Posted on : Thursday November 9, 2017

Members from El-Bethel Baptist Church and the Christian Service Mission, Birmingham, Ala., helped repair the home of a Beaumont, Texas, resident in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Photo by El-Bethel Baptist Church.

FORT WASHINGTON, Md.– “I would give anything for a bottle of water.”

These were the sadly spoken words relayed to James Westbrooks from a friend who lives in Beaumont, Texas. He is one of the many victims of Hurricane Harvey. Westbrooks, a member of El-Bethel Baptist Church in Fort Washington, Md., shared this conversation with Pastor James Dixon Jr. and members of the congregation. Immediately, Dixon expressed his concerns and wanted to do something to help those impacted by the hurricane. Everyone agreed and was eager to assist in any way possible. After worship, Westbrooks and Mrs. Dessie Dixon, El Bethel’s First Lady and missions ministry leader, began conversing on how they could promptly provide assistance to the residents of Texas.

El-Bethel is a church that is extremely involved in missions across the United States and abroad. Due to its urgency, this project was quickly launched. Mrs. Dixon began seeking a contact person and started researching the needs of the area. From there, she created a strategy to ensure all of those needs were met. A special request was made on behalf of Beaumont and Port Arthur, two cities that were badly distressed and in serious need of assistance.

Members of El-Bethel Baptist Church and New Hope Church of Prince George’s County, among other Prince George’s Baptist Association churches, gathered supplies to distribute to Texan residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Photo by El-Bethel Baptist Church

Mrs. Dixon decided to post the list of necessities around El-Bethel and churches that are members of the Prince George’s Baptist Association.  The word began to quickly spread to other churches in the community as well as individual families. A drop off date/time was set for October 7, 2017, even though some of the churches began dropping off items as early as Wednesday of that week. By the end of the week, the donations were so vast that an eighteen wheeler truck was needed in order to carry everything to the destination in Texas. Mrs. Dixon admitted she had no idea the response would be so great.

Several volunteers from El-Bethel Baptist and New Hope Church of Prince George’s County volunteered their time and energy by assisting with sorting the many items and packing them neatly in boxes. The boxes were labeled with each church’s name so the recipients would know where the specific donations came from and understand that this was a joint effort by the community. The items were delivered to Texas approximately 10 days later.

Subsequently, Pastor and Mrs. Dixon then partnered with another Christian organization in Birmingham, Ala. Assisted by Doug DuBois, state director of disaster relief for the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, a construction team was dispatched to Beaumont to replace the roof, windows and deck on a family’s home in desperate need of help.

Mrs. Dixon says there is much strength and power when the Kingdom of God is the main focus of any task and Christ becomes our commonality. “This disaster relief effort had one purpose, which was to aid those who were in need. There is no single church who gets the credit, but God gets all the glory,” she said.

Churches who participated in this outreach included Abyssinia Baptist Church; Berean Baptist Church; Christian Service Mission, Birmingham, Ala.; Decision Point Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia; El-Bethel Baptist Church; Faith Fellowship Community Church; First Baptist, Capital Heights; First Rock Baptist Church; Fort Washington Baptist Church; New Direction Baptist Church, New Hope of Prince George’s County; Paramount Baptist Church; and Word for Life Baptist Church.