BROWNSVILLE?Disaster relief volunteers from First Baptist Church of Brownsville delivered 9,000 gallons of drinking water labeled with the gospel message into regions of northeastern Mexico flooded by rains from Hurricane Alex, resulting in dozens of salvations decisions.
Steve Dorman, pastor of First Baptist Church of Brownsville, said all 9,000 gallons of water came from anonymous donors, with 4,000 gallons of it offered unsolicited only a day after receiving the request from Monterrey in the wake of flooding from Hurricane Alex.
Iglesia Bautista Filadelfia in Monterrey was the hub for distributing the water, bottled with labels that include the gospel message. Adolfo Villarreal, a member of the First Baptist Brownsville pastoral staff and a Monterrey native, went to Monterrey to help with logistics in an area where water had been scarce for a week.
Preaching from the bed of a pickup as long lines of people gathered for the water in Monterrey, Villarreal reported that “80-90 people” recorded salvation decisions.
“All because of a little water being provided in the name of Jesus! Praise God! Thanks again for making this possible,” Dorman wrote in an e-mail to several people.
First Baptist Brownsville learned of the needs in Monterrey, Dorman said, from missionaries familiar with the Filadelfia church there.
“The price of water was exponentially high?if you could find it,” Dorman added. “So it’s just so exciting to see God putting all this together. We have nothing to do with it except we’ve been conveying information on the needs. God has been the provider.
“We’re excited and praying that God will use that and strengthen that church’s ministry to bring people to the Lord and that [Filadelfia church] would find itself in good favor in the city,” Dorman said.
Meanwhile, SBTC Disaster Relief teams were working in several areas along the Rio Grande.
Jim Richardson, SBTC DR director, said as of July 14, a mud-out unit from Del Rio-Uvalde Baptist Association was deployed with six volunteers in Eagle Pass, along with a New Mexico mud-out unit.
Also, SBTC cleanup and recovery volunteers along with chaplains and assessment teams were serving in Laredo and Rio Bravo, where seven people recorded salvation decisions. Laredo was also being helped by an SBTC shower unit, and a laundry unit from the Louisiana Baptist Convention.
Hurricane Alexand the tropical storm it became have brought torrential rains to northeastern Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley along the Texas-Mexico border, causing thousands of people to evacuate to higher ground. According to the Los Angeles Times, Mexican authorities reported the immediate death toll as between 15 and 30 people and two weeks later, government authorities were only beginning to fully account of the damage.
One fatality included Jose Manuel Maldonado, mayor of Piedras Niegras, Mexico, who was touring the flooded areas in a small airplane near Eagle Pass, Texas when the plane crashed. Four others on board also died, according to news reports.
With the Rio Grande at its highest levels in decades, flooding forced two international bridges to close with water reportedly lapping the underside of the bridges. On July 7, Texas Gov. Rick Perry ordered National Guard troops and other state emergency personnel to the area to help.