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Mickey Noah

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Flooded graveyards among DR call-outs

BRAITHWAITE, La. (BP) -- Jerry Jones, mass feeding coordinator for Texas Baptist Men, knows how to run a large-scale food operation during disaster responses. But he was taken aback by a request for TBM volunteers to go to Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish to recover runaway caskets.       Along the Louisiana Gulf Coast -- from Braithwaite to New Orleans -- it's common local practice to bury loved ones in above-ground crypts because of the area's high water table.

Flooded graveyards among DR call-outs

BRAITHWAITE, La. (BP) -- Jerry Jones, mass feeding coordinator for Texas Baptist Men, knows how to run a large-scale food operation during disaster responses. But he was taken aback by a request for TBM volunteers to go to Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish to recover runaway caskets.       Along the Louisiana Gulf Coast -- from Braithwaite to New Orleans -- it's common local practice to bury loved ones in above-ground crypts because of the area's high water table.

As troops & their chaplains return, churches must be ready

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- They're coming home. They've witnessed death on the battlefield and led soldiers, sailors and Marines to Christ. They've baptized converts in water-filled barrels and led worship during rocket attacks. They've risked their own lives and sacrificed time away from their families. They are the among the nation's unsung heroes -- military chaplains. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has reported that 33,000 troops involved in the Afghan "surge" have been withdrawn, leaving another 68,000 U.S. troops and their chaplains still scheduled to serve in Afghanistan until December 2014. The last 100,000 troops in Iraq returned home last December. Since 9/11, a total of 2.4 million American military service members -- including National Guard and Reservists -- have cycled through the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard -- some more than once. "Our troops have been touched and changed forever by the life-and-death issues of war," said retired Army Chief of Chaplains (Maj. Gen.) Douglas Carver, now executive director for chaplaincy at the North American Mission Board. "They've seen things people shouldn't have to see. They're coming back home now, many of them bearing the burden of painful stories and bad memories. As veterans of war, our troops have forged lifelong relationships with their fellow service members. They're forever linked to a unique band of brothers and sisters -- bonded together in blood, sweat and tears." Their transition back to the "normalcy" of civilian life will be hard. "They're coming home to confront re-employment or unemployment, homelessness, loneliness, post-traumatic stress and, in some cases, substance abuse and suicide," Carver said. In fact, suicides in the U.S. Army reached a new monthly high in July, when 38 active-duty and reserve soldiers ended their lives, according to news reports. Suicides among active duty troops are averaging 33 deaths per month through Sept. 2, according to Pentagon data. Last year's total number of suicides in the military was 283. "All of our veterans returning home from war require some level of re-integration," Carver said.

As troops & their chaplains return, churches must be ready

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- They're coming home. They've witnessed death on the battlefield and led soldiers, sailors and Marines to Christ. They've baptized converts in water-filled barrels and led worship during rocket attacks. They've risked their own lives and sacrificed time away from their families. They are the among the nation's unsung heroes -- military chaplains. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has reported that 33,000 troops involved in the Afghan "surge" have been withdrawn, leaving another 68,000 U.S. troops and their chaplains still scheduled to serve in Afghanistan until December 2014. The last 100,000 troops in Iraq returned home last December. Since 9/11, a total of 2.4 million American military service members -- including National Guard and Reservists -- have cycled through the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard -- some more than once. "Our troops have been touched and changed forever by the life-and-death issues of war," said retired Army Chief of Chaplains (Maj. Gen.) Douglas Carver, now executive director for chaplaincy at the North American Mission Board. "They've seen things people shouldn't have to see. They're coming back home now, many of them bearing the burden of painful stories and bad memories. As veterans of war, our troops have forged lifelong relationships with their fellow service members. They're forever linked to a unique band of brothers and sisters -- bonded together in blood, sweat and tears." Their transition back to the "normalcy" of civilian life will be hard. "They're coming home to confront re-employment or unemployment, homelessness, loneliness, post-traumatic stress and, in some cases, substance abuse and suicide," Carver said. In fact, suicides in the U.S. Army reached a new monthly high in July, when 38 active-duty and reserve soldiers ended their lives, according to news reports. Suicides among active duty troops are averaging 33 deaths per month through Sept. 2, according to Pentagon data. Last year's total number of suicides in the military was 283. "All of our veterans returning home from war require some level of re-integration," Carver said.

SBDR needs Isaac mud-out, roof repair vols

NEW ORLEANS (BP) -- Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is seeking help with mud-out and assessment as it concentrates on clean-up, recovery and roof repairs for Hurricane Isaac victims, confident that meals are no longer needed.

SBDR needs Isaac mud-out, roof repair vols

NEW ORLEANS (BP) -- Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is seeking help with mud-out and assessment as it concentrates on clean-up, recovery and roof repairs for Hurricane Isaac victims, confident that meals are no longer needed.

Isaac-flooded Southern Baptist church now key site for victims

LAPLACE, La. (BP) -- In the span of a few days, Celebration Church's River Parishes Campus in LaPlace, La., changed from a dark, damaged, isolated church in the middle of a flood-created lake to a shining city on a hill -- the site of ministry to hundreds of Hurricane Isaac victims. Isaac's four- to six-foot storm surge inundated much of LaPlace, a city of about 36,000 people 22 miles west of New Orleans. Ironically, LaPlace was not directly impacted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but many of its current residents migrated there from New Orleans years ago to start new lives after losing everything they owned during Katrina. They didn't expect lightning to strike twice. Checkerz Williams, 39-year-old pastor of Celebration Church's River Parishes campus, knows firsthand the stress and pain LaPlace is feeling. The church on New Highway 51 -- part of the Celebration Church network based in Metairie, La. -- suddenly became an island surrounded by several feet of water after Isaac's 48 hours of torrential rain. "There are no levees around LaPlace," Williams explains. "Lake Pontchartrain rose quickly and the combination of surging lake water and swamp water spilled over into LaPlace. We had six feet of water in the streets downtown." LaPlace pastor for only 15 months, Williams had two to three inches of water in the home he shares with wife Nicole, a son and two daughters. After Isaac moved through, it took a few days, by boat, to reach his home and the church. "The church had four-to-six feet of water outside and two to three inches in the sanctuary," Williams said. "A team from our sister Celebration Church in Metairie sent people in to help us rip out the carpet, gut part of the building and start drying out. Water also got in below our platform in the sanctuary, so it had to be ripped up." Despite the damage, 100 of the church's usual 200 attendees showed up Sept. 2 for Sunday worship. "On the 2nd, we put down industrial paper on the floor, put chairs out, used mechanical lights and had our usual 10:45 a.m. service. We felt it was important to get our people back together, unite them and let them know everyone's OK." Williams preached on "believing through adversity."

Isaac-flooded Southern Baptist church now key site for victims

LAPLACE, La. (BP) -- In the span of a few days, Celebration Church's River Parishes Campus in LaPlace, La., changed from a dark, damaged, isolated church in the middle of a flood-created lake to a shining city on a hill -- the site of ministry to hundreds of Hurricane Isaac victims. Isaac's four- to six-foot storm surge inundated much of LaPlace, a city of about 36,000 people 22 miles west of New Orleans. Ironically, LaPlace was not directly impacted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, but many of its current residents migrated there from New Orleans years ago to start new lives after losing everything they owned during Katrina. They didn't expect lightning to strike twice. Checkerz Williams, 39-year-old pastor of Celebration Church's River Parishes campus, knows firsthand the stress and pain LaPlace is feeling. The church on New Highway 51 -- part of the Celebration Church network based in Metairie, La. -- suddenly became an island surrounded by several feet of water after Isaac's 48 hours of torrential rain. "There are no levees around LaPlace," Williams explains. "Lake Pontchartrain rose quickly and the combination of surging lake water and swamp water spilled over into LaPlace. We had six feet of water in the streets downtown." LaPlace pastor for only 15 months, Williams had two to three inches of water in the home he shares with wife Nicole, a son and two daughters. After Isaac moved through, it took a few days, by boat, to reach his home and the church. "The church had four-to-six feet of water outside and two to three inches in the sanctuary," Williams said. "A team from our sister Celebration Church in Metairie sent people in to help us rip out the carpet, gut part of the building and start drying out. Water also got in below our platform in the sanctuary, so it had to be ripped up." Despite the damage, 100 of the church's usual 200 attendees showed up Sept. 2 for Sunday worship. "On the 2nd, we put down industrial paper on the floor, put chairs out, used mechanical lights and had our usual 10:45 a.m. service. We felt it was important to get our people back together, unite them and let them know everyone's OK." Williams preached on "believing through adversity."

Chaplain back from Afghanistan but still on duty

AURORA, Colo. (BP) -- Army Chaplain (Capt.) Jared L. Vineyard sometimes finds himself much too close to the action.       That was true when he was wounded as an artillery officer in Iraq and later during a one-year stint as a Southern Baptist chaplain ministering to an infantry battalion in Paktika Province in eastern Afghanistan.

Chaplain back from Afghanistan but still on duty

AURORA, Colo. (BP) -- Army Chaplain (Capt.) Jared L. Vineyard sometimes finds himself much too close to the action.       That was true when he was wounded as an artillery officer in Iraq and later during a one-year stint as a Southern Baptist chaplain ministering to an infantry battalion in Paktika Province in eastern Afghanistan.