A team of five Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) volunteers arrived in the Pacific island of Guam on Sept. 17 to help do clean-up, repair and rebuilding following Typhoon Mawar. Other state DR teams are being formed to travel to Florida in response to Hurricane Idalia.

Oklahoma Baptist DR team helps with rebuilding efforts in Guam after Typhoon Mawar struck the island.

The team in Guam—led by Brent and Barb Headrick—includes John Howell, Jerome Hale, and Mark Stottman, who are from various parts of the state.

“This team is serving with other DR volunteers from Arizona, Illinois, Tennessee, and North Carolina,” said Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief Director Jason Yarbrough. “They will serve there until September 30. This response is being coordinated through the Hawaii Pacific DR Ministry and working in conjunction with FEMA to provide this assistance to our U.S. territory.”

Meanwhile, clean-up continues following Hurricane Idalia in three areas of Florida—Perry, Live Oak, and Iverness.

“We reached out to both Florida and Georgia in the wake of Hurricane Idalia making landfall to offer to come and help however and wherever needed,” Yarbrough said. “Georgia has been able to close their response site in Valdosta as all work has been completed—approximately 450 homes.”

Yarbrough said he received a call from David Coggins, Florida DR state director, on Mon., Sept. 18, asking if Oklahoma could join in the response efforts by sending chainsaw teams.

“So, we are in the process of assembling teams to send to the region to serve the families in Florida still in need of help,” he said. “It is likely that our teams will depart on either Sept. 23 or 24 to make the 1,000-mile-plus trip to Florida. These teams will be taking their equipment trailer, as well as a trailer loaded with their heavy equipment.”

There have been 698 households/families served since Idalia hit, but there are still more than 1,000 homes needing chainsaw and/or roof tarping.

“We exist as a ministry of Oklahoma Baptists to have the opportunity to bring help, hope, and healing to individuals affected by disasters,” Yarbrough said. “We love being the hands and feet of Jesus and advancing the Gospel while we serve. There have been 52 recorded professions of faith since the response started.”

Yarbrough encouraged Oklahoma Baptists to pray for the teams as they serve both in Guam and in Florida.

“Also, please consider making a gift to Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief as funds are needed to help us respond when needed, whether that be in Florida, across the nation, across the ocean or right here in Oklahoma,” he concluded.

To donate to Oklahoma DR visit the website, okdisasterhelp.org.