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

Celebrate ‘God’s Great Work’

It’s hard to believe, but this year’s annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) is only three months away. Planning for this year’s meeting has actually been going on for many months as a group of North Carolina Baptists who make up our Committee on...

Is your Christianity compelling or cliche?

I grew up in a traditional Southern Baptist church. I “walked the aisle” at the age of eight, prayed a prayer asking Jesus into my heart and was baptized shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, I lived a degenerate rather than regenerate lifestyle for the next 16 years. At the age of 24, I was newly...

3 Circles: A guide for a five-touch, follow-up discovery Bible study with unbelievers

In Acts 17, Paul communicates the gospel in a contextually appropriate way and the response is pretty typical: some mock, some believe and join with other disciples, and some want to hear more (Acts 17:32-34). My experience has been that many fruitful disciples come from this...

Coming soon: ‘Who’s Your One?’ tour

During this year’s Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala., former SBC President Johnny Hunt shared a statistic that caught my attention. Hunt said that if just 10 percent of SBC church attenders would pray for and lead one person to Christ in the next...

3 Circles: A versatile tool for ministering the gospel to a variety of cultural contexts

The 3 Circles is a versatile tool to communicate the gospel in a variety of cultural contexts. The reason for its inherent flexibility is due to a variety of factors. To begin with, it’s a framework, not a method. Previously, many Western evangelistic trainings taught step-by-step...

Nationwide ‘Who’s Your One?’ tour to kick off in NC

North Carolina will be the first stop on a nationwide “Who’s Your One?” tour sponsored by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) designed to equip and encourage churches in their evangelistic efforts. Temple Baptist Church in Fayetteville, N.C., will host the first event on...

Who’s Your One?

I was listening in our local church’s equivalent of a Sunday School class this past Sunday to people telling their stories. One man made a profound, yet simple comment. He said, “I heard the gospel because I had a neighbor who befriended me, prayed for me and shared the gospel...

Follow me, and I’ll show you how to fish

I remember the first few times I tried to use a rod and reel that was not a “push button.” You know — the one that requires pulling both the line and trigger to open the bearing, swinging your arm back, and then releasing both the trigger and line simultaneously. At first, this...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

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

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!