The historic flooding that hit southern Louisiana in mid-August has taken 13 lives, damaged more than 60,000 homes, and led to the rescue of 30,000 people from homes and vehicles. But First Baptist Norfolk has been a part of helping those affected. One of our church members, Bob Williams, served as the team leader for two Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia (SBCV) disaster relief teams in Baton Rouge from Sept. 3-18.
Two other First Norfolk members, Andy Hartell and Randy Morton, served on the first team, and other team members were from Richmond, Colonial Heights, Lynchburg, and Marion. During the second week, the disaster relief team members were from Chesapeake and Chase City. The First Norfolk flood recovery disaster relief trailer was used to support these two teams.
Williams and the two teams aided homeowners in preparing their homes for reconstruction. Some homes were still flooded at the time the teams were in Louisiana. As the water receded, there was much work to be done: water-damaged items were discarded; wall surfaces, insulation, and floor coverings were removed; bathrooms and kitchens were torn out; home interiors were power-washed to remove flood residue; and sanitizing solution was sprayed throughout homes to prevent mold growth.
More important than the humanitarian relief, Williams said, is the emotional and spiritual care they provided. Every disaster relief team member is also trained in spiritual care.
“Our most important role is sharing the living hope we have through faith in Jesus and the resulting inheritance that we have that does not perish, spoil, or fade (1 Peter 1:3-4), as has happened to their homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces,” Williams said.
“We come in the name of Jesus to offer hope to hurting people. We bring hope through our physical presence; someone from afar has come to be with them. We bring hope through humanitarian relief; the cleaning and sanitizing of their homes. We bring hope through emotional solace; we offer a shoulder to cry upon, an ear to listen. Their families and neighbors have had the same experience; emotional relief occurs when sharing their story with someone who has not experienced the same disaster. We bring hope through spiritual care; we affirm believers in their faith, and share the living hope of Jesus with non-believers.”
Donate online to help the Louisiana flood response effort.