Seeing scenes of the devastation left behind by last week’s tornadoes left most of us who were spared from the disaster asking the same question: “What can I do to help?” If you are part of a church in the Kentucky Baptist Convention, let me give you a quick update on what you are already doing.
Your church had damage assessment teams on the ground as soon as the weather cleared on the Friday afternoon and evening of the storms. In less than 24 hours, communications centers were set up, trained volunteers were being organized, and chaplains and chainsaw crews were already working in many of the devastated areas. In no time at all, shelters were set up and mobile kitchens were on standby. As volunteers and donated items began to flood into the affected areas, your church had experienced leaders on hand in most locations to help coordinate the efforts.
If you are wondering how your church was able to accomplish all that literally overnight, it was your Cooperative Program dollars at work through Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief. As your church participates in a mission partnership with roughly 2,400 sister churches in Kentucky it allows everyone to be a part of ministering to the hurting. Cooperative Program gifts train volunteers, purchase mobile kitchens, showers, and laundry units. All of these resources and workers stand ready to respond on a minute’s notice.
Greg Nimmo, director of missions for Crittenden Baptist Association, shared with me about the response of one family to seeing an army of disaster relief volunteers show up to help them. “We are so thankful the Baptists have come. We know where we are going to church on Sunday.”
In addition to the assistance of Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief, teams from neighboring states were quick to offer their assistance. Kentucky has also received assistance from the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. NAMB president, Kevin Ezell, himself a Kentucky native, contacted me on the day of the storms to offer assistance. Several thousands of dollars of relief aid from NAMB soon followed that call.
As tragic as has been the loss of property and life, the disaster relief efforts of Kentucky Baptists and Southern Baptists have been a wonderful reminder of the value of our mission partnership. We have also been reminded of the beauty of the love of God that becomes visible when God’s people help the hurting in their hour of need.
Thank you for your faithfulness in giving through the CP. If you would like to receive training to become part of a Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief response team, dates of upcoming training sessions can be found at www.kybaptist.org/drtraining.