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Stories tagged with: disaster relief

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

    by Brandon Elrod, posted Friday, November 16, 2018 (5 days 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 (11 days 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 (13 days 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 (19 days 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 (21 days 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 (25 days 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 (one month 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

  • For churches, Michael 'like being hit by a bomb'

    by David Roach, posted Friday, October 12, 2018 (one month ago)

    Submitted photo.
    PANAMA CITY, Fla. (BP) -- Hurricane Michael damaged at least 50 Southern Baptist church buildings in Florida and Georgia, according to initial estimates, with some virtually destroyed.

    But that hasn't stopped the congregations from doing the work of ministry.

    "Some of the deacons are doing some reconnaissance for us, trying to find out some of the needs" in the community in order to initiate ministries, said Dwight Woods, pastor of Family of God Baptist Church in Panama City, Fla., despite ... Read More

  • Michael hits Fla.: DR preps against 'compassion fatigue'

    by Brandon Elrod, posted Tuesday, October 09, 2018 (one month ago)

    Photo from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
    ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- "This year is beginning to look more like our 2017 hurricane response," said Sam Porter, national director for disaster relief with the North American Mission Board, as Hurricane Michael pressed toward the Florida Gulf Coast Oct. 9.

    "The storms are simply happening a month later than they did last year," said Porter, who is coordinating with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief directors across the Southeast and NAMB's Send Relief leadership ahead of Michael's landfall.

    "We've had Florence in North Carolina and South Carolina. Now three weeks later, we've ... Read More

  • Hurricane Florence aftermath still 'pretty rough'

    by Joe Westbury/Christian Index, posted Monday, October 08, 2018 (one month ago)

    Photo by Laura Sikes
    LONGS, S.C. (BP) -- It didn't take disaster relief volunteer Ronnie Register long to describe the situation where he is serving.

    "The situation here is pretty rough. There are a lot of hurting people," Register said as he looked across the church parking lot at a flooded subdivision in Longs, S.C.

    Not only had floodwater been just below roof level of some homes, but the buzzards were having a field day feasting on dead fish floating in the murky waters. Read More