The sun was shining, and the white fluffies dotted the crystal blue sky; but the shoulder-high piles of debris lining both sides of the street as far as the eye could see spoke of a very different day in the not-so-distant past. It was the August 2016 Flood of Louisiana – the second most expensive natural disaster in American history, only preceded by Hurricane Sandy.
As always, the disaster was not a respecter of persons or neighborhoods, leaving no one untouched. Many were experiencing one of the biggest crisis of their lives – losing basically all personal property.
Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief sent in chaplains to comfort and encourage the hurting people. On this day, Jerry Parker and Keith Crawford stopped for a visit with widower Rebecca. She welcomed them inside her home where extended family were helping sort through the soppy mess, hoping to salvage as much of her life as possible.
Stepping outside, where stacks of hoped-to-be-saved items filled the carport, Jerry asked Rebecca a question. If she died tonight, and Jesus asked her why He should let her into heaven, what would she say? Rebecca stammered a little, searching for words. She mentioned something about church attendance and a preacher daddy but really didn’t seem to have a clear answer for the pointed question. Jerry shared the Hope of the Gospel, Jesus Christ, with Rebecca and invited her to receive Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Rebecca said, “Yes,” and bowed her head in prayer.
Within a moment, eternity was changed for Rebecca. She became a new creation; and her countenance immediately reflected just that. Tears flowed, and a gentle smile engulfed her weary, lined face. It was a new beginning, a fresh start. What Satan had meant to harm and destroy, God used to bring life and healing.
Arkansas Baptists care about people. This is the reason we pray, give, and go. Sometimes the need is flood remediation, removal of tree limb debris, or a hot meal to get through another long day of trying to bravely put life back together again. Always, Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers go to share the love and hope of Jesus Christ. Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are trained and credentialed, often provided immediate access into areas of crisis where we can meet people at their points of need.
You, too, can become a trained, credentialed Disaster Relief volunteer by attending one of the five regional Disaster Relief training events throughout the state this year. Please prayerfully consider if Disaster Relief is a ministry in which the Lord is calling you to serve.
“Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
– Mark 10:43-45