Thousands of residents in Houston, Texas, are being evacuated from what has become a catastrophic, historic flood. This is one of the worst floods in U. S. history and is impacting countless people as Hurricane Harvey continues to create havoc on our neighbors in Texas.
Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief teams have been placed on STANDBY to be ready to deploy to Texas in the days and weeks ahead. We are asking that, as the Lord leads, please pray and GIVE NOW so we will help those families and churches impacted by this storm and flood.
As we make plans to deploy, our partners are developing the logistics for a large scale, long-term response. Lodging, meals, work sites, and more must be determined prior to teams making their way to the disaster zone. All this takes time and cannot begin until flood waters recede, which is not forecast until sometime Wednesday. To arrive now would have little impact and fail to provide genuine help to those affected, and most areas remain inaccessible. It is critical that teams arrive at the right time so that we can bring real help to those who are suffering.
SO, WHAT CAN BE DONE NOW?
First of all pray. Pray for those impacted, the first responders, emergency management leaders and Texas Disaster Relief and Southern Baptist Convention leaders as they seek to plan how we might respond in an effective way in the right timing. Pray for wisdom in planning and safety while traveling. Pray that God will open doors to the Gospel in this time of tragedy that teams might share the life-giving hope of Christ. Finally, pray that God’s will be done and that He be glorified in the midst of this tragedy.
Give. Thanks to your gifts to the Cooperative Program, the Eliza Broadus Offering for State Missions, and the Annie Armstrong Offering for North American Missions, your partnership in giving helps support these disaster relief efforts. However, we know that this historic response will require more funding to make a difference in the lives of those affected by this significant disaster. You can donate through the Kentucky Baptist Convention either by mailing checks designated for disaster relief or by giving online. Your church can collect gift cards to be sent to our partner Southern Baptist conventions in Texas where they will be distributed to those in need. Remember, these gift cards allow the survivors to purchase items they need and the dignity of making the purchase themselves.
For our disaster relief workers, prepare to go! For those who are not trained but desire to go, we believe that there will be opportunities in the weeks ahead for many volunteers to serve. You can also get disaster relief training in Richmond, Ky., on Saturday, Sept. 16.
While there is always a desire to collect “in kind” donations (such as water, clothes or household products), these are not always the best. It is expensive to ship items and the required logistics on the ground for sorting, storing and distributing is a burden on the receiving community. Sometimes, we can also send well-intentioned but unneeded supplies. Gift cards are often a better option!
Those who are interested are encouraged to donate online where 100 percent of the contributions go to Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief efforts and to assist those affected by disasters.
Coy Webb is the director of Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief, a ministry of the Kentucky Baptist Convention in Louisville, Ky. To give online to the Hurricane Harvey disaster relief effort, go to www.kybaptist.org/harvey. To learn more about Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief, please visit www.kybaptist.org/dr.