Disaster Relief: Grace in the aftermath

August 8, 2018

For many, 2017 will be remembered as a year marked by devastation. Last year’s hurricane season was one of the most costly in U.S. history. A series of major storms, which included hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, caused unprecedented damage in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and other parts of the United States.

In response, N.C. Baptist Men, also known as Baptists on Mission, mobilized to respond to 18 different disasters providing hands-on assistance. Over the year, they were able to repair 128 homes, clean more than 3,000 loads of laundry, serve more than 500,000 meals, complete nearly 700 flood clean-up jobs and provide more than 15,000 showers to people desperate for a simple act of normalcy in the midst of chaos.  

Their assistance to the people of Puerto Rico changed lives.

Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in September 2017, left thousands without food, power or shelter. Six months after the storm, large portions of the island were still left without electricity. 

Dozens of volunteers from Baptists on Mission flew to Puerto Rico to provide on-the-ground support. They purified 16,000 gallons of water and sent recovery teams to pick up debris, clean out houses and repair roofs.

“It’s very hard to have a positive outlook on life and have hope when the least – which is to have a safe place to live in – you don’t have it,” says Laura Ayala, who helped coordinate Baptists on Mission’s relief efforts in Puerto Rico. “So that’s what these teams have been doing.They have been giving hope back. They have been sharing the love of Christ with the people in a tangible way because everybody knows that what they’re doing is not just building a roof they’re building back hope.”

“So that’s what these teams have been doing.They have been giving hope back. They have been sharing the love of Christ with the people in a tangible way because everybody knows that what they’re doing is not just building a roof they’re building back hope.”

Baptists on Mission will continue its work in repairing Puerto Rico – as well as other sites impacted by natural disasters – in the months to come. The organization receives much of its funding from the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO), which is received primarily during the month of September. Each year, 41 percent of the NCMO funds are allocated to Baptists on Mission for ministries like disaster relief. 

This year, the offering’s theme is “Open Hands” from Psalm 145:16 – recognizing that God has opened His hands to us so that we may open ours to others. The work Baptists on Mission do through the generosity of NCMO shows the love of Christ, in a very practical way, to those in the midst of suffering. 

“Every time a roof is done the community celebrates it. So even though their houses might not be all fixed, I think the message to the community is that they are not forgotten,” Laura says. “God cares and is sending people to take care of their needs.”


by Caroline Barnhill  
/  Contributing Writer

‘Reimagine’ resource addresses today’s realities, tomorrow’s possibilities

How does your church see this COVID moment? On a recent webcast by the Barna Group titled “Caring for Souls in a New Reality,” panelists posed the question, “Is this an interruption or a disruption?” An interruption means that this is only a temporary interference in our lives,...

5 tips for engaging your online community with the gospel

It’s been important for pastors to support others who’ve been struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, possibly in ways they never have before.   But as a pastor, how do you reach your community if they’re no longer walking through your church doors?    The digital space has...

So you’re a follower of Jesus: ‘Now What?’

I vividly remember the season when I decided to give up running and join a gym. Up until then I had been an avid runner and enjoyed it. It was a great stress reliever for me, but I didn’t have much physical strength — I was weak and I wanted to change that.    I remember going to...

Finding God’s ‘shells of grace’ in our western culture

The 2016 Disney Pixar film “Finding Dory” details the life of a blue tang fish named Dory who deals with short-term memory loss. The animated movie explores complex issues such as mental health, the power of community, and the interplay between humans and wildlife.    One theme...

Considering a strategic vision for digital engagement

There is a difference between using something and leveraging something. You can use money to buy things you may or may not need. But that does not equate to leveraging it. Leveraging money as an investment could double or triple the initial investment. Using takes something at...

Speaker added, registration open for 2021 Disciple-making Conference

Church leadership coach, and author Will Mancini has been added to the lineup of speakers for the 2021 N.C. Baptist Disciple-making Conference, which is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 23-24, in a hybrid format. Registration for the conference is now open.   Mancini,...

Come thou long expected Jesus

I love lyrics. Song lyrics. Poetic lyrics. Storytelling lyrics. Lyrics are oftentimes prayers expressed creatively, musically and authentically. This is certainly true of the Psalms. Far from a random assortment of sentimental journal entries, the Psalms are an arranged body of...

‘Reimagine’ is focus of 2021 Disciple-making Conference

A single line in an ancient text chronicling the nation of Israel’s history contains an important truth for believers today. Not much is known about the sons of Issachar who are referenced in 1 Chronicles 12, but they are described in verse 32 as having an “understanding of the...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay connected by signing up for the N.C. Baptist monthly newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!