Volunteers bring hope after Ike
By Carol Pipes
For years the big, blue pillars flanking the bridge
to Galveston Island have welcomed tourists and beachcombers to the city. In the
weeks following Hurricane Ike they welcomed Southern Baptist disaster relief
volunteers who helped restore hope in the hearts of Hurricane Ike victims by
preparing an average of 31,000 meals per day.
In the wee hours of the morning on September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike
hit Galveston and continued to cut a wide and destructive path across the
northern Gulf Coast of Texas and into parts of Louisiana.
Residents of Galveston said it was the biggest storm to hit the
island town since 1900.
“I’ve been through five hurricanes here, but this is the biggest
I’ve seen,” said Russell Conner, a resident and business owner in Galveston.
Conner rode out the storm staying at the highest point of the island. His
downtown storefront was under 12 feet of water when the storm surge swept in
from Galveston Bay.
“Southern Baptists have been great,” Conner said. “This is the best
response I’ve seen in a disaster like this. You guys are giving us the support
we need as we start over.”
Southern Baptist volunteers manned a feeding site with The Salvation
Army and the American Red Cross on Galveston Island. From September 24 -
October 23, they had already prepared almost 700,000 meals.
“We’ve been taking food out into the community,” said Glenda Watson,
a disaster relief volunteer from Leonard, Texas, and a Southern Baptist
chaplain. “The people are just so appreciative. One woman just sobbed when we
prayed with her.
“We met another man who lost his home in the storm, his wife left
him, and now he is living in his truck. We gave him a blanket just so he’d have
something to keep him warm,” recalled Watson. “It’s just the little stuff that
you can do to make people happy.”
In disaster relief activity related to Hurricanes Ike and Gustav,
SBC disaster relief feeding kitchens have now prepared over 4.7 million hot
meals for hurricane victims and volunteers.
As of October 21, disaster relief teams have chalked up almost
41,541 volunteer days; completed 4,000 mud-out, chainsaw and roofing jobs;
provided 41,000 showers and 12,876 laundry loads; and recorded 19,000 ministry
contacts, including 3,000 chaplaincy contacts, 982 Gospel presentations and 186
professions of faith.
This issue of On Mission is dedicated to the thousands of short-term
missions volunteers who give of themselves every year to help grow the Kingdom
of God. Last year more than 125,000 Southern Baptists participated in some form
of short-term missions through the North American Mission Board. The
opportunities to serve are boundless. We hope this issue will inspire you to
start planning your next mission trip. Are you ready to go?
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC