Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) continues to serve many areas of the state that were affected by tornadic activity, Sunday, Feb. 26.
Jason Yarbrough, DR state director, said more than 150 volunteers have been serving the past week. Not only are they in Oklahoma but volunteers are also finishing up work in Austin, Texas, helping that community recover from an ice storm last month.
Yarbrough is pleased with how quickly and efficiently DR has responded and worked to help.
“We have been working in Cheyenne,” Yarbrough said. “They started there on Monday and finished yesterday (Wed., March 1), working on eight different homes. We are in Shawnee and Meeker with a chainsaw team working there, and they are still working. I anticipate we will be there through the end of this week, possibly going to the beginning of next week. There’s some pretty big tree jobs there.”
Three teams are in Norman, and Yarbrough said DR may be stationed there for up to two more weeks.
“We have roughly 30 homes that we will be working on,” he said. “At the center (at Norman Bethel), we have shower and laundry trailers, and the feeding unit is there to feed our volunteers. Yesterday, there were 45 volunteers working in Norman.”
Yarbrough said he was impressed with how communities and churches have been serving, too.
“I saw 20-30 students out cleaning up debris in Cheyenne as well as probably a hundred community members,” he said. “It was a massive sea of people helping.”
In Shawnee, churches were already beginning the process of helping people. “It’s encouraging to me to see churches out there doing what they can do,” Yarbrough said.
DR chaplains also were walking streets while DR assessors were checking out homes that were damaged. Many spiritual conversations were made by the chaplains with people in affected areas.
“We’ve been well received at the homes where we are working,” Yarbrough said. “They are very appreciative and would ask why we are helping people, which always gives us the opportunity to share the Gospel with them.”
Yarbrough is beginning his third month on the job as DR state director. He is pleased with how the DR ministry with the many trained volunteers are on the ground serving those who need help.
“From this position you look at things differently,” Yarbrough said. “In the way this unfolded beginning Sunday night when the storms hit, by daylight the next day, we were at three locations already assessing damage. By the time Monday evening comes, we’ve completed jobs in Cheyenne; we have a plan of attack in Shawnee, and the command center is set up in Norman. There are so many details that were taken care of in just hours, and the way that volunteers began to respond and were at the locations ready to help—it’s just joy from my standpoint of seeing the desire in our volunteer to be able to come serve in a time of need.”
To donate to Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief or for more information, visit okdisasterhelp.org.