They work long hours in heartbreaking situations. They dig through mud, use chainsaws to cut massive trees, cook huge batches of food before the sun rises, embrace and console those who are hurting. And they share the name of Jesus wherever they go.
Florida Baptist disaster relief volunteers are always ready to respond with help, healing and hope to victims of disaster. Even now, Florida Baptist disaster relief teams are actively on mission, serving in flood recovery in Kentucky and Missouri. Hillcrest Baptist Church in Pensacola honored faithful disaster relief volunteers on a recent afternoon.
Jim Locke, senior pastor of Hillcrest, kicked off the celebration lunch by sharing how his family had been on the receiving end of recovery after a storm and what a tremendous blessing it is to know someone is there to help.
As disaster relief volunteers go and serve, said Brian Nall, executive director of Pensacola Bay Baptist Association and trustee for the North American Mission Board, the name of Jesus is shared. The names of storms will come and go, he said, but the names of those written in the Book of Life are the ones that matter.
In 2021, there were 2,102 professions of faith reported as a result of Florida Baptist disaster relief teams going out and serving.
Lewis Miller, Florida Baptist catalyst for the west region, reminded the group of Paul’s teaching in Philippians 2:3-4: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or vain conceit, but count others as more significant than yourself.”
When he first volunteered with Florida Baptist disaster relief, Ron Nall didn’t know what to expect. “Even though I did not know all the details of the shower/laundry trailer, God did, and He provided for our every need. From personnel to correct wiring issues, to a new generator to operate the unit, to a simple plastic gallon water jug for mixing cleaning liquids, to the physical strength to serve each day, God provided. I learned that if you will just make yourself available, God will take what you have and use it for His glory,” Nall said.
As disaster relief volunteers work together as a team, “Families are put in a position to see some light in the darkness of their situation,” said Sonny Davis, clean up and recovery coordinator for Florida Baptist disaster relief.
Dale Simmons, Hillcrest’s pastor to men and disaster relief coordinator, concluded the luncheon by encouraging volunteers to continue to “share hope by helping survivors who are waiting for someone to come along beside them.”