Headlines from First Thoughts

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Diary of a Response to Gustav

Three years ago, the victims of Hurricane Katrina washed ashore to the mountains of East Tennessee. This past week, the Gulf of Mexico has displaced more victims. We have hosted evacuees from New Orleans, LA and Hattiesburg, MS who came as a result of Hurricane Gustav. They flew into McGhee-Tyson airport and arrived during the Boomsday festivities aboard three KAT buses with one bag or two to fit their most valuable possessions. With the exception of two babies and their mothers, most of our guests are men. Most have been able to care for themselves and enjoyed the hospitality. A few were taken to local hospitals for special needs related to drugs, disabilities, and specialized care. All have appreciated your Good Samaritan approach to the facilities.

The Disaster Response Team has met needs internally and externally. Chaired by Andy and Wanda Edmondson, this group executed their plan to perfection. Carol McEntyre, our Buckner Community Minister, has led our staff efforts. Sandy Wisener has handled the Red Cross shelter. Ethel Powell has coordinated the relief supplies drop site on Hill Street. We truly could not do this without each one of these leaders and their capable team members. In addition to the Red Cross, well over 100 First Baptist people have been in the building to help in whatever way possible. They have worked around the clock since Thursday morning to make preparations and provide a safe, comfortable refuge and a way for people to share with those in need. Many of these volunteers were already committed to working at the BCM this week in a mission project to renovate our local campus ministry. They have rearranged plans and found an extra boost of energy to be able to do both.

What’s next? We will be sending a truckload of supplies collected here and at Cedar Springs Presbyterian to the University Baptist Church, Baton Rouge, LA.
They will distribute to those recovering from the storm. The cash donations will also help us assist the victims here and along the Gulf Coast. We will continue to monitor needs in the Southeast and direct our supplies and efforts to the places where we can be assured that supplies will be used directly for the victims of storms. We know that many other churches in our area will be deploying recovery teams to the affected areas. We will be praying for them as they go and the victims to whom they minister. We will continue to host evacuees as long as we are needed. Continue to check the website for updates from the Red Cross.

Like the Innkeeper whom the Good Samaritan charged with taking care of his victim in the road, you too have taken care of those entrusted to you. Through your prayers, support, flexibility, and time, you have answered the prayers of the broken hearted. You have bandaged the wounded and cared for the traumatized in their time of need.

No comments:

Google Search