Hurricane Ian recovery efforts continue
MYERS–Hurricane Ian passed through Florida three weeks ago, but the lengthy recovery task will continue in the days, weeks and months ahead.
With more than 1.5 million Florida residents impacted by the hurricane’s catastrophic destruction, Florida Baptist Disaster Relief teams made Crossroads Baptist Church in hard-hit Fort Myers one of nine staging sites throughout Florida’s southwest region. There, DR teams from other Baptist state conventions partnered with FLDR in the massive recovery response.
“In the days ahead there’s still lots of work to do. We still have families who are dealing with the aftermath of Ian,” said David Gold, lead pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church, in a social media video. He added that many church families are among those who have been “impacted significantly” by the hurricane.
Disaster relief volunteers in Fort Myers are primarily focused on removing debris, cleaning up homes, providing hot meals and free showers, and distributing nonperishable food items and water.
In partnership with One More Child and Send Relief, volunteers at Crossroads Baptist Church have also distributed formula, diapers and other essential items throughout their community.
As volunteers meet the practical and tangible needs of those in the storm’s destructive path, they also find opportunities to share the gospel message.
“What an incredible opportunity we have in these next few weeks to be a faithful gospel witness in the things that we do but also in the message we bring along with that hope and along with that help,” said Pastor Gold.
“There is a greater need in our community than being cleaned up from Ian. We have a deep spiritual need in our community, and people need to hear the gospel and the hope of the gospel, especially in these difficult seasons.”
Bert Holden, disaster relief volunteer and member of Covenant Fellowship Baptist Church in Stuart, agreed. “It’s hard work, but there is nothing more valuable than seeing someone come to know Jesus,” he said. “That’s why we’re here.”
As of Tuesday, Oct. 18, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams have served more 653,000 meals, completed almost 1,700 recovery jobs, volunteered 165,000 hours, presented the gospel more than 1,300 times, and have had 123 professions of faith.
As the recovery response continues, Pastor Gold encouraged his church members, “Keep loving on your neighbors.”