Samaritan's Purse

Collegians, seasoned DR volunteers team up in SE Texas

November 5th, 2017 / By: Jane Rodgers | TEXAN Correspondent / comments

Collegians, seasoned DR volunteers team up in SE Texas

College crews provide much needed help after Hurricane Harvey. Photo by Jane Rodgers

VIDOR—Traditionally trained Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams in Southeast Texas are benefiting from an influx of new workers—some young and limber, others a bit more seasoned. 

A collaboration of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s new Texas Relief program and the North American Mission Board’s SEND Relief outreach aimed at college students is helping flood-damaged churches recover after Hurricane Harvey.  

Over the weekend of Oct 7, the first college crews from SEND Relief descended upon churches in the Golden Triangle of Southeast Texas, where teams of college students worked alongside veteran SBTC DR volunteers.

FBC Vidor pastor Terry Wright praised the enthusiastic crew from the University of Alabama at Huntsville and the University of Mobile in addressing leaders of the Golden Triangle Baptist Network assembled at his church on Oct. 5.  

“Next week our numbers will climb to over 100 SEND Relief students,” Wright said, explaining that where once six or eight traditional DR workers might tackle a job, the additional college students provide “young shoulders and backs” to help.

“Instead of helping clean out a house every two or three days, we now hope to be doing a house every day,” Wright added. The SEND Relief students were dispatched throughout the region with FBC Vidor as a base. 

Wright said the effort also combined DR teams from FBC Vidor, other SBTC churches, Baptist associations, and the Illinois Baptist Convention. 

Wright praised DR teams from Kentucky, Illinois, Tennessee and church groups from around Texas for their help following the flooding.

“Church teams, local teams, college teams—whomever can come in is welcome,” Wright said.

FBC Kountze expected 20-25 college students from Louisiana over that same weekend, part of the SBTC’s Texas Relief program that streamlines training for new DR volunteers. 

SBTC DR unit director Paul Ester was coming to supervise the work of the college students, White said, adding that Friendship Baptist in Groves also expected to receive Texas Relief teams to work with SBTC DR veterans.

Texas Relief volunteers had already served in Houston.

“There is still significant work to be done in Southeast Texas. I don’t know if we are even halfway there,” Wright said, noting the number of citizens “doing their own stuff” in terms of recovery and adding, “We focus on folks who can’t do the work.”