EAGLE PASS—Disaster relief volunteers quickly mobilized after torrential rains along the Texas-Mexico border produced a meteorological encore reminiscent of last year’s devastating floods.
Rainfall of up to 16 inches on June 19-20 flooded homes and forced state and federal highways closed, the Eagle Pass Business Journal reported.
DR volunteers from the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention were concentrating on two of the areas hit hardest: the Eagle Pass subdivision of Elm Creek and the town of Quemado in northern Maverick County, said Scottie Stice, SBTC off-site disaster relief coordinator.
SBTC director of chaplains, Gordon Knight, arrived in the area June 23 to lead a combined group of SBTC and Texas Baptist Men volunteers. By last Friday (June 27), TBM workers redeployed to disaster relief in the Granbury/Cleburne area while 15-17 SBTC volunteers remained to finish the work along the Texas border, Knight said.
First Baptist Church of Quemado is hosting the SBTC DR volunteers.
“Pastor Brouning Lentz and the church have been wonderful,” Knight said.
SBTC chaplains, assessors, mud-out, operations and feeding teams have deployed to the area, Stice said.
“It’s been a busy week,” said Knight, who noted that as of June 27, three-quarters of the 37 work orders had been completed. More work orders were expected as people attended church services and realized help was available, Knight noted.
Much of the work has involved removing debris and damaged sheetrock, and applying Shockwave, a mold prevention treatment.
A tragic part of this DR deployment is the fact that many victims who were being helped were among last year’s victims as well, noted Knight, who told of assessing the home of a woman helped by the SBTC in 2013.
“She had just gotten her house back together. Last year we took her sheetrock off the walls to the ceiling. This year, it had to come off about two feet. That is the heartbreaking thing about this. They get the thing finished and the next year, here it comes and they’ve got to do it all over again,” Knight said.
Another issue has been the loss of livestock, which hurts a family’s livelihood, he added.
Adversity brings discouragement and vulnerability; SBTC volunteers have ministered to spiritual needs on the border as well.
“We have seen six or eight professions of faith,” Knight said. “While we were assessing the damage to one family’s home, our chaplains talked to them about their relationship with the Lord. Two sons and their mother wound up receiving Christ,” Knight said.
Across the border, Brigada Esperanza, the Mexican Baptist disaster relief organization long assisted by the SBTC, is ministering to flood victims in Ciudad Acuna, in the state of Coahuila, in its first-ever independent deployment.
“At the time Quemado and Eagle Pass were flooded, 12 colonias or neighborhoods in Ciudad Acuna flooded as well. Fifteen-hundred families lost everything; another 3,000 had water in their homes,” Stice said.
“We have been working with Brigada Esperanza for several years to get their disaster relief ministry launched, patterned after ours, and they are doing this deployment completely on their own,” Stice said.
Luis Martinez, director of Brigada Esperanza, confirmed that Mexican DR volunteers were serving “2,500 plates of food per day, prepared by the Baptist churches in Acuna.
Brigada Esperanza is also serving up the Bread of Life, as 22 professions of faith have occurred, said Jim Richardson, SBTC DR director. Mud-out operations are expected to commence soon, Richardson said.
SBTC DR volunteers are expected to remain in the area through the first few days of July.
“It’s been a long week and I am tired, but it’s a good tired. I would do it again,” said Knight, who was replaced by Darryl Cason as white hat coordinator over the weekend.