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Stories tagged with: disaster relief

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  • Earthquake sends Alaska Baptists into ministry mode

    by Erin Roach, posted Monday, December 17, 2018 (2 days ago)

    Photo courtesy of the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities
    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (BP) -- Scott Belmore was outside his house, loading some old furniture into his truck with his son and a friend when Alaska experienced one of its most powerful earthquakes in half a century. The men clung to the truck as it bounced on the driveway amid the shaking.

    Inside the house, Dana Belmore was shaken to the floor in her bedroom and feared for the safety of their young daughter who had been reading on the bottom bunk in her room. The two of them, terrified, were able to reunite and flee the house after the shaking, still not believing what had just happened. Read More

  • Baptist DR efforts endure crisis after crisis

    by Brandon Elrod, posted Wednesday, December 05, 2018 (13 days ago)

    Photo by Sara Brockman/NAMB
    ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- In recent months, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) has diligently responded to both national and local crises across North America: two major hurricanes in the Southeast, wildfires in California, tornadoes across the United States and even a typhoon in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

    "Over the last few months, Southern Baptist volunteers have been responding practically nonstop," said Sam Porter, national director for disaster relief with the North American Mission Board (NAMB). "We have seen teams serve as far West as the island of Saipan in the Pacific Ocean to the East coast of the southeastern United States."

    The northern California towns of Paradise and Magalia were nearly wiped out by the Camp Fire that began Nov. 8 and lasted until Nov. 25. The fire destroyed nearly 14,000 homes and took at least 85 lives. Read More

  • DR efforts continue in Carolinas, across U.S.

    by Laura Sikes, posted Tuesday, November 27, 2018 (21 days ago)

    Photo by Laura Sikes/NAMB
    LONGS, S.C. (BP) -- Pastor Lebron Crisp of Living Water Baptist Church challenged his congregation to look for opportunities to reach hurting people after Hurricane Florence struck the church's community just a few miles northwest of North Myrtle Beach. The storm's flood waters damaged hundreds of homes including several homes of church members.

    "It just breaks our hearts. I want to be out here [helping] every waking second," said Crisp, founding pastor and pastor of the church in Longs, S. C., for 29 years.

    Crisp, church members and Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) volunteers reached out to deacon Russ Frye and his wife Gerry, who lost most everything in their home of 19 years in the Aberdeen community. Read More

  • California's Camp Fire: 'It never turned daylight'

    by Brandon Elrod, posted Friday, November 16, 2018 (one month ago)

    Screen capture from CNN
    PARADISE, Calif. (BP) -- Members of Paradise Ridge Southern Baptist Church have asked pastor Bob Sorensen if they will continue to have a church but not because their building is gone. They ask because the Camp Fire destroyed much of their community.

    "We've had disasters before, and we thought we would be able to just go back," Sorensen said. "But you can't go back."

    While the church still stands -- "an amazing thing," he said -- Sorensen's home was destroyed by the fire.

    "I still have people from the church who are missing that I can't find," he said. "I spend hours a day trying to find them." Read More

  • Appreciating Disaster Relief

    by Brandon Elrod, posted Friday, November 09, 2018 (one month ago)

    NAMB photo by Sara Brockmann.
    ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Michael, numerous reports described the devastation in the Florida Panhandle, Georgia and Alabama in terms of warfare -- bombs going off and missiles launching into buildings. After traveling to the affected areas and writing an article of my own, these analogies certainly did fit.

    Another way I've tried to explain it is that visiting the sites was like being on the set of a disaster movie. The damage was so surreal to see that it seemed unreal -- as if some director in a chair somewhere could have yelled, "cut," and everything would go back to normal. Read More

  • This Sunday: Disaster Relief Appreciation Day

    by Brandon Elrod, posted Wednesday, November 07, 2018 (one month ago)

    Photo by by Sara Brockmann/NAMB
    ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- For more than 50 years, Southern Baptists have been providing disaster relief to the United States and its territories after the gravest of tragedies. Whether it is major natural disasters that affect millions or localized events that hit small communities, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) volunteers regularly arrive to bring help, healing and hope to those impacted.

    On Sunday, November 11, Southern Baptists will celebrate Disaster Relief Appreciation Day, an opportunity to recognize and thank SBDR leaders and volunteers.

    "I want to give a special 'thank you' to all of those who make Southern Baptist Disaster Relief possible," said Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board (NAMB). "To all of our volunteers who give their time so generously and sacrificially, you are amazing people, and we cannot thank you enough." Read More

  • Typhoon Yutu work begins, other DR efforts continue

    by Brandon Elrod, posted Thursday, November 01, 2018 (one month ago)

    Photo from Facebook
    SUSUPE, Saipan (BP) -- Typhoon Yutu overwhelmed a U.S. territory last week, the Commonwealth of Northern Marianna Islands (CNMI), which is part of the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention (HPBC). Meanwhile, Southern Baptists have been in the midst of organizing a response.

    On Oct. 24, Yutu reportedly swallowed the 67 square-mile island of Saipan, endangering the roughly 52,000 inhabitants. Saipan is the northernmost island of CNMI, roughly 3,860 miles west of Hawaii.

    As of Tuesday (Oct. 30), officials were still working to clear roads and repair the airport, said Darrell McCain, disaster relief director for HPBC. Only military and humanitarian relief were allowed to fly into the island. Read More

  • Church partnerships emerging after Hurricane Michael

    by Nicole Kalil/Florida Baptist Convention, posted Tuesday, October 30, 2018 (one month ago)

    Florida Baptist Convention photo
    PORT ST. JOE, Fla. (BP) -- While Hurricane Michael brought the devastation that so often comes with a storm of its magnitude, Florida Baptists are discovering some unexpected blessings through their Churches Helping Churches initiative.

    "Our church-to-church effort is designed to identify a non-storm affected church that is willing to partner with a storm-impacted church to serve as the point of contact for coordinating recovery responses and efforts for that specific church," said Lewis Miller, the Florida Baptist Convention's west Florida regional catalyst. Churches from other states also have indicated a readiness to help.

    Many Florida Baptist churches were on high alert before Hurricane Michael even made landfall. First Baptist Church in Orange Park was among them, where lead pastor David Tarkington said he and others prayed over the church's response as the storm approached, knowing that they would probably "give and go." Read More

  • Pence visits Florida, encourages survivors & DR teams

    by Brandon Elrod, posted Friday, October 26, 2018 (one month ago)

    Photo by Sara Brockmann/NAMB
    PANAMA CITY, Fla. (BP) -- Vice President Mike Pence, his wife Karen and Florida Gov. Rick Scott visited Hiland Park Baptist Church in Panama City, Fla., Thursday (Oct. 25) to encourage survivors of Hurricane Michael, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and other volunteers who have been serving the community in the storm's aftermath.

    "It's deeply moving to us to see the level of devastation but also to see the resilience of everyone here and also to see the generosity -- the generosity of the Southern Baptist Convention, Hiland Baptist Church, the [American] Red Cross," Pence said before asking the crowd to thank the volunteers with a round of applause. Read More

  • Hurricane Michael: Baptists putting pieces together

    by Brandon Elrod, posted Monday, October 15, 2018 (2 months ago)

    NAMB photo by Sara Brockmann.
    PANAMA CITY, Fla.(BP) -- Freight trains overturned on the railroad tracks in Panama City, Fla. Power lines downed for miles around the Southeast. Hundreds of thousands of trees decapitated by the buzz saw named Hurricane Michael.

    Despite the carnage, many churches in Panama City and beyond held Sunday (Oct. 14) morning services just four days after Michael made landfall. Mike Claunch, pastor of St. Andrew Baptist Church, reminded his congregation, "Michael came as a surprise to us, but it wasn't a surprise to God." Read More