Posted on : Thursday September 21, 2017

Disaster Relief volunteers in Florida. Facebook photo by Clayton Clark/Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

By Shannon Baker

IMMOKALEE, Fla. — Beginning Sept. 17, over 35 volunteers and all of the disaster relief units for the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware have been deployed to First Baptist Church, Immokalee, in Florida to assist in recovery after the devastation of Hurricane Irma.

In a Facebook video, Pastor Timothy Pigg of First Baptist Church, Immokalee, Fla., interviews Doug DuBois, BCM/D’s state director of disaster relief, about all the relief efforts.

DuBois said six recovery teams are currently serving in the immediate area around the church, where an office has been set up and people can bring in work orders of what needs to be done on their properties. Some of the volunteers go out and do evaluations on what is needed.

All the requests are put into priority order and are assigned to the teams to complete over the next two-to-three weeks, or “as long as necessary,” DuBois said. The work includes chainsaw work, putting tarps onto roofs, immediate repairs caused by the rain and wind, and providing water, food, and ice to members in the community.

“Doug is doing an awesome job,” Pigg said.

Currently, the following units and volunteers are deployed:

  • Lynnhaven Baptist – a recovery unit and the BCM/D feeding unit
  • Potomac Baptist Association – recovery unit
  • Blue Ridge Baptist Association – recovery unit
  • BCM/D – recovery unit
  • First Baptist Church, Upper Marlboro – laundry unit
  • Ocean City Baptist Church – Shower unit
  • Baltimore Baptist Association – feeding team

God is working through the efforts.

Rick Merritt of Lynnhaven Baptist Church shared Christ with Jose (last name unavailable), a Florida resident affected by Hurricane Irma. Jose had walked by the trailer where Merritt was working.

“You’re the Christians who are working on the houses?” Jose asked him. “Yes, we are!” Merritt responded, asking Jose if he knew Jesus. “No, I am a sinner,” Jose replied.

“We’re all sinners,” Merritt explained. After asking questions about not being clean, Jose prayed, accepting Jesus into his life. “He says he’ll be at the church Sunday morning. Praise God!” Merritt said.

“We’re out here trying to do work and trying to meet the immediate needs but the ultimate goal is to pray and to meet the spiritual needs for the people we encounter here in Florida,” DuBois said. “We appreciate your prayer support.”

Ideally, according to DuBois, between 50 – 75 Maryland/Delaware volunteers a week for the next month will be needed for deployment to regions affected by recent hurricanes.

If you are able to deploy, please visit online at https://md.disasterreliefonline.com to complete or create a profile, watch an introductory training video, and await instructions. If you have any problems, please contact Niki Taylor at [email protected].

Those interested in giving financially to assist the effort can donate online at www.bcmd.org/give. Consistent updates about disaster relief also are available.