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‘God’s vehicles’: Texas Baptist Men respond to Dallas flooding

Volunteers with Texas Baptist Men remove furniture from a flooded home in Dallas.

DALLAS (BP) – Texas Baptist Men flood recovery team leader Art Brandenburg was greeted Aug. 26 when he arrived in Balch Springs to help homeowners recover from flooding in the Dallas suburb.

“One of the men came out and our vehicles are parked across the street in a field,” Brandenburg said, “and he walked up to me a while ago and he said right there, ‘God’s vehicles. That’s God coming right there. I see those vehicles, I see God coming to help us.’”

The man and his siblings were trying to clear damage from the home of their father, a senior citizen with medical issues.

“I met with his adult children. So we’ve been visiting with them and finding out what their needs are and trying to help them out where we can,” Brandenburg told Baptist Press. “We’re here because we feel like God called us to be here. We get up in the morning, we don’t know where we’re going. We just go where God sends us.”

Brandenburg led a flood recovery team of 15 men in the first response to the flooding from the 100-year rainfall that befell Dallas/ Fort Worth Aug. 21-22, dumping 9 inches of rain within a 24-hour period.

TBM will deploy additional flood recovery teams next week in the heavily populated area of northeast Texas inundated with water, TBM Director Relief Director David Wells said, with the outreach expected to last weeks.

TBM is responding even as DR volunteers from Texas are responding to more extensive flooding in Kentucky and Missouri over several days in late July.

“You’re looking at close to 30 people involved in this ministry (in Dallas),” Wells said. “And then at the same time, we’ve got 50 people, volunteers, right now still in Kentucky doing flood recovery there.”

About 200 homes flooded in the Dallas/Fort Worth area with one death, according to news reports. In eastern Kentucky, the death toll is at 39; with two deaths in St. Louis, Mo.

Local volunteers continue to answer the call to help those in need, Wells said.

“A lot of them have been to Kentucky and back here, but they’re excited to come in,” Wells said. “Now some of the folks that would come and help us here locally could not go to Kentucky because they couldn’t be gone for a full week. So some of these folks that are helping us now … can come for a day or so.”

TBM’s response to the Dallas flooding began Wednesday with assessment and the distribution of free boxes and packing materials through two TBM box unit trailers. Flood recovery units are removing damaged flooring, drywall and appliances, and treating the cleaned areas to prevent the regrowth of mold, all at no cost to the homeowner.

The length of the Dallas deployment will depend on how many of the 200 homeowners with damage need help. Often, homeowners don’t have flood insurance to cover the damage.

“We couldn’t do this without the support of the Southern Baptist Convention and without the donations, because we’re a volunteer group,” Brandenburg said. “I just appreciate all the people who donate, and the companies, and the Southern Baptist Convention that help support us so we can go out and do this.”

Wells, who retired from the pastorate of Sandy Baptist Church in Hillsboro, Mo., before serving with TBM, said he has seen God work through disaster relief ministry for decades.

“I’ve seen through the years that DR is really the hands and feet of Jesus. We’ve seen that through working with churches and as I led my churches to do these things, saw volunteers’ lives changes and saw the survivors’ lives changed,” Wells told Baptist Press. “Through that, it changed my life in that of helping others, and being those hands and feet of the Lord.

“And we preach and we teach that through Southern Baptists, but what I see in disaster relief is one of the arms that does it on a regular basis and does it in a powerful, powerful way.”