This year’s spring tornado season in Oklahoma has been especially active and, sadly, has left a wake of destruction across the state. Communities both large and small have experienced severe damage and suffered devastation. Homes and churches have been destroyed and, tragically, lives have been lost.

Amid the tragedy, the Oklahoma Baptists Disaster Relief (DR) ministry has been given the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ. Hundreds of volunteers have stepped in to help feed, clean and offer encouragement. According to Disaster Relief Director Jason Yarbrough, “We are thankful to be able to meet the physical needs people are experiencing to see a door opened for us to speak into the spiritual needs they have. We do what we do with God’s help, for God’s glory!”

This summer, children and youth at CrossTimbers and Falls Creek camps have joined in to help Oklahoma Baptist DR meet the storm victim’s needs. CrossTimbers hosts third through sixth grade students, and one of the mission stops is focused solely on encouraging those who have been impacted by the storms. The children are learning how the DR ministry works, praying for storm victims and are signing their names in the Bibles that will be given to each homeowner who receives help from DR volunteers.

Walter Bivens, a sixth-grade camper from Newcastle, First, is excited to sign the Bibles and pray for the victims. He says, “I think this is a good opportunity for us to get to strengthen a random person. We don’t know what troubles they might be going through, but everyone has troubles. Thismission stop is helping us learn to pray for and encourage others.”

At the Missions Outpost at Falls Creek, seventh through twelfth grade students are packing emergency hygienebags. These bags contain items to help people who have lost everything get through the first day or two. DR volunteers are able to distribute the bags when they enter disaster areas.

According to recent high school graduate Rich Sharrock from Paris, Texas, Southside, “I’m thankful that Falls Creek is giving us the opportunity to help pack these bags because it allows me to show the love of Jesus to those who are hurting. I want people to know that even though they may be going through a hard time that Jesus is still there, and people care about them.”

Together, both youth camps expect to host thousands of students this summer. Many hands are working, and many hearts are praying for those who have suffered loss. According to Sarah Hagar, CrossTimbers Camp director, “The storm impact has been big, but so has the response.” We are honored to have the chance to partner with DR and are proud of these students for stepping up and helping to meet the needs.”

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