ORANGE Most people think of “preppers” as doomsday prophets who live off the grid with gas masks and a three-year supply of food rations waiting for the apocalypse. However, one Southeast Texas church sees value in emergency preparedness while using this niche as a mission field among the “preppers” community.
Little Cypress Baptist Church in Orange, Texas, hosted their seventh annual ”Crisis Preparation and Sustainable Living Expo” Feb. 18 to train members of the community on planning for natural disasters or major catastrophes, while also sharing the gospel with attendees.
The idea for the ministry stemmed from the church’s participation in disaster relief, pastor David Turner told the TEXAN. Due to previous natural disasters around the country—including severe flooding last year in Southeast Texas and parts of Louisiana—several LCBC members started volunteering with the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams to help revitalize the affected communities.
“We have guys who are a part of these teams and come back saying, ‘we get there, and nobody was prepared. Nobody had any food or water, or anything to sustain themselves,’” Turner said.
Although natural disasters are prevalent, Turner says the event is also designed to prepare for other catastrophic threats such as economic collapse, a terrorist invasion, electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack or nuclear destruction.
“People want to take care of their family,” he said. “People need to know what to do to survive in these types of events. … The most incredible spiritual awakening could happen after any major catastrophe.”
Classes offered at the event included beekeeping (for beginners to advanced), getting started with chickens, basic homesteading, soap making, planting, growing medical herbs, why to prepare and how to get started, low cost radio communication, and more.
Church members not only teach skills, but they also use the event as an evangelistic outreach.
“A lot of people who are involved with this aren’t Christians,” Turner said. “That is why several of the people teaching are members of the church [who] share their testimony during their class time.”
Outside of the various classes to attend, an expo hall was set up with vendor booths that ranged from iron casting to radio communication, from bee keeping—for uses such as making wax, hand scrubs, soap and honey—to growing a garden.
“One gentleman that joined our church, who is a prepper, is here doing a wheat grinding display in the expo hall,” Turner said.
Turner said the event is completely free to the public, vendors and teachers.
“It is all grassroots volunteer work,” he said. “Anybody anywhere can do this. It is a matter of asking God if this is something he wants you to do and be a part of.”
In the case of a hurricane or a tornado, Turner pushes the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) statement: “Everyone should have enough food and water for themselves to last at least a month.”
The hope for the future is for “Preppers” to grow in numbers with more vendors, classes offered and attendees, Turner says. The event is held every year on the third Saturday of February.
For more information visit www.littlecypressbaptist.org.