Hurricane recovery assistance still needed in Louisiana, Northeast
At least 70 Southern Baptist churches sustained damage to their facilities from Hurricane Ida’s wind and floodwaters.
Six Louisiana Baptist associational leaders have asked Southern Baptists desiring to help to contact them directly:
- Don Pucik (Northshore Baptist Association) [email protected] / 501-350-5549
- Jack Hunter (New Orleans Baptist Association) [email protected] / (504) 296-1801
- Joe Arnold (Bayou Baptist Association) [email protected] / (985) 856-2224
- Richard Blue (Eastern Louisiana Association) [email protected] / (225) 305-0675
- Keith Sheridan (Baptist Associations of Southeast Louisiana) [email protected] / (985) 516-1467
- Tommy Middleton (Baptist Association of Greater Baton Rouge) [email protected] / (225) 337-2924
One mobile kitchen team from Mississippi was recalled from New Orleans Sept. 5, after three of the volunteers developed symptoms of COVID-19.
Hubert Yates, director of disaster relief for the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, said the infections were detected during routine screenings at the site.
As of this morning (Sept. 9), of the 17 team members present when the first case was detected Sept. 4, eight have tested positive for the virus, seven have mild to moderate symptoms and one has significant symptoms. None are hospitalized, and those with symptoms are receiving early intervention treatment. The remaining team members are undergoing quarantine and monitoring while awaiting test results.
The team’s assignment was turned over to a feeding unit from the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Yates said.
Tom Beam, disaster relief director for North Carolina Baptists, said since Sept. 3 North Carolina team members have prepared more than 60,000 meals and offered 190 showers and 166 laundry loads at First Baptist Church in New Orleans.
“Not only are we here preparing meals for people in need and cleaning out houses, we also have an opportunity to share the Gospel,” Beam told the Baptist Message. “We want people to know that Jesus is the best part of who they are. We already have heard of people asking more questions about the Gospel, asking more questions about who Jesus is and how Jesus can be a part of their life. Our volunteers make sure that they talk to people (about Christ) every day. We have heard that there are people that are thinking about accepting Christ and we hope that as we follow up with them through the next coming days that we will see that as a reality.”
First Baptist New Orleans Pastor Chad Gilbert said the North Carolina team has been one of many groups and individuals who have continued to pour out love to those in his community.
“Thankfully Southern Baptists have rallied,” Gilbert said. “Continue to send every resource you can. Maybe find a local church and partner with them uniquely to send resources, pray for them, partner, send teams. It’s been amazing for me to see God at work through the body of Christ. All the relationships that you have formed through the years with sister churches, other pastors, that in a moment to say we want to help is really comforting.”
Disaster relief teams from the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio, the Illinois Baptist State Association, and the Baptist General Convention of Virginia were mobilizing to Louisiana but were reassigned to assist the Baptist Convention of New England in responding to the severe damage Ida wrought in that area of the country, Yates said.
The Baptist Resource Network is requesting volunteers to respond to Ida’s massive flooding in Philadelphia and other areas in Pennsylvania and South New Jersey. Interested persons should apply here.
Donations to Mississippi Baptist Disaster Relief can be made here. Select “Give as an Individual” and designate the gift to Disaster Relief.
Check donations are also accepted. Make the check payable to the Mississippi Baptist Convention Board, designate Disaster Relief on the memo line, and mail to MBCB, P.O. Box 530, Jackson, MS 39205-0530.
Information about donating to Louisiana Baptists Disaster Relief can be found here.
IMB announces Hispanic Missions Sunday, Sept. 26
As part of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs Sept. 15-Oct. 15, the IMB is designating Sunday, Sept. 26, as Hispanic Missions Sunday. Churches are encouraged to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of Hispanic churches and Hispanic IMB missionaries in taking the Gospel to the nations.
“The IMB has Hispanic missionaries serving among unreached peoples around the world,” said Oscar Tortolero, Hispanic church mobilization strategist with the IMB.
More than 60 million Hispanics currently live in the U.S., and Tortolero reports that Southern Baptists have more than 3,000 Hispanic churches.
“We have a great opportunity to mobilize Hispanic churches to pray, to give, to go, and to send,” Tortolero said, referring to IMB’s goal to see increased partnership with Hispanic churches and Global Missionary Partners from Hispanic countries.
Resources, including videos, in Spanish and in English can be found at imb.org/hispanic-church-missions/.