UPDATE:  SEPTEMBER 11, 2017:


AS WE WATCH FLORIDIANS DIG OUT OF THE HURRICANE IRMA DAMAGE (AND APPREHENSIVELY WATCH "JOSE"), WE SETTLE IN FOR A LONG REBUILDING/REPAIRING PROCESS AHEAD, HERE IN TEXAS.


If you are ready to get started, here's the link to the Texas Baptist Men's Volunteer Village: http://www.texasbaptistmen.org/About-TBM/TBM-Highlights/TBM-Highlights-Article/tbm-volunteer-village-is-open-click-here-for-details. 


YOU (YES, YOU!) CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  JUST HELPING FEED RELIEF WORKERS IS SOMETHING.  BUT TO USE YOUR TIME MOST EFFECTIVELY,  BECOME TRAINED IN DISASTER RELIEF.


IT'S NOT THAT HARD, AND IT DOESN'T COST MONEY.  THE SOUTHERN BAPTISTS HAVE A "YELLOW HAT" PROGRAM THAT HAS BEEN EMULATED BY MANY OTHERS.  AS LEADERS IN DISASTER RELIEF, THEY BEGIN WITH EFFECTIVE TRAINING OF THOSE DOING THE WORK.   RECEIVING "YELLOW HAT" CERTIFICATION OPENS UP LOTS OF DOORS.


THERE IS A MAJOR TRAINING PROGRAM TAKING PLACE IN TEMPLE, TX ON SEPT. 30TH.  WE CAN SEND YOU LINKS TO REGISTER.  LET US KNOW IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN TRAINING RIGHT HERE. 


WITH SUFFICIENT INTEREST, WE'LL WORK TO SCHEDULE SUCH AN EVENT AT BUCHANAN DAM.


CLICK ON THE RED BUTTON TO LET US KNOW YOUR INTEREST.



UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 7, 2017:


THE WORLD HOLDS ITS BREATH AS HURRICANE IRMA BEARS DOWN ON FLORIDA.  JUST LIKE THE "WORST-CASE" SCENARIOS FORECAST ABOUT HARVEY, THE POTENTIAL FOR CATASTROPHIC DAMAGE BY IRMA SEEMS ALMOST LIMITLESS.


JESUS' DISCIPLES ASKED HIM ABOUT SUCH TRAGEDIES IN LUKE 13.  JEWS HAD LOST THEIR LIVES TRYING TO MAKE SACRIFICES; A TOWER FELL ON SOME RANDOM INDIVIDUALS, KILLING 18 OF THEM.  DID THEY DESERVE THIS ANY MORE THAN THOSE WHO WERE SPARED?


JESUS SAID:  "NO, BUT UNLESS YOU REPENT, YOU WILL ALL LIKEWISE PERISH."


IN OTHER WORDS, IT'S A WAKE-UP CALL.  WE ALL DIE EVENTUALLY.  IF THE LORD DELAYS HIS RETURN, YOU WON'T GET OUT OF THIS LIFE ALIVE.  BUT WHEN DEATH HAPPENS, MAKE SURE YOU FACE THE LORD WITH A LIFETIME OF REPENTANCE AND GODLY LIVING BEHIND YOU, A TRUE DISCIPLE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.


THAT IS THE POINT BEHIND THE STORM.



First Baptist Church in Orange, Texas was flooded and is in a desperate situation. The church is made up of mostly elderly folks who are having to work on their own homes right now. The church has no insurance, but they have about $50,000 to use for reconstruction. However, they need immediate help with demolition. FBC Athens, TX helped this week by removing wet carpet. They have fans drying the place as we speak. 

FBC Orange needs a work crew to help remove drywall immediately. FBC Marble Falls is sending our Pastor and some staff & volunteers, but we need 5-7 more people to make the crew efficient. If we can get help filling out the crew from the Burnet/Llano Baptist Association the job can be completed quickly and we can all be back Saturday evening.

If anyone can help now please call Ross Chandler at 806-239-1029. Any tools you can bring will be appreciated.
Thanks,
Gary Stone
FBC Marble Falls



UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 6, 2017:

  • The "Evacuee Relief Program" for this area has all but ended, which is a major surprise.  After Katrina we expected to have them as our guests for a long time, but most have found lodging closer to their homes.
  • Inks Lake State Park has a few families left, but is resuming normal operations.  Grant Barkey's breakfast trailer has ended; please don't send any more eggs!
  • Area churches (including Chapel of the Hills) have been overwhelmed with donations of food, clothing, and (mostly) unusable misc. items.  Almost all of them (including Chapel of the Hills) cannot accept any more donations.  Do not drop off donations at Inks Lake State Park.  One disaster agent said:  "If you want to empty out your garage, have a garage sale and send the money to disaster relief."
  • Hope's Closet in Burnet is still accepting good, used clothing, but it will be used as part of their normal ministry in this area.
  • Our focus is quickly changing to relief in the affected areas, a monumental undertaking that will be going for years.  The large agencies are coordinating their efforts and maintaining the flow of information.  It is highly recommended that you have an informed plan before packing up your truck and heading that way!  Use your time and energy in the most effective way possible.
  • Chapel of the Hills will be offering Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief Training (Yellow Hat) very soon.  With this training you will able to open a lot more doors and make a bigger difference in people's lives.


UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 4, 2017:


  • First-hand reports from Rockport indicate an incredibly busy town, with the sound of chainsaws everywhere, people working, other people feeding them and the "giant machine with lots of moving parts" is humming right along.  Huge needs, but thousands of volunteers rising to the occasion!
  • Rockport hopes to have electricity back by Sept. 8th.
  • Other areas are in great need, without the publicity that Rockport received.  The major disaster teams are coordinating volunteer efforts, even as the flood damage is assessed.
  • HURRICANE IRMA could be in Florida as early as Friday.  Often these pass over the peninsula and continue on through the Gulf.  Brothers and sisters, it's time to pray!

UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 2, 2017:

  • The number of evacuees in the area is fluctuating rapidly.  Many have taken off to find their homes and inspect their property (not advisable without up-to-date knowledge of conditions back home).  Hotel space is extremely limited within 100 miles of the affected area - do not count on finding a room.
  • The overwhelmed State Park Staff is working hard to coordinate groups to feed the evacuees; be sure and get as accurate head count as possible before starting that project.  Many are going back home, but we have heard of a new influx from the Port Arthur/Baytown area, that may make it this far inland.
  • Many in this area were surprised that we weren't more crowded.   When Katrina hit we were filled to overflowing wherever we could put someone.  We've heard the State Parks closer to the affected areas are that full; we're just a little further away.
  • A number of our churches have people in Rockport today, assessing the damage and planning for future work trips.


UPDATE - SEPTEMBER 1, 2017:


  • Apparently the evacuees have been overwhelmed by the response from area churches.  Many churches are bringing their whole group out there.  We all mean well, but it can become a circus if we're not careful.  They are asking that we limit the servers to 10 at a time.
  • If you wish to provide food for the evacuees, be sure to contact the Park Office first!  We are hearing reports of folks showing up with food for 200 and being turned away because the need was already met for that meal.  Let's make sure that any effort we make is productive.
  • ROCKPORT:   From what we are hearing, Rockport is accessible, but not liveable.  There is a large tent in the middle of town; individuals who show up there are directed to an area of need, depending on what you've come to do.  The problem:  there is no place to spend the night (hotels are full all over), no water and no sanitation.  Most of the people helping in Rockport and places like it arrive early, work all day then go back home.
  • Are you considering donating to disaster relief?  Consider TEXAS BAPTIST MEN.  Go to texasbaptistmen.org.  National media recognized them as one of the three most effective agencies in handling such a crisis, and they have an incredible track record with previous such disasters. Their personnel training and equipment (state-of-the-art relief trailers, etc.) is excellent.  Best of all, money donated goes to the disaster relief, not salaries and buildings.  It is volunteer-driven and very effective.  Check it out!


As of today our first priority is in our front yard:  Inks Lake State Park. 


Around 150 (some say 180) survivors of the hurricane are stranded there with little more than the clothes on their back.  Many have no house (or job) to go back to.  Any money they have in the bank cannot be withdrawn.  It is a very desperate situation.
Our members (through our food pantry) have already sent hundreds of pounds of food to the park.  Our friend Grant Barkey is setting up a food trailer and will begin serving breakfast.  Hope's Closet is opening whenever necessary to accommodate their needs.  Other area churches are jumping in as well.

  • We have a contact at the park who is coordinating churches and meals to be served.  She has assigned Chapel to this Saturday, Sept 2nd.  We will be serving lunch to anyone at the park who wants to eat.  This is being coordinated by our Kitchen Committee and Adam Culver's family.
  • If you would like to help, you can meet us at the church at 11:00am to load up, or at the park (area in front of the Park Store) at noon.

Here are some thoughts about ministry to this group:

They are shell-shocked and hurting, embarrassed and worried.  You may encounter blank stares, anger, who knows what.  They need kind, loving and understanding people to be there for them.
We are taking ice from our machine over there often.  Big need.  Other useful items:  gas (or food) cards, rescue packs containing toiletry essentials, servicing/repair for their vehicles...
If bringing food, bring things that can be opened and eaten (like peanut butter and crackers).  Most do not have stoves/ovens and the utensils to cook a meal from scratch.

Do not drop off things at the park entrance!  The park has no storage facilities and most of the people have very little also.  You may bring stuff (like clothes) for them, but the rule is:  you take out whatever you brought in that wasn't needed.


Follow up to coastal disaster relief:

Thank you for your responses. 

  • Here are the links to the two basic training courses: https://training.fema.gov/IS/courseOverview.aspx?code=IS-100.b and https://training.fema.gov/IS/courseOverview.aspx?code=IS-200.b . Just copy and paste the addresses into your browser's address window.
  • These courses don't get into the nuts and bolts of disaster response, but, rather, provide insight into the way in which multi-organization disaster response is organized. This knowledge can help folks understand where they fit in to the overall disaster response effort.



This information is from Southern Baptists of Texas concerning a mass feeding project:
We have been asked to deploy kitchens into the Hurricane Harvey Disaster area as soon as it is safe for us to be there. Our Kitchen Units will be supplying food for people in shelters, for survivors in the area and for disaster relief workers.
 
We are anticipating this to be a long term event that will require all of our trained volunteers to participate. 
 
Contact Dewey Watson (info below) to let him know you would like to deploy.  
 
All we know now is that we will be:
Deploying into the Corpus Christi area
Staying in a church in Corpus Christi
Cooking in the parking lot
Rotating crews in and out every week on the weekends. 
Contact Dewey Watson-if you can deploy for a week
 
Dewey Watson
Task Force Director for Mass Feeding
dewey@fbcleonardtx.org
(940) 393-2119

The Hill Country Hurricane Relief Facebook Page
https://www.facebook.com/Hill-Country-Hurricane-Relief-168777210349653/


Disaster Relief - Hurricane Harvey