NEW YORK CITY (BP) -- No more sleeping in tents or working long hours during a cold New York City winter. For college
Photo by John Swain
students who've spent part of their Christmas break ministering to Hurricane Sandy survivors, it's back to their routines of school, work, church and friends.
Many also will return with memories and experiences that'll last a lifetime.
"There's nothing that replaces the look on a homeowner's face when you get to talk with them and you get to share the Gospel with them, when you get to look them in the eyes
Photo by John Swain
and pray with them and tell them there's hope in the middle of this destruction," said Jordan Niemeyer, a student at Anderson University in Anderson, Ind.
The last team of students serving in disaster relief roles in the Northeast head back to school during the week of Jan. 21. More than 500 Southern Baptist students from 22 states have participated in the DR initiative.
As the students head back to school, Southern Baptists will continue transitioning to a long-term strategy of ministry to Hurricane Sandy survivors. Fritz Wilson, the North American Mission Board's executive director of disaster relief, said SBDR ministry in the region will continue for as long as a year.
Long-range SBDR plans in the Sandy-affected areas will focus on places where the Baptist Convention of New York and Send North America: New York City teams will be starting new churches. Wilson hopes the relationships and goodwill garnered by SBDR efforts will help church plants as they reach out to their communities.
"We can't be everywhere, so we want to be in those communities where we'll be starting new churches so we can enhance what they're doing," Wilson said.
In this long-term work, Wilson said Southern Baptists will continue to do some flood recovery -- such as mud-out work -- but they will do more pressure washing and spraying. Many homeowners have cleaned out their homes but they need help to get rid of the mold. Wilson said SBDR will also be helping in some rebuilding efforts. Read More