By Staff, Baptist Message
RUSTON – The jobs have faded but the lives touched will never be the same. Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts in Louisiana, which were such a godsend in the state’s time of need, are finally starting to wind down.
“We, the staff of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, can never say thank you enough to the 30 state conventions that responded and sent volunteers to help our recovery efforts,” said John Hebert, the LBC’s Mission and Ministry Director. “We are very grateful for their partnerships and applaud their commitment to helping people.
“Thank you Southern Baptists for caring for Louisiana Baptists in their greatest time of need,” Hebert said.
It has been 48 days since Louisiana was ravaged by a historical rainfall and flooding event that left more than 14,000 homes flooded and countless lives affected. Even though more than 85 percent of Louisiana’s DR volunteers were among those affected, churches rallied and rushed to help those in desperate need.
The Southern Baptist Convention mobilized and soon DR units from state conventions began making their way into the state to offer their assistance. To those on the front lines, they more than a welcome sight.
Unlike other disasters encountered by Louisianans, this disaster did not get the national headlines. Still, the word got out, and as the days turned to weeks and the weeks to months, help flowed into the state. At last count, 30 state conventions answered the call for help.
On March 23, the North American Mission Board’s Mobile Command Center or “Bruno” arrived at Rolling Hills and came online March 28. Eddie Blackmon and a team of five others coordinated the relief efforts from the command center.
In the first two weeks, three 18-wheeler truckloads of supplies and equipment were sent to Louisiana from NAMB and many more followed. Now, after 32 straight days online, ‘Bruno’ and the team manning the command center have left Rolling Hills.
After 48 days, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, currently, have 50 jobs in Monroe, seven in Bastrop, and 17 in Haughton remaining in North Louisiana. There is still plenty of work in hard hit central, southwest and southeast Louisiana but it is a long way from when the rains fell more than 48 days ago.
“The job count is slowly dropping and volunteers are beginning to wind down their efforts,” said Hebert. “It has been quite an effort to say the least.”
The latest figures show volunteers have given 8,111 hours; 60,591 meals have been served, and people have taken 3,526 showers, done 2,243 loads of laundry and more than 1,800 jobs have been completed.
The most important statistic of all, though, is there have been 37 professions of faith … To God Be The Glory!
On March 29, Don Fulkerson died of a heart attack while serving with his team from First Baptist Church in Galatia, Ill., along with other Illinois Baptist volunteers in Leesville.
Despite the loss, the team had such a burden to help that they are coming back to Louisiana May 20 to rebuild a flood victim’s home. Returning with the team will be Fulkerson’s wife Margie who was with him when he suffered his heart attack.
The couple, who would have celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary this month, had served on 15 disaster relief trips together since their first assignment in 2012.