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Baptist Global Response Update: BGR Prayer Network for the Typhoon Haiyan Response
November 20, 2013

FROM BAPTIST GLOBAL RESPONSE — Baptist Global Response (BGR) is in the process of connecting Southern Baptists with the needs for prayer in the BGR efforts for the Philippines after the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan.  If you would pass this email on to those you know who would be interested in praying for the people of the Philippines, it would be greatly appreciated.  There has been a tremendous outpouring of love and concern from Southern Baptists, and we would like to make people aware of a  vital way that they can be a part by getting this information out to as many churches,  groups, and individuals as possible.

Thank you for any help that you can give in this initiative.  This is the first time we have tried to organize a coordinated prayer effort in a disaster response.  We are looking forward to seeing how God will work through the prayers of His people in the Philippines as the relief efforts move forward.

Typhoon Haiyan Prayer Network

As the response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines moves forward, BGR is forming teams that will come alongside the reconstruction teams with prayer support.

Past experience has taught that the response efforts often face opposition on many fronts.  The need for prayer is a vital part of the rebuilding.  Nehemiah 4:16-18, 21 says “ So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah. 17 Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. 18 Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me... 21 So we labored in the work, and half of the men  held the spears from daybreak until the stars appeared.”  

This passage indicates there is a need not only for those who will help in construction and reconstruction but also for those who will stand in prayer to defend the work.

Two teams will be  formed.  One will focus on prayer for the volunteer teams.  The other will focus on prayer for our partners:  personnel, relief coordinators, and Filipino pastors and churches who will be on the ground day in and day out for the next several months.  Anyone can sign up for one of these prayer teams or perhaps both.    The road to recovery for the Filipinos will be a long one, but we would love for you to join the rebuilding efforts with the message of hope and your prayers.

If you would like to join us in prayer, please click here to sign up.  If you have already signed up to pray and you know of anyone, including Sunday School classes, youth groups, GA groups, RA groups, WMU  groups,  men’s and women’s groups, collegiate ministries, SBDR Networks,  etc., who would potentially be interested in this aspect of the recovery, please forward this information to them.   The prayer requests will be sent a few times throughout the week, initially, and then we will adjust how often they go out to the prayer teams as things move further along in the recovery.

There are also prayer requests posted on the BGR website as well as the BGR facebook page if anyone would like to follow the prayer needs in that way.  The website address is www.gobgr.org

Thank you for being willing to help the Philippines in any way possible.


The evening of Nov. 15, the BGR Rapid Assistance Team traveled to Tabuelan and Medellin, two different areas in the north of Cebu Island. Little government help is reaching the people in these areas. The typhoon totally devastated them, but they have been overlooked because of needs in Tacloban. Pray for the people of Tabuelan and Medellin.  Pray for the relief efforts in these areas.

Where is BGR Responding? (click map to enlarge)

The green circles represent the areas that BGR and national partners are responding to Typhoon Haiyan. We are happy to have approx. 50 national Filipinos working with us in this response.

"From that day on, half of my men did the work, while the other half were equipped with spears, shields, bows and armor. The officers posted themselves behind all the people of Judah." Nehemiah 4:16 



Baptist Global Response Update: Philippines Typhoon Relief
November 14, 2013

FROM BAPTIST GLOBAL RESPONSE — The rapid assistance team is in the air and headed toward Cebu. Upon arrival they will be briefed on the current areas accessible for response, will orient to the situation with on-the-ground responders, and will travel to the affected area and briefly assess, prioritize, and respond to the immediate evident needs. They will be joining 7 disaster response teams of Americans and Filipinos who were living in the area when the typhoon hit. Currently more than 380,000 people are in 1,215 evacuation centers across the nine affected regions. An estimated 500,000+ homes were severely affected by the storm.

To date, Baptist Global Response has received $70,000 in donations, and Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief has received $1500 in online donations, but the response will be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Below you will find a list of resources from Baptist Global Response to share with your friends and to use in your church or organization.

Helpful Links

Project Page: www.gobgr.org/disaster

Video: http://vimeo.com/79350382

Bulletin Insert: https://gobgr.org/resources/print_detail/4084

News Story: https://gobgr.org/news/news_detail/4011

Volunteer: https://gobgr.org/volunteer/disaster

Fox News Story: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/11/10/how-can-help-victims-philippines-typhoon/


Typhoon Relief Fund Set Up
November 11, 2013

BRENTWOOD — A typhoon relief fund has been set up for Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Western Pacific Region. Click here to make a contribution. More information will be posted here and on the Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief Facebook page as it becomes available.


State DR Serves Storm Victims in OK & MO
June 11, 2013

BRENTWOOD — One team of Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers has served in Oklahoma to help tornado victims and one team is serving as of press time on June 10 in Missouri to help tornado victims.

In Oklahoma, 42 people were killed in Moore and El Reno where 13,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by May 20 and May 31 tornadoes. In the St. Louis, Mo., area, no one was killed but about 175 homes were damaged or destroyed by the May 31 tornadoes.

A team of 12 led by Don Owen of Nolachucky Baptist Association, based in Morristown, served from May 31 – June 9 in Moore. A team of eight led by Carolyn Watson of Cumberland Baptist Association, based in Clarksville, began serving June 4 near St. Louis.

David Acres, state Baptist disaster relief director, is coordinating the effort. He said Oklahoma is well-equipped with trained Baptist DR volunteers as well as nearby Kansas, Texas, and Arkansas. Tennessee volunteers have not been needed until these particular teams were requested.

These teams are using heavy equipment or skid steers they took with them to move debris from destroyed houses and downed trees to the street to be picked up. Some of the skid steers have grappling buckets on the front, he added.

There are more trees in Missouri than in Oklahoma and the storms there were less severe so more buildings were damaged rather than destroyed, said Acres. So in Missouri many downed trees are requiring chain saw work and removal by the skid steers. Also the volunteers are installing tarps on damaged roofs of houses.

Tennessee Baptists should pray for the Baptist DR volunteers because of the dangerous conditions though they have been well-trained, said Acres. Of course, they should also pray for the many people impacted by the storm.

Acres said after this phase of recovery, rebuild will be needed in late summer and fall.

He said it is not yet time to start rebuild or even to try to deliver building supplies because especially in Oklahoma there will be no places near the disaster area to store supplies.

Serving in Oklahoma

The 12-member team led by Don Owen moved 34 demolished homes in Moore to the street.

“It’s been pretty tough,” he reported from Oklahoma, especially meeting with one particular homeowner. He and his wife who owned a demolished home also lost a 9-year-old child in the school which was located nearby. Six other children were killed in the hard-hit school.

The homeowner and his wife were in their home when the tornado hit and survived.

“I have no earthly idea how they survived. It is only by God’s mercy and grace that they did,” said Owen, who is disaster relief director, Nolachucky Association.

The man’s wife could not return to the house, the man told Owen.

“He was very appreciative of what we were doing.

“All the people we have met have been appreciative.

“It is heartbreaking to have to watch a homeowner see their home taken down piece by piece,” wrote Owen in an e-mail.

According to insurance estimates, each clean up job saves homeowners an average of $8,000, reported Sam Porter, Oklahoma Baptist DR director.

Phyllis Creasey of the team who served as a DR chaplain said she met with homeowners and helped them look for mementos.

“It is a good time to share our love of Christ and all He has done for us,” she wrote in an e-mail. “One lady was unsaved but let us pray with her and she says she wants to do what we are doing.”

Owen said he and another team member Roscoe England of First Baptist Church, Concord, Knoxville, agreed that “this disaster has more destruction than any that we’ve seen.” Both are long-time DR volunteers who served Katrina victims. Owen said it may be that Katrina resulted in more destruction but the debris left after Katrina was washed out to sea while in Oklahoma the debris remained.

“It is piled in tangled messes mile after mile after mile,” said Owen.

“So many lives have been affected. … It’s incredible, no heartbreaking is what it is,” said Owen.

With emotion, he said he and the other team members really appreciated the large number of voice mails, phone calls, and texts they received telling them of prayers for them.

Those prayers were needed when the team had to ride out the May 31 tornado in a restaurant freezer.

“It wasn’t a lot of fun. There was a tornado on top of us,” said Owen.

Serving in Missouri

“We’re not seeing what Don Owen is seeing but we’re seeing a mess,” reported Carolyn Watson  from a suburb of St. Louis on June 7.

She said trees were down everywhere making many roads impassible. Also many buildings were destroyed.

The team was featured on -KSDK-TV, the NBC affiliate TV station out of St. Louis June 8, and www.ksdk.com.

As the report revealed, team members were witnessing of Christianity and many of the residents they were helping were Christians and very thankful, said Watson, DR director, Cumberland Association.

They should have completed 14 jobs at the end of June 10, she said.

On June 7 the team was helping a homeowner who had two trees on her house which had destroyed it and two trees in her yard. The woman did not have insurance.

“We calmed her and helped her,” said Watson. The woman plans to rebuild.

Among the Christians they got to know well, said Watson, was one lady who was interested in why the Tennessee Baptists were doing what they were doing.

Watson told her how she had gotten involved and how God had blessed the ministry and that it had become her passion. The woman told Watson of her calling to prison ministry. Watson encouraged her to pursue it and she agreed to.

The Tennesseans also got to know several people who were not Christians. One man commented on the fact that the DR volunteers worked in unison and so happily. Watson said a team member told him, “This is what God gave us to do.”

“People have been extremely receptive,” said Watson.

The team had worked in Berkeley, Hazelwood, and Ferguson, which are communities located west of St. Louis.

Both teams said they had shared the gospel many times and given away many Bibles to people they met. Watson said her team also gave a bear and Bible to a girl on her birthday.

The “Great Plains States Tornadoes/Storm Fund” has been established for DR gifts coming through the TBC for long-term relief efforts. Donations can be made online at www.tnbaptist.org or checks may be sent to the TBC, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024, designated for disaster relief.



DR Organizes Buckets for Babies

June 10, 2013

BRENTWOOD — To help the victims of the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri, Tennessee Baptists can give Buckets for Babies, said David Acres, state disaster relief director, Tennessee Baptist Convention.

The buckets contain new items to help families who have lost what they need to care for their children from infants to age 2.

The buckets cost about $50 to develop. Then they should be dropped off at a Baptist association office, the Missions Mobilization Center (6434 John Hagar Road), Mt. Juliet, or the TBC Baptist Center in Brentwood (5001 Maryland Way) by June 24.

Acres explained that sometimes Tennessee Baptists want to do more than give money toward disaster relief and this is a way to do so. The need for the buckets has been confirmed by Baptist DR leaders on site, he added.

Acres thanked Jim Ramey, DR director, Sullivan Baptist Association, based in Kingsport, for developing the idea.

Ramey said, “Just think, if you’re a new mom-my and you’ve been hit by these storms and you’ve lost everything. I just thought we needed to do this.”

God placed the idea in his head, he added.

Giving the items in the five-gallon buckets with a sealable lid will help storm victims because they can use the bucket in many different ways in a disaster situation, explained Acres. Baptists have sent items in such buckets to disaster victims in Haiti.

Items suggested are disposable diapers and outfit (same size), blanket, baby bibs, toy, baby wipes, baby formula (check that seal is intact), baby powder, and baby shampoo. Size and gender of clothing should be printed on outside of bucket.

Also the TBC asks that $5 in cash or a check made out to Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief be placed in an envelope and taped to the top of the bucket for shipping.

For more information, go to www.tndisasterrelief.org or contact Elizabeth Holmes at eholmes@tnbaptist.org or (615) 371-7926.



Tennessee Baptists among disaster relief volunteers in Moore, Okla.
June 4, 2013

Compiled from Baptist Press reports

MOORE, Okla. — Disaster relief ministry is a “marathon” and Southern Baptists will be in it for the long haul, said Fritz Wilson, executive director of disaster relief at the North American Mission Board.

Wilson made his comments following the historic EF5 tornado which swept through the Oklahoma suburb on May 20.

Within 36 hours of the tornado hundreds of volunteers had descended upon Moore and numerous others will be arriving later to help with clean up and rebuild efforts.

A 12-member team from Nolachucky Baptist Association arrived in Moore on June 1 to assist, reported David Acres, disaster relief director for the Tennessee Baptist Convention. The team’s arrival was affected by another wave of tornadoes over the weekend in Oklahoma, Acres reported.

The Nolachucky team was the first official DR team to be sent to Moore, Acres said.

The team is led by Don Owen, disaster relief director for Nolachucky Baptist Association.

In a correspondence to team members before the trip, Owen noted that “our main objective is to let the light and love of Christ shine that others may come to know Him as Savior and Lord.”

A team from William Carey Baptist Association worked in Moore last week under the auspices of Franklin Graham’s Samaritan Purse organization.

The team consisted of 12 members from nine churches. They took hygiene items donated by the youth of First Baptist Church, Fayetteville, and also dropped off 20 cases of water at a local donation center.

The team has been doing primarily chain saw work. They witnessed two professions of faith on May 28, according to Amy Leimer in the WCBA office.

The Tennesseans are among hundreds of volunteers who are helping storm survivors not only in Moore but also in Shawnee, Okla., as well.

More than 40 Southern Baptist disaster relief chaplains have been on the scene to provide counseling services.

Oklahoma disaster relief units prepared more than 35,000 meals in the first week following the tornadoes.

Among the Southern Baptist volunteers was Gary Hunley.

Almost two years to the day before the historic Moore tornado, Hunley’s home was destroyed by an equally historic tornado in Joplin, Mo., which killed 158 people.

Since then Hunley, the leader on his Spring River Baptist Association disaster relief team, has participated in numerous Southern Baptist Disaster Relief responses. Yet because of the amount of damage in Moore, the latest assignment has brought back a variety of memories.

“I understand it,” Hunley said. “I saw it yesterday (May 27) for the first time. It was like Joplin  — the scene, the smell, the look on people’s faces. Some are trying to be uplifting and act like everything is okay. They’re hiding it though; I can see it on their face. I feel so sorry for them.”

Hunley was joined by three others who all live near Joplin. They leaned on their own personal experiences to minister in Moore.

Floyd Morris of First Baptist Diamond, Mo., got an opportunity to share his faith in Christ with a resident who was a renter. The renter had no insurance, wanted no help, and expressed bitterness to God as he cleaned up the property.

“I told him that the anger was a part of the grieving process,” Morris said.  “It’s going to get better, so much better.”

NAMB coordinates and manages Southern Baptist responses to major disasters through partnerships with 42 state Baptist conventions, most of which have their own state disaster relief programs.

Southern Baptists have 82,000 trained volunteers and chaplains and 1,550 mobile units for feeding, chain saw, mud-out, command, communication, childcare, shower, laundry, water purification, repair/rebuild, and power generation.

The “Great Plains States Tornadoes/Storm Fund” has been established for DR gifts coming through the Tennessee Baptist Convention for long-term relief efforts.  Donations can be made online at www.tnbaptist.org or checks may be sent to the Tennessee Baptist Convention, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024, designated for disaster relief.


Message from Randy C. Davis Regarding Disaster Relief: Moore, Oklahoma and the Surrounding Areas
May 21, 2013

I have been in communication over the last two days with my counterpart in Oklahoma, Dr. Anthony Jordan.  We have also been in constant communication with NAMB’s national Disaster Relief Director through our Tennessee Disaster Relief Director, David Acres. I know that as you head into Wednesday night prayer meeting services your people will be interceding for everyone involved in the relief effort going on in Moore, Oklahoma.  This is tragic any time, but when you see the number of children’s lives which have been lost, the pain goes even deeper.  As you pray, I wanted you to have some tangible items to be praying about:

  • Prayer warriors have already been mobilized across the state, bathing the Midwest and Southwest in prayers. 
  • Today, an initial gift of $10,000 was sent from Tennessee Baptists to the Oklahoma Baptist Convention for Disaster Relief, and more DR aid will follow.
  • The “Great Plains States Tornadoes/Storm Fund” has been established for DR gifts coming through the Tennessee Baptist Convention for long-term relief efforts.  Here is the link to that fund:  Great Plains States (Including Oklahoma) Tornadoes / Storms Fund - May 2013Checks may be sent to the Tennessee Baptist Convention designated for Disaster Relief. 
  • For immediate relief, DR teams from Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, and Missouri have been mobilized.  When Tennessee Baptists are called upon, it will probably be for the long-range rebuild efforts.  This monumental effort will be a marathon, not a sprint. 
  • Just a reminder—the funding of the North American Mission Board relief effort, not only in man power but in the financial effort, has already come through Tennessee Baptists via Cooperative Program and Annie Armstrong giving.   That is why it is critical that we remain faithful, sacrificial, and regular in our support of CP and Annie Armstrong.

It is a joy to be on this journey with you, even during difficult times.

In Him,

Randy C. Davis
TBC Executive Director-Treasurer


Tornadoes in Oklahoma
May 21, 2013

We are receiving word from Sam Porter, the Disaster Relief director of Oklahoma, that the area of Moore is still closed because the first responders are still doing search and rescue operations. They are hoping to get in the area late today or early tomorrow morning. Sam is asking that we pray for all the families and also the rescue workers.

If you would like to give toward the Disaster Relief effort you can go to the
Disaster Relief Contributions page and we are set up to take your donation. They are not requesting material items at this time.

Please keep in mind that Oklahoma is in Region 3 of the Disaster Relief callout and they are in a region with states like Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Missouri. All of these are strong Disaster Relief states. So please expect them to be called before Tennessee is called.

God bless.

David Acres
Tennessee State Disaster Relief Director


DR Helps Flooded Churches, Homeowners
May 7, 2013

CARLISLE — Tennessee Baptist disaster relief volunteers served here April 28 – May 4 after rains April 24-25 and 27 caused flooding in the area. Carlisle is a small community of about 38 homes and several churches located about 10 miles southeast of Dover and southwest of Lake Barkley.

About 30 disaster relief recovery volunteers worked on 28 houses and two churches including Carlisle Missionary Baptist Church.

At least one person made a profession of faith as DR volunteers witnessed to folks there, reported Carolyn Watson, director of DR for Cumberland Baptist Association, based in Clarksville.

At Carlisle Missionary Baptist Church volunteers and members of the church removed mud and pews and other items from the church facility and stored them in a DR tractor trailer, said Watson. The church facility was flooded by about six inches of water. The church did not have flood insurance but residents of the area were just recently allowed to purchase flood insurance, explained Watson.

The volunteers also removed trees blocking a creek using a bob cat and manual labor and worked on numerous driveways filling holes with gravel using the bob cat, said Watson, who coordinated the effort. She has been a DR volunteer for 11 years.

Volunteers also removed mud and damaged flooring and drywall in homes, did laundry for residents, and provided showers to residents using mobile Baptist DR equipment, said Watson. For several days meals prepared by a health care center in Erin were delivered by the American Red Cross and then Baptists, reported Watson.

Because the rains held off on Saturday, May 4, a lot of work was completed in the area, said Watson. Other work may be done in the future. Carlisle Missionary Baptist, which served as a command center for Baptists, the American Red Cross, and the police will remain a center for help. Volunteers of the church and other Baptists including Dale Taylor, pastor, Bear Springs Baptist Church, Dover, and William Gray, director of missions, Judson/Stewart/Truett Baptist Associations, based in Dover, are serving there. Baptists also will be distributing items such as water and cleaning supplies, said Watson.

Many people were witnessed to during the recovery work of Baptists, she reported. About four Baptist ministers served as well as two DR chaplains.

Tennessee Baptist DR volunteers were from Cumberland Association; Truett Association, based in Dover; and Weakley County Association, based in Dresden. In addition, a shower unit from West Jackson Baptist Church, Jackson, and laundry unit from First Baptist Church, Hendersonville, served.

What the Baptist DR volunteers did “gives the people hope,” said Watson. “We saw this flood bring that community together,” she added, predicting that more residents will make professions of faith as Baptists and Christians there follow up on contacts made during the flood recovery work.


Associational DR Work Continues
February 11, 2013

Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers continue to serve storm victims in Henderson County, Robertson County, McNairy County, and Wilson County.

As of press time on Feb. 11 David Acres, state disaster relief director, Tennessee Baptist Convention, was in West Tennessee “assessing the damage and looking toward the future for rebuild,” he stated.

Acres said he and local DR volunteers will be working with emergency management officials of counties in long-term recovery committees.

In Henderson County, where about 400 homes were affected, about 60 had major damage and one resident was injured, local DR volunteers are still serving, reported Rick Taylor, Beech River Baptist Association DR director.

Taylor said as of Feb. 11 the association’s DR had helped 42 homeowners. Seventy DR volunteers from nine churches have served, added Taylor. He had five job orders and expected more to come in. He said thankfully churches are taking up offerings to offset the DR expenses. Another help was a report on Beech River Association DR by WBBJ-TV of Jackson. The report will help needy folks become aware of the ministry and contact him if they need help, said Taylor.

In Robertson County, where about 100 homes were damaged, one church damaged,  and one woman was injured, DR chain saw volunteers served and completed work on 11 homes, reported Robert Tyson, director of missions, Robertson County Baptist Association, based in Springfield. DR volunteers “remain ready to respond to requests for assistance,” he added.

In McNairy County where about 70 homes suffered major damage and one was destroyed, Shiloh Baptist Association DR led a project Feb. 9 to roof a home in Bethel Springs for a family in need. About 32 volunteers served including members of Good Hope Baptist Church, Adams-ville; Forty Forks Baptist Church, Bethel Springs; Mount Zion Baptist Church, Bethel Springs; and First Baptist Church, Bethel Springs.

Connie Stricklin of the association DR reported also that the DR provided meals for nine days out of First, Bethel Springs, and completed chain saw and clean up work and/or installed tarps on the roofs of about 50 homes, one elementary school, and several churches. They expect to do more work in the upcoming weeks, said Stricklin.

In Wilson County where about 40 homes and/or their property were damaged, Baptist DR work also was being done Feb. 9 by eight DR volunteers and two helpers from West Hills Baptist Church, Lebanon; Victory Baptist Church, Mount Juliet; Round Lick Baptist Church, Watertown; and First Baptist Church, Mount Juliet, reported Tawana Flatt of Wilson County Baptist Association DR. The volunteers were working on downed trees at a home.

On Feb. 15 the group will continue work on a home, added Flatt. They expect that will conclude their work, said Flatt.

About 25 DR volunteers have worked on three homes, she reported.

Also Silver Springs Baptist Church, Mount Juliet, was damaged but needs no help, reported Russ Stephens, pastor.

For more information on Baptist DR response to the Jan. 30 storms, contact Elizabeth Holmes of the Tennessee Baptist Convention staff at 615-371-7926 or eholmes@tnbaptist.org.


Disaster Relief Helps Storm Victims
February 4, 2013

By cleaning up, feeding in Henderson, Robertson, McNairy and Wilson counties

Following the early morning storms which struck Tennessee Jan. 30 some of the first responders were Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers. Often they worked in conjunction with county emergency management personnel.

About 300 homes were damaged in Henderson County and many more homes sustained damage but the only damage was from downed trees, said Rick Taylor, DR director, Beech River Baptist Association, based in Lexington. Also one homeowner who was thrown from his trailer broke his hip. No one else was hurt. Power was still out for some residents as of press time on Feb. 4.

In Robertson County about 100 homes were damaged, reported Robert Tyson, director of missions, Robertson County Baptist Association, based in Springfield. Bethlehem Baptist Church, Springfield, was damaged. Power was out in the area for about two days. Nobody was killed.

In McNairy County 70 homes suffered major damage and one was destroyed, reported Connie Stricklin of Shiloh Baptist Association DR, based in Adamsville. Also power was out for about 1,200 homes in the area for about two days. No one was hurt.

Finally, about 65 structures, including 40 homes and/or their property, and one Baptist church — Silver Springs Baptist Church, Mount Juliet — were damaged in Wilson County, reported Tawana Flatt of Wilson County Baptist Association DR, based in Lebanon. No one was hurt. Short power outages occurred.

Henderson County

In Henderson County, which suffered the most damage in Tennessee, Taylor and 12 association DR volunteers began assisting the county emergency management agency director in making assessments of damage hours after the storm. Taylor was first contacted by an EMA official at 4 a.m., Jan. 30, he said, and soon after began with help from his DR team assessing the area for the county.

That same day Taylor also coordinated the work of six members of Chapel Hill Baptist Church, Lexington, who did chain saw work on damaged trees for seven homeowners, said Taylor.

On Jan. 31, 18 chain saw volunteers including a team from Woodland Baptist Church, Brownsville, worked at nine homes. Despite the frigid temperatures on Feb. 1, 13 chain saw volunteers helped four homeowners and on Feb. 2, 20 chain saw volunteers helped three homeowners, said Taylor. On Sunday afternoon four volunteers worked on a trailer house because of the need.

He has been amazed at the amount of damage county wide, he reported. The winds roared through at about 110 miles an hour, he said, which can be compared to a category 3 hurricane.

Thankfully his team had accepted 10 rolls of tarping material while helping victims of Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana, he said. Taylor and other Baptist volunteers here have distributed “a lot” of the material.

As of press time on Feb. 4 Taylor said he was doing more assessment of needs in the county and assigning work to his teams.  He believes he and DR will be busy for weeks and then Baptist Builders will be needed to help storm victims.

Robertson County

Robert Tyson, DOM, Robertson County Baptist Association, did assessment of needs beginning on the morning after the storm and then mobilized associational DR volunteers to do chain saw work and clean up of downed trees the next day.

On Jan. 31 seven volunteers served, on Feb. 1, eight volunteers served, and on Feb. 2, 12 volunteers served, assisted by youth and leaders of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Springfield. The church also was damaged. A total of 11 homeowners were assisted.

He said the roof and the awning of a walkway between buildings of Bethlehem Baptist was damaged and the church had to cancel Wednesday evening activities because of a lack of power.

Tyson said the DR volunteers had ceased their work as of Feb. 4 but were available to be of help to residents.

McNairy County

Just hours after the storm Shiloh Baptist Association DR, based in Adamsville, began working out of First Baptist Church, Bethel Springs, to help the about 85 homeowners who had some damage to their homes, said Connie Stricklin. Mike Stricklin, her husband, is DR director.

Working with the county EMA and sheriff’s office, the Sricklins and their DR team helped set up an operations center at First Baptist close to “where a lot of the damage was done,” described Connie Stricklin.

The morning after the storm Lakeview Baptist Church, Selmer, distributed breakfast to emergency management workers and storm victims. Then First Baptist became a center for storm-related help and the DR feeding team of the association quickly prepared and served lunch that very day. On Wednesday 310 meals were served and each following day meals were served except for Sunday when most workers took a break. The recipients were storm victims and emergency workers including DR chain saw volunteers. Meals even were delivered by volunteers to homeowners and workers at their homes and work sites, said Stricklin.

Also the church was offered as a shelter but only was used by volunteers, reported Stricklin. About 1,200 residents were without power for about two days, she noted.

Food for the meals was provided by Shiloh Association and Food Giant of Selmer, she added. As of press time on Feb. 4, 800 meals had been served.

As of Feb. 4 a total of 24 Baptist DR chain saw volunteers from outside the association had served and 12 Baptist DR chain saw volunteers and others from Shiloh Association had served, said Stricklin. They had completed 13 jobs but have 20 more jobs to complete though they are smaller, said Stricklin. Also about 25 feeding volunteers had served as of Feb. 4.

Traveling there to serve have been volunteers from William Carey Baptist Association based in Fayetteville; Giles County Baptist Association, based in Pulaski; Gibson Baptist Association, based in Trenton; Truett Baptist Association, based in Bon Aqua; Beech River Baptist Association, based in Lexington; and Hardeman Baptist Association, based in Bolivar.

The center at First Baptist was continuing to coordinate the work of volunteers and feed them as of Feb. 4, said Stricklin.

She said they have a couple of homeowners who are requesting and need rebuild work by volunteers because of the damage to their homes.

One great result of the effort has been that many residents “developed more of an interest in the local church” and said they would “start attending after this,” said Stricklin.

“It’s really great to be able to let folks know who we are,” said Stricklin. “This is a really good thing for the church,” she added.

Also Baptists who volunteered here to help the storm victims learned about Baptist DR, she noted, and may attend a DR training event to be held in the area in a couple of weeks.

Additionally, the work of Baptists has been well covered by a Memphis-based TV station, a Jackson-based TV station and the Independent Appeal newspaper in Selmer, said Stricklin.

Wilson County

Tawana Flatt of Wilson County Baptist Association DR said they have been trying to help the 40 homeowners here who suffered damage.

Flatt and her husband Doug, DR director for the association, began doing assessments for the county emergency management agency here the day after the storm and continue to do it.

Last week they also worked with 16 local DR chain saw volunteers who helped three homeowners by removing downed trees from their houses and their property, reported Flatt.

The Baptist volunteers met several homeowners who had already paid for trees to be removed but needed debris removed who they will try to help, she said. Of course, they are trying to find and help homeowners who are elderly and don’t have insurance, Flatt explained, which is “what we’re all about anyway.”

As the couple try to do “God’s work” and keep up with their personal jobs, they must juggle things, said Tawana. “But God rewards us in so many ways it’s just unbelievable,” she added.

They expect they will receive referrals of needs from the county which uses the Wilson County DR for such needs, said Doug Flatt. They were continuing to coordinate chain saw work here as of press time on Feb. 4.

For more information on needs, contact Elizabeth Holmes of the Tennessee Baptist Convention staff at eholmes@tnbaptist.org or (615) 371-7926. To give funds for this DR response, visit www.tnbaptist.org.


2013 Tornadoes & Severe Storms
January 30, 2013

As a result of severe storms that moved through the region early Wednesday morning, damage assessments are still being done. More information will be released as it becomes available.

The convention has established the "2013 Tornado / Storms Fund" so churches and individuals can give through the Tennessee Baptist Convention to this relief effort. Donations can be made online or sent to Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024. Be sure to mark gifts for the 2013 Tornado/Storms Fund.


More Sandy Responders See Decisions
Dec. 10, 2012

Teams from two associations see residents make commitments

BRENTWOOD — Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers and Tennessee Baptist volunteers serving through other organizations continue to help Hurricane Sandy victims. The hurricane struck the Northeast Oct. 29-30.

Nine volunteers from William Carey Baptist Association, based in Fayetteville, and Giles County Baptist Association, based in Pulaski, served in New Jersey Nov. 7-15. Their efforts resulted in 12 people making professions of faith.

Jim Baird, coordinator of the team, reported the team served in Toms River, N.J., with a non-Baptist organization.

The volunteers initially joined other volunteers cleaning a flooded home but spent most of their time there, five days, removing damaged trees with chain saws and witnessing of their faith. 

Baird said one homeowner they worked for said she was a follower of Christ but her son was not. He was not at the home that day but the Tennesseans returned the next day to put a tarp on her roof. Just before they left, the son arrived at the home. After talking to one of the Tennesseans, the son accepted Christ, reported Baird.

The son told the Tennessee Baptists about his girlfriend who was in the hospital and who wasn’t a Christian.

Baird said they referred this opportunity to some chaplains they were associated with, who followed up and after a second visit, saw the young woman pray to receive Christ.

During one of the hospital visits, the woman who referred the Tennesseans to her son and thought she was a Christian realized while talking to a chaplain that she was not a believer. She also made the commitment.

The Tennesseans personally saw 10 residents make professions of faith mainly led by Bill Sharp, a retired minister of Alabama on their team.

Though the team traveled a total of 1,800 miles, they were thrilled, said Baird.

“This is what it is all about. That is why we do what we do,” he added.

Also, Tennessee DR volunteers from Bradley Baptist Association, based in Cleveland, serving from the association’s shower/laundry unit, have presented the gospel several times and prayed several times with residents, reported Randy Bonner, ministry evangelism director for the association.

The BBA shower/laundry unit has served since Nov. 10 and may continue to serve into January, said Bonner. It is assisting residents and DR volunteers in the Long Island area of New York. The unit has been stationed at Crossroads Baptist Church, Farmingdale, N.Y., and an Episcopal church in Fairfax, N.Y.

A total of 14 volunteers from the association have provided the ministry, reported Bonner.

“We greatly appreciate the time and energy our DR volunteers have given to help those in need. Several have taken vacation days and have rearranged schedules including a few that gave up their Thanksgiving holiday in order to serve,” said Bonner.




Message #3 from Randy C. Davis Regarding Hurricane Sandy (Recorded Nov. 7, 2012).


Message #2 from Randy C. Davis Regarding Hurricane Sandy (Recorded Nov. 2, 2012).


Message from Randy C. Davis Regarding Hurricane Sandy (Recorded Oct. 30, 2012).

Tennessee DR still responding to Hurricane Sandy
November 26, 2012

NEW YORK CITY — While only four Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are currently helping with Hurricane Sandy relief, more will be needed, says David Acres, Tennessee Baptist DR director.

Acres recently returned from New York City after serving two weeks with a new program designed to conduct Rapid Temporary Repairs.

Presently, a four-member team from Nolachucky Baptist Association, led by Don Owen of First Baptist Church, Morristown, is in the New York City area.

The team is assessing homes that need either chain saw work, flood recovery work or home repairs, Acres said.

He noted a chain saw team is needed immediately to travel to New York City this weekend and work the week of Dec. 3 to cut and move large trees that were downed by Hurricane Sandy.

Acres said the North American Mission Board has developed  a plan for college students to go to New York and work during the Christmas break. A place has been obtained for them to stay as well as places of service, Acres said.

 Interested college students can register at www.regonline.com/-collegiatedr. To register enter the code, collegiatedr.

Flood recovery teams will be needed for New York City through December and possibly into January, Acres said. After that, rebuild teams will be needed.

For more information about opportunities to serve, contact  Elizabeth Holmes in the TBC Disaster Relief office at 1-800-558-2090, ext. 7926 or (615) 371-7926.

Those interested in donating to the “Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund” can do so online at www.tnbaptist.org or send donations marked for the fund to TBC, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024.



TBC DR Sees Decisions
November 12, 2012

BRENTWOOD — Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief has shifted gears as volunteers continue to minister in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

As they minister and serve, volunteers are seeing decisions made for Jesus Christ.

At least three professions of faith and one rededication have resulted from the efforts of Tennessee Baptists who are serving as the hands and feet of Christ following the hurricane and a recent front that has dumped snow in the area.

Chain saw and recovery teams have worked in several locations in the northeast for the past week. The North American Mission Board also assigned the TBC the responsibility of rapid repair response in New York and New Jersey late last week. TBC Disaster Relief director David Acres traveled to New York City Nov. 9 to find a warehouse and lodging facilities for volunteers.

The team will do assessments of needs in the area and man the warehouse, giving what is needed to volunteer teams from all organizations, Acres said.

The state feeding unit and the feeding unit of Sullivan Baptist Association were sent to McGuire Air Force Base in Lakehurst, N.J. last week. Volunteers, though they did not actually prepare meals, did serve for a few days at McGuire Air Force Base and did a variety of tasks, including going to a nearby town and picking up meals prepared by North Carolina Baptist DR volunteers and bringing them back to the air base to serve. Both feeding units have returned home.

“Volunteers plan and prepare to be used when a disaster happens,” Acres said.

“Our volunteers responded to the request to go to McGuire Air Force Base but discovered they were not needed to provide meals once they arrived,” Acres said.

Their trip was not wasted. Acres said team members led two servicemen to Christ and a truck driver re-dedicated his life. In addition, a young woman accepted Christ after Tennessee volunteers removed a tree from her yard.

“Our people understand what they are really there for — to share the love of Christ whether they are cooking meals, cutting trees or just interacting with people,” Acres said.

TBC Executive Director Randy C. Davis agreed. “This is big. This is what it is all about,” he observed.

Davis, in a letter to Tennessee Baptists on Nov. 8, requested Tennessee Baptists to be in prayer for Acres, who “will be coordinating this monumental task” and for all volunteers who are “seizing this opportunity to be the hands, feet and heart of Jesus in this vitally important work.”

Davis encouraged Tennessee Baptists to give generously to the relief effort. “I want to thank you for giving.  We by faith sent a great deal of financial resources on ahead of this recovery effort to New England. 

“Now we are anticipating that churches will respond and, indeed, I have been getting phone calls all week about churches that received offerings last Sunday and churches that will be receiving offerings this Sunday for the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund.  Thank you so much for responding.”

Volunteers interested in serving should maintain contact with Elizabeth Holmes in the TBC Disaster Relief office at 1-800-558-2090, ext. 7926, or (615) 371-7926.


Those interested in donating to the “Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund” can do so online at www.tnbaptist.org or send donations marked for the fund to TBC, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024. 



DR kitchens return to Tennessee; Volunteers to help with rapid temporary repairs
November 7, 2012


BRENTWOOD – The Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief state feeding unit has returned to Tennessee from McGuire Air Force Base in Lakehurst, N.J.

The kitchen unit of Sullivan Baptist Association will return either Nov. 7 or Nov. 8, depending on weather conditions. A snowstorm is forecast for the area over the next few days.

Both kitchen units were sent to New Jersey last weekend in anticipation of being used in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Neither feeding unit was actually used although volunteers did travel to a nearby town and pick up meals provided by North Carolina disaster relief teams and served them at the air base.

“Volunteers plan and prepare to be used when a disaster happens,” said David Acres, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief director.

“Our volunteers responded to the request to go to McGuire Air Force Base but discovered they were not needed to provide meals once they arrived,” Acres said.

Team members, however, adapted and did things they were asked to do at the base, he said.

Their trip was not wasted. Acres said team members led two servicemen to Christ and a truck driver re-dedicated his life.

“Our people understand what they are really there for – to share the love of Christ whether they are cooking meals or interacting with people,” Acres said.

“While the need for our feeding units is diminishing in the affected area we have recovery and chain saw crews in places like Norwalk, Conn., and Bayshore, N.Y., added TBC Executive Director Randy C. Davis. Several other teams will be on their way as logistics are made and assessments are completed, he noted.

“Just this morning (Nov. 7) TBC  disaster relief was given the massive assignment of Rapid Repair Response for New York and New Jersey. This kind of work includes such things as placing tarps on damaged roofs and boarding up damaged windows,” he said.

Acres will travel to New York by week’s end to head a team which will run a warehouse for the repair operation.

The team will also do assessments in addition to handing out supplies to VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters) volunteers.

The team will work out of the local Baptist association office in New York City. Acres will try to find warehouse space and lodging for volunteers once he arrives on the scene.

“We hope to be set up by Monday, Nov. 12,” Acres said.  Only a small team of four-six volunteers will be needed at first, but more could be needed once assessments are made, he said.

Volunteers interested in serving should maintain contact with Elizabeth Holmes in the TBC Disaster Relief office at 1-800-558-2090, ext. 7926, or (615) 371-7926.

Tennessee Baptists interested in donating to the “Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund” can do so online at www.tnbaptist.org or send donations marked for the fund to TBC, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024.


DR Volunteers Head Northeast
November 5, 2012


Tennessee disaster relief teams join massive Southern Baptist relief effort

BRENTWOOD — Tennessee Baptist disaster relief volunteers will be part of a massive relief effort for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief.

In an unprecedented move, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief asked all large capacity mobile kitchens in the fleet east of the Rocky Mountains to mobilize in response to Hurricane Sandy.

As of Nov. 1, nearly 90 people had been confirmed dead and a number of people were still unaccounted for, Baptist Press reported.

Late last week nearly five million people were without electricity and gasoline was hard to obtain due to a fuel shortage and a lack of electricity to operate the gas pumps.

“As we worked through the planning and continued to receive reports about the need, the conviction came on me that Southern Baptists need to step out in faith and mobilize now,” said Fritz Wilson, executive director of North American Mission Board Disaster Relief.

On Nov. 1, NAMB trustees authorized the agency to cover the travel expense for state conventions that needed the assistance in mobilizing their DR teams to the region.

The goal was to prepare a minimum of 400,000 meals daily by Nov. 5. During the height of SBDR response to Hurricane Katrina, volunteers prepared 425,000 meals per day.

David Perrson, director of NJNet, a Southern Baptist association of churches in the northern half of New Jersey, said volunteers need to be aware of the lack of resources there, including food. He cautioned incoming volunteers to come “self-contained because many of the churches and places that could house them have no electricity and sometimes no water or sanitation because of that, … especially in these first couple of weeks.”

About 80 Tennessee Baptists left last weekend to work on two Tennessee feeding/kitchen units. Also four other DR volunteers on shower trailer units and a laundry unit traveled with them and on Nov. 5 three workers with a laundry unit were on their way. Additionally on Nov. 5 chain saw/flood recovery units already were serving in New York and Connecticut.

The Sullivan Baptist Association (based in Kingsport) feeding unit and about 31 volunteers led by Jim Ramey and the TBC state feeding unit (based in Mount Juliet) manned by about 49 volunteers led by Murray Johnson were sent to McGuire Air Force Base in Lakehurst, N.J., where they waited on Nov. 5 for their assignment.

The feeding units were joined by the shower trailer units of Holston Baptist Association (based in Johnson City) and First Baptist Church, Concord, Knoxville, and a laundry unit of Watauga Baptist Association (based in Elizabethton). The laundry unit traveling on Nov. 5 from Oak Street Baptist Church, Soddy-Daisy, was to work at Union Hall Baptist Church, Union Beach, N.J.

The two units already working include 13 volunteers mainly from Cumberland Baptist Association (based in Clarksville) working in Bridgeport, Conn., and the Nolachucky Baptist Association unit (based in Morristown) of 16 volunteers working in Bay Shore, N.Y.

The TBC has been requested to send more flood recovery crews and chaplains, Acres said. Any trained DR volunteers wishing to go can contact Elizabeth Holmes in the DR office at 1-800-558-2090, ext. 7926 or (615) 371-7926.

Last week TBC Executive Director Randy C. Davis announced the convention has established the “Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund” so churches can give through the TBC to this massive relief effort. Donations can be made online at www.tnbaptist.org or sent to TBC, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024. Be sure to mark gifts for the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund.

“Our work will be extensive as well as expensive,” he said. Davis stressed that “every dime” will go toward assisting in the recovery and rebuild efforts that will be going on for months.

“We will need to undertake a church revitalization and church planting effort unprecedented in the aftermath of our disaster relief work. Whether it is Texas or New York, Tennesseans have always had a history of being there when times are tough.

“We will once again go where the Lord sends us to be His hands, His feet, His heart and pointedly, intentionally, share the gospel as we go about doing His benevolent work,” Davis said.

The Baptist and Reflector will provide updates on the relief efforts this week as they are available at www.tnbaptist.org.



TBC Disaster Relief teams on way to New York or N.J.
November 1, 2012

BRENTWOOD — About 200 Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are leaving on Friday and Saturday to serve victims of Hurricane Sandy in the New York and/or New Jersey area, reported David Acres, Tennessee Disaster Relief director on Nov. 1.

On Nov. 2 the Sullivan Baptist Association feeding/kitchen unit based in Kingsport manned by about 75 volunteers led by Jim Ramey, association DR director, will leave. They will be assisted by the shower trailer unit of Holston Baptist Association, based in Johnson City, and the recovery unit of Holston Valley Baptist Association, based in Rogersville. The recovery unit, made up of chain saw workers, flood recovery workers and chaplains, will involve about 12 volunteers, said Acres. The kitchen unit staff will begin feeding on Sunday, he added.

On Nov. 3 the Tennessee Baptist Convention state feeding/kitchen unit based in Mount Juliet will leave Tennessee. It will be led by about 100 volunteers. This unit will be assisted by a shower trailer unit of First Baptist Church, Concord, Knoxville, and a recovery unit of Nolachucky Baptist Association, based in Morristown, and led by Don Owen, association DR director. The recovery unit will involve about 12 volunteers. This unit will begin feeding on Monday.

The feeding/kitchen volunteers have been asked by Southern Baptist DR leaders based in Harrisburg, Penn., to be prepared to serve about 10,000 meals a day and to prepare to serve them onsite and for delivery.

All Southern Baptist feeding units serving from Tennessee and other states will be preparing about 200,000 meals a day, reported Acres.

"This is really big," said Acres.

According to Fox New reports, Hurricane Sandy, which struck the U.S. East Coast on Monday, Oct. 29, has led to the deaths of 78 people in the U.S. The 900-mile-wide weather system also caused property damage and destruction in about a dozen states.

One problem related to the Southern Baptist effort, said Acres, is the lack of Baptist churches in the Northeast. The kitchen units and other units bring their own generators and a lot of fuel, but need access to water and sewer infrastructure and a place for some of the volunteers to sleep.

He asked for prayer for the Tennessee DR volunteers who will serve.

Churches also can download a bulletin insert from the Tennessee Baptist Convention web site at www.tnbaptist.org beginning on Friday morning to inform church members about the effort, said Acres.

For more information on the effort, visit www.tnbaptist.org.


TBC Disaster Relief teams to serve in New England
October 30, 2012

Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief "has been paired with the Baptist Convention of New England" to help victims of Hurricane Sandy which struck the U.S. East Coast Monday evening, according to David Acres, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief director.

News reports on Tuesday on Hurricane Sandy, dubbed a super storm, reported the death toll is 39 in the U.S. and 69 in the Caribbean. Also millions will be without power or mass transit for days and the property damage is in the billions of dollars and lost business is in the billions.

Tennessee Baptist DR volunteers will be serving in the convention which is made up of some of the hardest hit areas. The Baptist convention, based in Northborough, Mass., includes Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massassachusets, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

On Tuesday, Oct. 30, the New England convention leaders and Southern Baptist DR leaders asked Tennessee to send chain saw crews, flood recovery crews and chaplains, said Acres. The leaders are currently finding places for volunteers to stay. Acres predicted the teams would begin traveling to New England on Thursday.

The Tennessee Baptist DR office has already started contacting DR team leaders. Any trained DR volunteers wishing to volunteer may contact Elizabeth Holmes in the DR office at 1-800-558-2090 ext. 7926, (615) 371-7926 or eholmes@tnbaptist.org.

Acres said usually feeding teams are needed but that need is "being taken care of by other states."

Tennessee Baptist Convention Executive Director Randy C. Davis said the TBC has set up the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund so churches can give through the TBC to give to this massive relief effort.

"Our work will be extensive as well as expensive," he said. "I already know that some churches are receiving special offerings for the next few weeks to assist with this recovery."

Davis added, "Every dime given through the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund will go toward assisting in the recovery and rebuild efforts that will be going on for months, if not years, in the affected areas. The executive directors I have talked to from Maryland to Massachusetts have told me that so many of their churches have been devastated.

"We will need to undertake a church revitalization and church planting effort unprecedented in the aftermath of our disaster relief work. Whether it is Texas or New York, Tennesseans have always had a history of being there when times are tough.

"We will once again go where the Lord sends us to be His hands, His feet, His heart and pointedly, intentionally share the Gospel as we go about doing this benevolent work," stated Davis.


Hurricane Isaac
October 10, 2012

Southern Baptist Association and church leaders in Franklinton, Hammond, Houma, New Orleans, and Walker, Louisiana are coordinating ongoing disaster response efforts in their communities. At the same time recovery work continues at two cemeteries in Plaquemines Parish Louisiana. A team of volunteers from Tennessee has been working there this week.

Photo right: TN DR volunteers John Woodcock, Randy Whetsell and Jimmy Brake prepare to seal another crypt after the remains were identified.

Team leader Carolyn Watson sent the following report on Wednesday. "The men are doing a great job helping the parish officials replace all of the caskets and crypts with new ones and retagging them. It is slow. Our team is sharing with them how to make it move faster and the officials are listening. The state director over this operation could not believe that this was our first deployment for casket retrieval. The 7 men are doing a great job. One man arrived yesterday with a bag of cement in his trunk and was going to try to find his relatives and reseal their crypt. You know the story--he could not believe we drove 600 miles to help him. He talked with Randy Whetsell and asked what he could do for our team. Randy told him that he could pray with the team, that is all. I am so proud of this team. God has given us such leadership and compassion for the victims."


Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief Responds to Hurricane Isaac
September 6, 2012

Hurricane Isaac made landfall in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana just south of the mouth of the Mississippi River on Tuesday, August 28, 2012 just hours before the 7th anniversary of the landfall of Hurricane Katrina. Isaac, while a much weaker category 1 hurricane compared to Katrina's category 3 winds when it made landfall, was a very large storm bringing heavy rains all along the Gulf coast from Florida to Louisiana. That Tuesday night the eye of Isaac was moving along the Louisiana coast raking coastal communities with 80 mph winds.

Two eighteen wheelers loaded with plastic roof sheeting to provide temporary protection to damaged homes left Alpharetta, GA Wednesday morning, August 29 enroute to Mississippi and Louisiana. These drivers were two of Tennessee's credentialed Disaster Relief volunteers, Larry Kirkland from Loudon County Baptist Association and K. Ray Helms from Sullivan Baptist Association.

David Acres, state Disaster Relief director, left September 4, 2012 to serve as Southern Baptist Mass Care Cordinator With the American Red Cross in Washington, DC.

On September 4, Cumberland Baptist Association sent a 7-member flood recovery team. They are cleaning out a Baptist church in LaPlace, Louisiana, so that teams can eventually be housed there. There are over 8,000 homes affected from Hurricane Isaac in that particular area. They plan to serve for a week.


DR Assisted Flood Victims
August 21, 2012

BRENTWOOD — Over 200 Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers have worked and over 4,000 meals were served in Washington County during a flood recovery response Aug. 6-14, according to local DR officials on site.

Tennessee Baptist DR ended its response Aug. 14 with area church cooking teams, a laundry unit, a shower unit, local volunteers and several youth groups assisting flooded out homeowners in Washington County. Almost eight inches of rain fell Aug. 5 and destroyed 53 homes and damaged 27 homes, according to Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) reports.

The DR teams serving were from Tennessee Baptist cluster #13, which includes: Holston Association, based in Johnson City; Holston Valley Association, based in Rogersville; Watauga Association, based in Elizabethton; and Sullivan Association, based in Kingsport. Paul Strong, a member of the Sullivan Association DR team, served as the white hat for the response Aug. 10-14.

Assisting the associations in the cluster were teams from Nolachucky Baptist Association, based in Morristown, and Jefferson County Baptist Association, based in Jefferson City.

“We are now looking at long-term recovery efforts for this area, which will be done by Baptist Builders and other groups,” said Strong.

DR teams were staged out of Cherry Grove Baptist Church, Jonesborough. The damaged homes were reported by county officials to be in the Dry Creek area and downtown Johnson City.

Flood recovery teams began the Washington County response on Aug. 6 with 87 volunteers and a church meal operation out of Cherry Grove Church.

Over 60 jobs were assessed and completed by DR teams. On Aug. 7, the Watauga Association laundry unit and the Holston Association shower unit began serving at Cherry Grove Church. On Aug. 8, two chaplains joined the volunteers.

Elizabeth Holmes, DR administrative assistant, Tennessee Baptist Convention, served as the off-site coordinator.


Tennessee Disaster Relief Responds to Regional Storms
July 10, 2012

(BRENTWOOD)— Tennessee Disaster Relief responded this past week to help people whose homes and property were damaged by regional severe thunderstorms, according to state Disaster Relief director David Acres.

At least 14 members of a chain saw team representing eight churches of the Cumberland Baptist Association, Clarksville, responded July 5-6 to different areas of the city of Clarksville after severe local storms took off roofs and knocked down trees.

The team has completed 27 jobs, which included two roof repairs and 25 tree removal jobs.

According to Carolyn Watson, Cumberland Association disaster relief director, severe storms hit the Hilldale area July 4, the Clarksville downtown area and Austin Peay State University July 5, and the North Clarksville area July 6. More assessments will be done this week, added Watson.

"Our team responded to homeowners whose properties were damaged by straight-line winds from severe thunderstorms, which resulted from hot temperatures quickly dropping and toppling trees," said Watson.

Also responding to damages from a July 5 storm system were 16 members on associational chain saw teams from Sevier County Baptist Association, Sevierville, and Nolachucky Baptist Association, Morristown, to areas of Sevierville.

John Thomas, Sevier County Association disaster relief director, reported that a 10- person team worked July 6 and a six-person team worked July 9. These members represented five different churches and completed five jobs.

The teams removed trees from the home of the pastor of First Baptist Church, Sevierville, in downtown and others in the south end of the city.



Tennessee Disaster Relief Responds to Mid-Atlantic Storms
July 2, 2012

(BRENTWOOD) — Two Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief truck driver teams in SBC North American Mission Board tractor trailers are currently in route to South Carolina to pick up 39 palettes of water and deliver them to Virginia for storm survivors in the sweltering, storm-swept Mid-Atlantic region.

The Tennessee teams are also carrying NAMB roofing materials to Virginia and North Carolina, according to NAMB disaster relief officials in Alpharetta, Ga.

Driving on the first response of the two NAMB disaster relief trucks are: team one, Jim Ramey, disaster relief director of Sullivan Baptist Association, Kingsport; and Kelly Ray Helms, also of Sullivan Association; and team two, Larry Kirkland, a member of Loudon County Baptist Association, Lenoir City.

News reports indicated that emergencies were declared in Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and Washington, D.C., June 30, following damage from storms unleashing hurricane-force winds across and over a 500-mile stretch of the mid-Atlantic region. In addition to the storms' rampage, temperatures soared over 100 degrees and all time temperature records were broken in some Southern and Plains states.

Massive power outages have been reported in Washington D.C and other areas. At least 18 deaths across the states have been blamed on weather related incidents since June 29.

The disaster relief trucks are expected July 2 to pick up two truckloads each of 37,800 lbs. of water at U.S. Foods in Fort Mill, S.C., and to deliver them to Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Va., where cooling centers have been set up at the church. This response is under the operation of the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia, Glen Allen, Va.

NAMB disaster relief officials said the Tennessee teams will deliver roofing materials to both, Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia and the Baptist General Association of Virginia, Richmond, Va., and to a Baptist State Convention of North Carolina camp, located in Shelby, N.C.




DR Volunteers Help Storm Victims
March 12, 2012

Working alongside many local Baptists, others responding

BRENTWOOD — Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief teams are continuing their response to help victims of seven confirmed Spring tornadoes which raged across the state and into other states March 2 embedded in a series of severe storm systems. Also response continued to Feb. 29 storms.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency noted that about 20 counties were reporting hundreds of homes and businesses damaged or destroyed and 45 people injured from four confirmed tornadoes March 2. No fatalities were reported from this system.

David Acres, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief director, observed, “When the storms began on Wednesday, Feb. 29, and then continued on Friday of that same week, one of my thoughts was how are we going to be able to cover the whole state. Well, God has some great people living in our state.

“In all of the areas that were hit by the storms there were some wonderful volunteers that stepped up to the plate and did what needed to be done. We had our disaster relief volunteers that moved in and helped where they were needed and if you read down thru the article you will see there were a lot of needs,” he continued.

“Even though we are getting close to being finished with the clean up, please don’t forget these people who have been affected by the storms. There will be re-build efforts going on for months and let’s do whatever we can to make a difference in the lives of these folks. Thank you, Tennessee Baptists, for truly making a difference,” Acres noted.

In Hamilton County

In Hamilton County last week church chain saw teams along with association teams assisted homeowners with damages from two tornadoes, which roared through the north end of the county.

Volunteers worked March 5-11 in the Harrison, Ooltewah and Georgetown areas where they cut trees off homes and roads, said Bob Neely, disaster relief ministry coordinator of Oak Street Baptist Church, Soddy-Daisy.

Serving out of Greenwood Baptist Church, Ooltewah, a disaster relief dispatch center, were chain saw teams from Oak Street Church; Greenwood Church; Cumberland Baptist Association, Clarksville; Northside Baptist Church, Murfreesboro; William Carey Baptist Association, Fayetteville; Nolachucky Baptist Association, Morristown; and Red Bank Baptist Church, Chattanooga.

Others serving out of the Ooltewah church were First Baptist Church, Rockwood; Duck River Baptist Association, Tullahoma; First Baptist Church, Lenoir City, and other teams. The shower unit from the Bradley County Baptist Association, Cleveland, was on site at the church where teams are housed.

Bayside Baptist Church, Harrison, was also housing chain saw teams in the area.

Mike Lovett, disaster relief director of Clinton Baptist Association, Clinton, is completing damage assessment along with Frank Metcalfe of Cumberland Baptist Association, Clarksville, disaster relief. TEMA, Nashville, listed 150 homes affected in Hamilton County.

A disaster relief feeding unit at Brainerd Baptist Church, Chattanooga, worked March 2-5 cooking meals for both the Chattanooga Chapter of the American Red Cross and the Chattanooga Salvation Army. Working out of a kitchen of the church, Brainerd Church volunteers sent over 3,000 meals on Red Cross and Salvation Army vehicles to Ooltewah, Harrison and Georgetown areas where an EF2 tornado was reported.

In Jackson County

In Jackson County, local disaster relief volunteers helped about 30 homeowners who had damage to their homes in the southeastern area from an EF2 tornado. TEMA noted 63 homes affected.

In Bradley County

In Bradley County, Bradley County Baptist Association chain saw teams and others worked March 3-6 in the southwestern area of Cleveland. The association office served as a recovery dispatch center for teams who completed about 60 homeowner’s work orders. TEMA listed 87 homes affected by an EF2 tornado.

In Claiborne County

In Claiborne County, chain saw teams from Cumberland Gap Baptist Association, Harrogate; Nolachucky Baptist Association, Morristown; Jefferson County Baptist Association, Jefferson City; Knox County Baptist Association, Knoxville; and Grainger Baptist Association, Rutledge, worked March 3-6. TEMA reported 63 homes were affected in Harrogate from an EF2 tornado.

In Monroe County

In Monroe County, the shower unit of Ridgedale Baptist Church, Chattanooga, was stationed at First Baptist Church, Tellico Plains. TEMA noted 164 homes, the largest number of homes recorded, were affected in Monroe County where an EF2 tornado was confirmed.

In Cumberland County

In addition, a Cumberland Plateau Baptist Association Disaster Relief chain saw team and associational churches responded to the storm victims of an EF2 killer tornado, which leveled parts of the Rinnie and Isoline communities located near Crossville on Feb. 29.

Kirk Casey, director of missions for Cumberland Plateau Association, reported that volunteers from his association and others worked on chain saw teams March 1-4 removing tree limbs from homes on the northern end of Cumberland County near Highway 127. Teams included Cumberland Baptist Association, Clarksville, and Second Baptist Church, Clinton.

To give online to Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief, go to www.tnbaptist.org and follow the links to the DR pages. You can also send a check to Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN 37024. Designate it to general relief or Spring Storms 2012.


Tennessee Baptist disaster relief teams minister in aftermath
March 5, 2012

BRENTWOOD — Local Tennessee Baptist disaster relief teams are checking damage to see the extent of the need and if outside assistance is needed after last week’s series of deadly tornadoes, according to David Acres, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief director.

The March 2 storms were part of a system which produced more than 100 confirmed tornadoes and more than 700 reports of damaging winds in the Midwest and numerous portions of the Southeast.

More than 30 deaths have been confirmed as of March 5.

In Tennessee, workers were still having trouble getting to a couple of places “because of power lines and other damage,” Acres said. “All state chain saw teams have been placed on alert and will be activated as local leadership determines needs.”

Tennessee Baptist church DR chain saw teams and a feeding unit, based out of the Hamilton County Baptist Association, are working this week helping victims of two March 2 tornadoes, which roared through the north end of the county.

At least 11 volunteers worked March 5 in the Harrison area near an inlet off Chickamauga Lake where they are cutting trees of homes and roads, said Bob Neely, disaster relief ministry coordinator of Oak Street Baptist Church, Soddy-Daisy.

 Joining the six member team from Oak Street Church are others from Dallas Bay Baptist Church, Hixson; and Ridgedale Baptist Church, Chattanooga.

“We went because the Lord sent us here,” said Neely while he surveyed a lake subdivision that has experienced “total destruction. This is the worst hit area of Hamilton County by the tornadoes.”

The senior pastor of Oak Street Church, Joe Sanchez, who lives in the area, and local news reports prompted the teams to answer the needs, Neely added.

Brainerd Baptist Church, Chattanooga, which has a feeding unit, was mobilized March 2 by both Chattanooga Chapter of the American Red Cross and Chattanooga Salvation Army Units.

Working out of the kitchen of the Crossroads (BX) building of Brainerd Church volunteers began by serving 350 meals March 3 with 12 volunteers; 2,200 meals March 4 with 15 volunteers; and 200 meals March 5 with five volunteers. Vehicles from the Red Cross and Salvation Army took  meals to Ooltewah, Harrison and Georgetown area where an EF2 tornado was reported.

In Jackson County, local Tennessee Baptist disaster relief volunteers were helping around 30 homeowners who had damage to their homes, reported Acres.

Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, (TEMA), Nashville, noted around 20 counties were reporting hundreds of homes and businesses damaged or destroyed and 45 people injured from four confirmed tornadoes March 2. No fatalities were reported from this system.

In addition, a Cumberland Plateau Baptist Association disaster relief chain saw team and associational churches are responding to the storm victims of an EF2 killer tornado, which roared through the Rinnie and Isoline communities, located near Crossville on Feb. 29. The association is based in Crossville.

Kirk Casey, director of missions for Cumberland Plateau Association, reported that 10 association volunteers worked on a chain saw team March 1 removing tree limbs from four homes on the northern end of Cumberland County near Highway 127.

TEMA reported 95 homes were affected in Cumberland County including two homes destroyed near the area where two storm related deaths and five injuries occurred. TEMA also reported an EF1  tornado in DeKalb County where 50 homes were affected including seven homes destroyed. One fatality was also noted. 

“We have 13 volunteers clearing out a totally destroyed home,” said Casey on March 2. The home belonged to members of Lantana Road Baptist Church, Crossville, he noted, adding that three other damaged homes where the team was working belonged to members of Isoline Baptist Church, Crossville.

No association churches were damaged, Casey reported.

A chain saw team from Clinton Baptist Association, Clinton, responded March 3-4 along with Cumberland Baptist Association team, Clarksville, noted Casey. A Red Cross command center and an emergency shelter was established at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Crossville; and Isoline Church served as a feeding distribution center on March 1.

Damage assessments were done on March 1, and Red Cross rebuild assignments are continuing to come in, Casey added. Casey is serving as the off site coordinator for the response teams. Tom Rice, Cumberland Plateau Association disaster relief director, is the on site coordinator for the teams.

To give online go to www.tnbaptist.org and follow the links to the DR pages.  Checks, designated for general disaster relief or “Spring Storms 2012,” can be mailed to Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 728, Brentwood, TN  37024.

— Article includes reporting by Baptist Press.  



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