NORMAN—Oklahoma Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers headed east toward South Carolina in two waves Oct. 10 and 12 to join their counterparts from other states in helping to share the love of Jesus Christ in the wake of the worst flooding in that state in more than 1,000 years.
As the “Baker’s Dozen” of Oklahoma volunteers drove eastward, volunteers from Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee and the North American Mission Board (NAMB) Disaster Relief headquarters in Alpharetta, Ga. also were converging on the Palmetto State to do their part as well.
NAMB SBDR coordinators Eddie Blackmon and Cathy Miller deployed to South Carolina to assist with the response. Miller is assisting South Carolina SBDR in the command post. Blackmon is assisting the state as liaison with the American Red Cross.
In addition, NAMB mobilized two semi-trucks with supplies and deployed two recovery trailers.
Recovery efforts early on were being focused on five areas: Charleston, Columbia, Horry County (Myrtle Beach), Manning and Sumter, according to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Situation Reports.
The Oklahoma units were dispatched initially to the state capital of Columbia, then to the Charleston area, said Sam Porter, Disaster Relief Director for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, who said he had committed teams to the effort through Thanksgiving and hoped to provide assistance through the first two weeks of December.
A team of three Oklahoma Blue Caps—Jerome Hale and Gary Miller from Goldsby, First and Ken Pressley from Moore, Regency Park—left Oct. 10 to lead teams of college students and other volunteers in mud-out work in South Carolina. A 10-person Oklahoma mud-out team led by Blue Cap Richard Brown from Oklahoma City, Grace Place departed Oct. 13. Other members included Christi Capshaw, Hendrix; Charles Clark, Ada, First; David Crowell, Oklahoma City, Heritage; Sarah Nichols, Midwest City, Soldier Creek; Terry Myers, Mustang, Chisholm Heights; Georgiana Nuss, Cartwright, First; Jackie Pledger, Oney; George Rodriguez, Norman, Hilltop, and Dennis Troyer, Oklahoma City, Grace Place.
“This will be a marathon, not a sprint,” Porter said. “If we can get the next several weeks scheduled . . . our prayer is that we do not have anyone over-taxed on response time and still meet the needs of our SBCDR family in South Carolina.
“As we fully know here in Oklahoma, flooding recovery takes hard work, time and great sacrifice to be the hands and feet of Jesus in these events. As massive as the Carolina flooding has been, they will be at this for many months to come. However, I am reluctant to commit to South Carolina past Christmas, because I am concerned about ice storms that winter could bring to our state.”
Richard Harris, interim executive director-treasurer of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, wrote to the state’s Baptists in a letter posted by The Baptist Courier on Oct. 6: “We say we are serious about presenting the Gospel to everyone in South Carolina and to fulfilling the Great Commission in our lifetime. This flood crisis provides one of the greatest opportunities to reveal our love for our fellow citizens and obedience to the Lord who commissioned us. The empowering of the Holy Spirit is ours to change the population of heaven and hell as we love folks in Jesus’ name.”
South Carolina Baptist disaster relief assessment teams, chaplains, two feeding units, mud-out and chain saw teams and a laundry unit have been deployed to various locations in the state, The Baptist Courier reported. Command centers have been stationed at the South Carolina convention office in Columbia and at the Charleston Association.
Among the volunteers were Keith and Kristyn Getty, contemporary hymn writers best known for “In Christ Alone,” who held a benefit concert Sun., Oct. 11, at Columbia, First.
Meanwhile, NAMB and the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief developed a Flood Bucket List, which includes supplies that can assist homeowners with cleaning up their flooded homes. Buckets have been assembled, and are available to homeowners who need special supplies to clean up after the flood, including the all-important retardant to keep mold from growing in their walls and floors.
Buckets are being distributed at regional sites at churches or Baptist Association offices in affected areas. Also, members of some churches are picking up flood buckets at distribution sites to take back to their communities.