Putting your best foot forward in disaster relief means being prepared before disaster strikes. Beginning in March, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention is offering three disaster relief training sessions. Also, the convention is planning three seminars to help families prepare for life’s “what if” situations.
The SBTC disaster relief training prepares volunteers to go to places like Haiti, reeling from the Jan. 10 earthquake, or to help in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Ike or the 2007 California wildfires.
“We go in to help them return to some form of normalcy,” said Jim Howard, pastor of Westside Baptist Church in Atlanta, Texas, a disaster relief volunteer and the task force director for the SBTC. Howard has participated in disaster relief in Lebanon, the Philippines, California, Kentucky, Louisiana, and south Texas. He also did ministry in Haiti in 1985.
Howard said his main reason for becoming a disaster relief volunteer was to share the gospel.
“Some of these people probably wouldn’t have help, they wouldn’t have insurance. And I saw that as a mission area that was not being really tapped into by the church,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity and a great mission field.”
Two training phases are offered: Phase one consists of basic, hands-on training as well as instruction in one of the following ministries: feeding, childcare, communications, chaplaincy, laundry and showers, and initial clean-up and recovery. Phase two provides advanced training in a selected ministry as well as basic CPR and first-aid.
Phase one training dates and locations:
?March 6 at Inglewood Baptist Church in Grand Prairie.
?April 16 at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston.
?May15 at First Baptist Church in Vidor.
Phase two training will be offered May 3-8 at Riverbend Baptist Encampment in Glen Rose.
In addition to disaster relief training, the SBTC offers three seminars to prepare families and churches for disasters. These include: family disaster preparation, church and/or association disaster preparation, and disaster awareness. The seminars range from 30 minutes to four hours.
“It’s just another part of the outreach of Westside Baptist Church that has been a great help in the ministry of the local church,” Howard said, noting that disaster relief training has widened the church’s mission reach from the Atlanta area to the international setting.
To register for any of the trainings, visit sbtexas.com/dr or contact Amber Nygaard toll-free at 877-953-7282 (SBTC).