Relief ministry winds down, but recovery service opportunities remain in Bastrop

January 31st, 2012 at 1:38 pm

BASTROP – Texas Baptist Men disaster relief efforts have ended in Bastrop, but service opportunities remain available through Texas Baptists disaster response efforts.

Texas Baptist Men wrapped up its disaster relief efforts with the end of its new sawmill ministry that transformed burnt trees into lumber that can aid people in the recovery process. Since September, Texas Baptist Men has performed more than 400 “jobs,” ranging from clean-up to preparing meals.

The relief portion of ministry is complete, but recovery and rebuilding efforts will continue. Following the model established in recent years, Texas Baptists have picked up those latter efforts and will help churches and mission teams connect with opportunities.

Dick Talley, TBM’s logistics coordinator, praised the way TBM’s volunteers responded to wildfires across the state in 2011, including Bastrop. When units discovered needs, teams assembled and provided what was needed quickly and efficiently.

“Texas Baptist Men is all about meeting the needs of victims in the time of disaster,” he said. “We have trained our men well. They responded well.”

TBM was honored to serve Bastrop residents in their time of need, Talley said. As a result of what the volunteers did, Talley believes people in the area received practical help as well as emotional and spiritual encouragement.

Talley also thanked Bastrop leaders for their willingness to help TBM respond to the crisis. Their assistance proved invaluable.

“The entire community, no matter where you went in a yellow hat, would thank you,” he said. “The stores would bend over backward to provide what you needed to help their people.”

Mission opportunities still remain, said Marla Bearden, Texas Baptists’ disaster response specialist. No matter what skills people have, there is a place in the on-going rebuilding and recovery process in Bastrop. To help fill the need for help, the convention is attempting to mobilize 100 volunteers to serve March 12-16 in the Bastrop area.

“Texas Baptists volunteers are needed in Bastrop to assist with clean up, new construction, distribution center work and spiritual care,” she said. “A Disaster Relief Center is being created to store donated building supplies. Volunteers are needed to assist in setting up this center. Also, the Bastrop County Fire Distribution Center is in need of volunteers and donations.”

Bearden praised the ministry of Texas Baptist Men and believes it is crucial for Texas Baptists to continue serving in areas affected by the wildfires.

“It is important for Texas Baptists to be involved in the long term recovery in Bastrop and Smithville,” she said. “First Baptist Church in Smithville is working with the faith-based community to create ‘Faith Village’ – a facility that will house volunteers for up to two years. These areas have experienced the largest wildfire in Texas History, destroying over 1,600 homes. The faith-based community is pulling together to assist these who have been affected. Texas Baptists are part of that community being the hands and feet of Jesus to those who need our help.”

For more information about mission opportunities in Bastrop and Smithville, visit www.texasbaptists.org/disaster. For more information about Texas Baptist Men’s ministry, visit www.texasbaptistmen.org.

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