Southern Baptist compassion and care ministry fueled by the Cooperative Program
March 14th, 2017 / By: Jane Rodgers | TEXAN Correspondent / comments
Tornadoes, floods, fires … the worst of natural disasters provide the greatest opportunities for Christians to serve God by serving humankind in disaster relief, something the Southern Baptist Convention has been doing for a half century through Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR).
SBDR marked its 50-year anniversary in January 2017, a milestone of service made possible by funds provided through the Cooperative Program of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“Of those 50 years, we’ve responded to thousands of disasters, both domestically and internationally,” Mickey Caison, executive director of SBDR for the North American Mission Board (NAMB), said. “As part of that, we’ve seen thousands of people come to Christ out of that environment of damage and destruction.”
Dewey Watson, Southern Baptists of Texas Convention DR task force director, said disasters provide opportunities for churches to send out missionaries in the form of DR volunteers.
Disaster relief workers “reach people for the Lord in a way no one else can. When people are in need or are in crisis, their hearts are open, not only to the gospel but also to the love of someone else approaching them, helping them, through disaster relief,” Watson said.
NAMB reported Southern Baptist Disaster Relief has 65,000 trained volunteers, including chaplains, making it one of the three largest mobilizers of trained DR volunteers in the United States, with the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army. SBDR has 1,550 mobile units for feeding, chainsaw work, mud-out operations, shower and laundry services, water purification, communication, command and other tasks.
“We help people get their lives back in order so that they can function again after a disaster. The Cooperative Program helps us maintain a lot of our equipment. It helps us in training. We have to have funds to get people trained so they’ll know what to do when they are on deployment doing disaster relief,” Watson said.
“A person told me one time that people really didn’t care how much you knew until they knew how much you cared. In disaster relief, we care,” Watson added.