NOT A SACRIFICE’ Disaster relief team spends Thanksgiving on the road

Doug and Suzi Scott of Atlanta, Texas spent Thanksgiving on the road this year?in a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Abilene apart from family?by choice.

They’d do it again, even though Suzi Scott admitted her grown children and grandkids were a bit disappointed to hear Grandma and Grandpa would be elsewhere over the holidays.

The Scotts, veteran disaster relief volunteers, were driving back to their East Texas home as part of an 11-person clean-up and recovery team dispatched by the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention disaster relief ministry to help in the aftermath of this fall’s Southern California wildfires.

“We were out there on sites every day,” Doug Scott explained. “We got there on a Saturday night (Nov. 10) and started to work on Sunday” before heading back home on Thanksgiving.

Southern Baptist disaster relief teams from California, Utah, Idaho and Oklahoma joined the SBTC team.

Working in the foothills north of San Diego on the La Jolla and Rincon Indian reservations, the crew drove about 40 miles every morning from the church where they were sleeping in Ramona, Calif., and helped the residents on the reservations remove debris while trying to salvage what was left of their homes.

Many of the residents have moved elsewhere because of the fires, but some remained behind and worked alongside the crews, Doug Scott said.

“The ones we did come in contact with were very appreciative of what we were doing,” he said, explaining that when asked why they had come all the way from Texas, they responded, “Jesus told us to love our neighbors, and you are our neighbors.”

Doug Scott said most of the structures on the reservations were mobile homes or adobe buildings where some of the walls were left standing. One of the most difficult jobs included sifting through ash and dirt for metals and keepsakes that might have survived the fires.

Suzi said while sifting through the ashes, covered in charred debris, she thought to herself, “This is all that is going to be left anyway,” only to remember that without Christ, “this is all that they see.”

“The Indians were very open to witnessing,” she remarked. “They are by nature very spiritual people. Some of them were Christians. One encouraging thing was, nobody ever said, ‘No, I don’t want you to pray for me.'”

Even though some are Christians, others believe God is found in the rocks and the trees, Suzi noted.
“It’s really not a sacrifice,” she said of missing Thanksgiving with family. “It’s really a joy to be involved in it. We had one of the best Thanksgivings we’ve ever had.”

Suzi said the bonds formed among disaster relief volunteers last a lifetime, and she recommends the ministry to any man or woman.

“The fellowship you enjoy as part of the ministry team is a just a tiny, tiny, glimpse of the fellowship you will have in Heaven,” she said.

“Pray that the spiritual blindness would be taken away, that those who believe in the spirit of the trees and rocks would know the true Holy Spirit,” she pleaded.

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