Thousands of residents in Texas are currently being evacuated from what has become a catastrophic, historic flood. This is one of the worst floods in U.S. history and is impacting countless people as Hurricane Harvey continues to create havoc on our neighbors in Texas. Louisiana is also being affected with evacuations already underway in the Lake Charles area.
Ohio Baptist Disaster Relief teams have been placed on ALERT to be ready to deploy to Texas in the days and weeks ahead. We are asking, as the Lord leads, please pray and give NOW so we will better be able to help those families and churches impacted by this storm and flood.
As we make plans to deploy, our partners are developing the logistics for a large scale, long-term response. Lodging, meals, work sites, and more must be determined prior to teams making their way to the disaster zone. All this takes time and cannot begin until flood waters recede, which is not forecasted until sometime Wednesday. To arrive now would have little impact and fail to provide genuine help to those affected, and most areas remain inaccessible. It is critical for teams to arrive at the right time so they can bring real help to those who are suffering.
Image Source: National Weather Service - NOAA
Projected track of Harvey over the next few days.
SO, WHAT CAN BE DONE NOW?
First of all pray. Pray for those impacted, the first responders, emergency management leaders and Texas/Louisiana Disaster Relief and SBC leaders as they seek to plan how we might respond in an effective way in the right timing. Pray for wisdom in planning and safety while traveling. Pray God will open doors to the Gospel in this time of tragedy and for teams to share the life-giving hope of Christ. Finally, pray for God’s will to be done and He be glorified in the midst of this tragedy.
For DR workers, prepare to go! Our trained volunteers are preparing to respond when called. Pray for them as they prepare, go, and serve. Specifically seek God’s favor in travel, health (spiritual and physical), and through their service, HE will be glorified. Pray for their family members left at home.
Give. Thanks to your gifts to the Cooperative Program, the Ray Roberts Offering for State Missions, and the Annie Armstrong Offering for North American Missions, disaster relief efforts have already begun. It is your partnership in giving that helps support these ministries and relief efforts. However, we know this historic response will require more funding to make a difference in the lives of those affected by this significant disaster. You can donate through the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio, either by mailing checks designated for disaster relief or by giving online. Your church can collect gift cards to be sent to our partner Southern Baptist conventions in Texas and Louisiana where they will be distributed to those in need. Remember, these gift cards allow the survivors to purchase items they need and the dignity of making the purchase themselves.
Another way to give is through In-Kind Donations. We will be collecting various in kind donations through October 15. Refer to separate instructions for details.