There are few ministries that have the impact on people’s lives as Disaster Relief does. Almost 41 years ago, Laddie Adams had the vision to lead Oklahoma Baptists to establish a Disaster Relief team. Since that time, the Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief team has grown to more than 5,000 trained volunteers with one of the largest number of trained Disaster Relief chaplains in the nation.
In 1982, a building to house Disaster Relief equipment was built on Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) property at Boys Ranch Town in Edmond. This property has since been given to Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children. The present building is totally inadequate to hold the Disaster Relief equipment and supplies—two semi-trailer trucks, one two-ton box truck, mobile command center, three pickup trucks, and nine trailers. Currently, the equipment is exposed to the weather and deterioration. In addition, the growth of the ministry has increased the amount of traffic that flows through Boys Ranch Town, which is not desirable.
The BGCO has been looking and praying for God to provide a new location to house the Disaster Relief equipment. This month, Moore, First voted to donate five acres of their property for the building of a new Disaster Relief facility. This piece of property is a prime location on the frontage road of I-35. Volunteers will have easy access to the property, and it will be much easier for equipment to roll from this location. The property is close to the airport for volunteers who travel to other parts of the country and the world to assist in disaster relief work.
Few churches have faced greater distress from tornadoes than Moore, First Baptist. Four storms in the last 15 years have passed their way. This church has been the epicenter for disaster relief during recovery from these storms, and the partnership with BGCO Disaster Relief has been remarkable. Dr. Kevin Clarkson and the people of Moore, First, have made a major contribution to the future of the BGCO Disaster Relief ministry. We stand in awe of the provision made from our Lord through the gracious and generous people of Moore, First. “Thank you” is inadequate. A “glory hallelujah” and “praise be to our God” ought to rise from across our state for the generosity of Moore, First.
The donated property will allow space for a command center to be built that will provide offices, conference and training rooms, storage for equipment and supplies, a commercial kitchen, locker rooms, and showers. The BGCO plans to include a storm shelter in this state-of-the-art facility, and this new facility should provide for the future growth of BGCO Disaster Relief ministry for years to come. There will be space for volunteers’ cars to be parked in a secure lot when they are serving during a disaster.
The design of the facility is in process and we will soon have cost estimates. This opportunity will require funds to be raised to build the facility. The sooner the money is raised, the sooner this facility will be built. You will be kept informed, and we will all have the opportunity to give a contribution to this amazing ministry that touches people during the most difficult times of their lives.
I hope you will join me in applauding and giving thanks to Clarkson and the good people of Moore, First, for making such a remarkable gift to this strategic ministry. Once again God has opened the windows of Heaven and poured out a blessing beyond our thoughts and dreams. Praise His Name!