From refugees escaping war in Romania, and hurricanes in the Southern US, to earthquakes, devastating wildfires, and winter storms in our own state, California Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Volunteers continue to bring help and hope to those impacted by disasters.
This month we will be featuring some of the exciting kingdom work our disaster relief volunteers have participated in. It often seems that the task is too big or the mountain is too high, but when we engage, God not only opens the doors and provides for our teams, but He also blesses our efforts and those who serve.
You will be hearing stories from the field, straight from our chaplains, property recovery, and feeding volunteers, all giving God glory for the things they have seen Him do amid hardship and grief.
At CSBC, we are grateful for our volunteers who often drop everything to serve the displaced and brokenhearted. We know what it means to mourn with those who mourn and to rejoice with those who rejoice, and it is an honor to be in the midst of what God is doing just because we said “yes” when the call came in.
Just in the past few weeks, we have had callouts in response to winter storms that have continued from winter into spring across California. Our volunteers have mobilized, prayed, and given to help meet physical and emotional needs.
On Friday, a team arrived in Porterville, CA, to prepare and serve 300 meals per day for a week to Tulare County flood evacuees.
In addition to meeting the food and nutritional needs of the evacuees, our DR volunteers made a Kingdom impact in two areas just by being present. In Disaster Relief, we call it “ministry of presence.”
When The American Red Cross requests our partnership in feeding, that usually means we prepare the food, and they serve it. In this instance, the shelter at Porterville was short-staffed, so our DR volunteers, wearing our gold shirts, served meals and offered encouraging smiles and words to those who had been forced from their homes by rising flood waters.
At the shelter location, there was not enough space nor available resources for us to prepare the meals, so we contacted Nestor Amaya, the Director of Missions for the Sequoia Baptist Association, to see if there was a nearby church to partner with for space and resources. Nestor offered The Hills Community Church and said they didn’t have many activities since there were without a pastor. The presence of our volunteers preparing over 300 meals per day and overnighting at the church has certainly brought a light of help and hope to the church and community.
Our CSBC DR volunteers do make a difference, and I am thankful for each one that commits to training, being on-call, and going when called upon. If you would like to become a Disaster Relief Volunteer in California, follow this link below to find out more.
Mike Bivins is the volunteer mobilization and Disaster Relief coordinator for the California Southern Baptist Convention. His primary responsibility is to assist churches and individuals to engage in missions and Disaster Relief ministries. Bivins challenges CSBC congregations to be “disaster ready” for when calamity strikes their community.
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