When disaster strikes, victims very quickly discover that the yellow shirts of Baptist Disaster Relief crews symbolize real help and true comfort.
But many Arkansas Baptists have no idea what it means to be a part of Disaster Relief.
GREG HUTCHISON FIRST LEARNED ABOUT ARKANSAS BAPTIST DISASTER RELIEF during a Dixie Jackson presentation at his church. Greg had been in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, when the Federal Building bombing occurred, and he hungered for an opportunity to help minister in the middle of that tragedy. But he didn’t have an avenue to do so at the time.
He quickly learned that Disaster Relief would provide that avenue for future disasters and crises, so he signed up for training and became certified. He never imagined that his first call would be to travel to New York City in September of 2001 after an even larger terrorist attack.
Disaster Relief crews keep themselves prepared to respond to a disaster at a moment’s notice. Crews are well-trained and fully equipped to work in restricted areas. They meet a wide range of needs, including spiritual comfort, damage assessment, meal provision, space for laundry or showers, and a wide range of clean-up and repair tasks.
But Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief relies heavily on three things.
PRAYER IS THE FIRST AND GREATEST NEED. Before Arkansas Baptists can pray, they have to know about Disaster Relief! As awareness grows, so does prayer support.
Prayer then moves the hearts of Arkansas Baptists to give. The funding provided through the Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering is critical for keeping supplies stocked and tools and trailers in excellent condition. This enables Disaster Relief crews to mobilize quickly without having to take the time to complete inventories or work through maintenance.
But there would be no crews without volunteers to man them. As churches become actively involved in sharing information about Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions opportunities such as Disaster Relief, Arkansas Baptists like Greg Hutchison can become aware and recognize that opportunities for ministry abound! When Arkansas Baptists step up and take action, lives are profoundly changed.
TRAGIC DISASTERS, whether caused by man or by nature, provide stark reminders that life is fleeting, and night is coming. Stories like Greg’s remind us that God has already given us the tools we need to spread the love and truth of Christ to this hurting world while it is still light.