Florida Baptist Convention, Disaster Relief

Emotional & Spiritual Care

Touching Lives, Instilling Hope, Sharing Jesus

Florida Baptist Spiritual Care Team members seek to comfort and encourage all who are affected by a disaster. We introduce hope by sharing the gospel as we encourage survivors to overcome the ravages of the disaster and to reach out for assistance and support as they rebuild their lives.

Please go to the Florida Baptist Chaplains Network website for more information.


joy“I grew up in a Christian home and was blessed to attend an excellent, Bible teaching church.  But for some reason, I didn’t get saved until 1998.  Even before I was saved though, God had given me a heart for broken people.

Anyway, I was a baby Christian when the Twin Towers were destroyed.  I watched people everywhere open their homes to Christians in a way I had never seen before.  I watched churches burst at the seams with shattered masses crying for meaning, for answers, for comfort.  By Thanksgiving they were gone; church attendance was back to business-as-usual.  I knew that people abandoned churches as quickly as they had arrived because they were not offered what they so desperately needed.  They came looking for a mighty savior, and we offered them a flabby, impotent, church full of “exciting and relevant programs,” and all kinds of junk that obliterated that mighty savior!  That last part of 2001 was a turning point for me.  I wanted church to be different.

When Hurricane Charlie hit I was helping with the youth in my church, and a friend from Davis Islands Baptist Church asked me if we would like to help with clean-up.  We arrived at their church VERY early on a Saturday morning, and we were dispatched with a team heading for Wauchula.

The devastation was beyond description!  But if you’ve been to a disaster site, you know exactly what I mean.  We arrived at the town’s Baptist church to find the only civilization around for MILES!  It was a yellow city built in a parking lot!  Showers, laundry, food.  There were many, many pallets of 21/2 gallon bottles of water, stacked over 6′ high, and as many pallets of gallon bottles.  There was another, very well known relief organization present too.  I would have expected them to have a large presence, but all they had was one man passing out 1 liter bottles of water from the back of a pick-up truck.  The Baptists, by comparison had a fully functioning city.  It reminded me of what I read about ancient Roman Armies!  It was obvious that they didn’t organize this feat after Charlie hit!  No!  This was a well-prepared, well-oiled machine!  And I wanted to be a part of them.

We were there a week after Charlie hit, and we met people who were still numb.  No electricity.  No help had arrived.  My 9th graders and I was the first people from the outside!  (There is no blame to be laid here; there are only so many police officers and EMT’s!  Charlie’s swath was as wide as the state!)  And my kids, who had always been on the sulky, lazy side, dragged trees to the curb, took carpets outside to dry, swept out mud …. and got fire ant bites!  When we got back to the church, we were fed the best meal I have ever eaten.  I wish I knew the people on that food team!  One of my girls said she didn’t eat rice or anything starchy.  I was angry for her obvious lack of gratitude and perspective, but a kind woman, picked through the chicken and rice to get her lots of chicken pieces!  All of that disaster relief, and there was still grace for a picky eater!

God is so faithful!  I ended up marrying a man who also has a heart for the broken.  He’s studying for his M.Div. in Chaplaincy, and I’m finishing my degree in Counseling.  Both of us want to work in disaster relief, and do “whatever” to pay the bills.  In my last counseling class, my professor told me I could EASILY find work in CISM, even before I got my Master’s!  I never even heard of CISM!  Isn’t God wonderful?”

– Joy Brown
FLDR Volunteer