BMA Coordinated Relief Effort
Compiled by the Trumpet Editor
Two devastating hurricanes have hit the U.S. in recent weeks, causing widespread damage, and another is threatening the east coast:
- Hurricane Harvey came onshore at Corpus Christi, Texas Aug. 25 and saturated the Southern Coastal region, especially Texas and Louisiana, for several days.
- Last weekend, massive Hurricane Irma came across the Keys of South Florida as a Category 5 storm, traveled up the western edge of the state and then cut a path across several southern states, including portions of Arkansas, as a tropical depression. Reports of the damage caused by Irma are sketchy at this writing. I contacted John Paul Holt, editor of The Baptist Custom (the BMA of Florida newspaper), but have not heard back from him.
- Some predictions say, Hurricane Jose, now in the Atlantic, could also hit the eastern coast. “Regardless of Jose’s exact track, there will be beach concerns up and down the East Coast as the storm churns offshore,” according to a foxnews.com report.
Note: A Facebook post from Missionary Fil Kakilala (Philippines) on Sept. 11 also reported some flooding there from Tropical Depression Maring. “Unfortunately, I lost some of my teaching material for my English class, and a vacuum cleaner will be out of commission,” said Bro. Kakilala. “Hopefully, the storm will pass soon.”
BMA Global Missions
Shortly after Hurricane Harvey, BMA Global Missions set up a fund to help those victims. When I contacted Paige West after the Florida storm, she said: “This fund will, of course, extend to Florida as well. Most people don’t designate their offering, and just want it to go where it is needed. But if there are people who specifically want donations to go to Houston or Florida, they can specify (on the memo line of the check) ‘Disaster Relief Houston’ or ‘Disaster Relief Florida.’
More than supplies and food, funds are needed. These funds will be used in the immediate to feed and help those who are affected and to assist those who are serving them. Long term, these funds will be administered in the rebuilding effort. To contribute, send your donation to BMAA Missions, P.O. Box 878, Conway, Ark. 72033.
Baptist Medical Missions Team
Baptist Medical Missions International Team held their first clinic in Texas Sept. 8, and are planning to go back Sept. 16. Future clinics will depend on the number of medical professionals they have, but they will also have places for non-medical people to serve.
“We welcome anyone who has a desire to be part of offering a helping hand to hurricane victims,” said BMMI Director Dr. Ralph Izard. “We need medical personnel and others that would like to be part of this outreach to those displaced by the flooding and need medical care or have other needs.”
Ways to help include volunteering to work in the clinic; donations of funds or donations of medicine (which must be in the original container from the drug company with their seal in place, and must be in date).
For more information, contact Angela Rice at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Baptist Progress, BMA of Texas newspaper; Jerry Fulton, editor) — The BMA of America and the BMA of Texas are partnering with Just the Crumbs, a Christ-centered non-profit, to help in relief efforts. The first recovery team will be going to Mont Bellvue, near Dayton, as conditions allow. The clean-up team will assist those whose homes have been damaged and feed up to 3,500 people daily.
The BMA of Texas office is happy to help connect anyone with Gulf Coast BMA churches in need with projects in the region. Call (972) 923-0757.
Bethel Baptist Church at Port Arthur, Texas was damaged by the flood. “The church is really needing some roofers and other workers,” said Ginger Blacksmith, daughter of Pastor Jim Lea. For more information, call (409) 736-2672; 6247 Garnet Ave., Port Arthur, Texas 77640. (If you know of other BMA churches that were damaged, please the Trumpet know.)
- Hispanic Coordinator Michael Hight said, in his State Missions report on page 7 of this week’s Trumpet: “We had BMA churches that sustained substantial damage, and one of our Hispanic pastors had major damage to his house — to the point that they are now living in the church.”
- First Baptist Church of Livingston, Texas has partnered with a nearby camp to house and provide meals for those who serve on recovery teams. Supplies and food may also be brought to the church, and they will be distributed from there. For more information on housing, meals and supply delivery, call (936) 327-4417.