can begin in earnest. Continue reading

Disaster Relief Responding in Wake of Tennessee Tornados

First Baptist Church, Mt. Juliet

By Baptist and Reflector Staff

Even as damage is being assessed, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief (TBDR) teams are responding in the wake of a devastating tornado that ripped through Nashville and traveled across Middle Tennessee as far as Cookeville today in the early morning hours, killing at least 19.

“We have local teams that have already gotten out and are trying to help people in Nashville and the surrounding area,” said Wes Jones, “Meanwhile we are working with emergency management services to better understand where we can deploy resources.”

Jones said that several people have contacted the TBDR offices asking how they can help. He said team callouts will be coming soon, but right now the best way to help in the effort is financially. Giving can be made directly to TBDR through tndisasterrelief/contributions. Any gifts given today will go directly to “Tennessee Storms.” Continue reading

Info on Bahamas

DR Leaders, DOM’s, AMS’ and Secretaries,

First, I want to wish everyone a very Merry and Blessed Christmas.

What a joy it is to serve the One whose birth we celebrate. The One who not only came to earth as a babe but also grew up and lived among the people; teaching, demonstrating God’s love and care for humanity and making known God’s desire to have a personal relationship with each person. He then followed the will of God and went to the cross where He gave up His life so that ours might be redeemed. What a blessing we have to serve the One who gave His life as a ransom for all. Merry Christmas. May the New Year bring you God’s continued blessing and provide you with many opportunities to share His love with others.

Tennessee Baptist DR volunteers have again showed up and responded to multiple events in Tennessee, the US and different locations outside of the US. I have recorded 18 responses we have been involved in this year and I know there are a number of small local events that our volunteers have done that may not be included. You have done a great job of sharing your faith as you have gone. The biggest day was in Huffman, TX, where in one day, God added 6 new children to His family. Praise God. Thank you for your faithful service.

Secondly, I want to bring you up to date on an opportunity to serve in the Bahamas.

In October, Hurricane Dorian sat over the northern islands of the Bahamas for over 2 days as a Category 5 hurricane doing massive damage. Working together with our international partners BGR, we have been asked to assist 2 churches on the west side of Grand Bahama Island to fix their facilities and then from there, look and see where we might assist the community at large. Because of Hurricane Imelda and the large wind storm that tore through Middle and West TN, I was not able to go and see the needs of the area until last week.

For these projects, we are trying to partner with TX Baptist Men, Arkansas and Oklahoma to accomplish the work. I am attaching a letter that I wrote to the state directors in these states about what I found on my visit and some recommendations for going forward.

Because of the need to ship over materials on a container vessel, it will take some time to purchase and ship them to the country. My thoughts are that we will start looking as having teams go over in late February or March. These projects may be done by DR Teams and Church Teams. It is not just limited to DR trained volunteers.

I am still waiting on some information from the local pastor as to on-field expenses. Teams will be limited in size to a maximum of 10 people. Conditions will be camping out in a church with outdoor showers until the one shower inside is fixed.

The number 1 priority for teams is Experienced Roofing teams. The first church (St. Peters) to be worked on will need to be stripped, felted and shingled. The roof is about a 12, 12 pitch. I estimated the roof size to be about 60+ squares. This building will also be where teams will be housed. Once this is completed, the second priority will be to begin work on the Zion Restoration BC. The number 1 priority for this project will be Experienced Framing and Roofing teams. This is because you will need to fabricate onsite 4 roof trusses to match the rest of the existing trusses and replace about 35 sheets of roof decking and then strip and redo the roof.

If you have teams that might be interested in going on this project. Please contact me and we will start to plan.

I do not have funds currently to assist with those going over. I am sorry. Each person, or team will be responsible for paying their own way.

Thirdly, some of you have made plans to go to the round table up in Kentucky in January. Attached is the revised schedule. If you are going and can stay around for the Fiberlock, Shockwave class on Wednesday morning, it would be great for teams that do Flood Recovery. I am hoping they bring in the same man that spoke to us last year. It was a great time of instruction.

Once again, have a blessed Christmas.

In Christ Serving Together,
Wes Jones

Clean-Up Continues in Tennessee

Disaster relief teams from Tennessee, as well as Alabama, Kentucky and Missouri, are continuing to clean up trees and debris following straight-line winds that caused extensive damage across the state in late October.

Teams are still at work in Clarksville, Waverly, Decatur and Adamsville, according to Wes Jones, disaster relief specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board. He estimated more than 225 jobs have been completed but many more are still to be done. For more information, and to find out if teams are still needed, contact Jones at 615-371-7927.