By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
ALEXANDRIA, La. (LBM) – During recent training sessions, Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief officials trained 234 volunteers to serve in future responses to natural disasters and other emergencies.
Held at six locations around the state in January, February and March, the sessions included training for mud-out, feeding, chainsaw, chaplaincy and shower/laundry operations. More than 80 new volunteers were trained, and two new teams were formed.
The training followed a fruitful year of ministry for LBDR teams.
In 2022, LBDR teams responded to multiple tornadoes across the state and completed 27 rebuild projects at homes and churches damaged by Hurricane Ida in Houma a year earlier. Projects ranged from smaller jobs like replacing fence boards to more complex ones such as drywall installation, electrical line re-wiring and plumbing replacement.
Teams also were deployed to Naples, Florida, a community impacted by Hurricane Ian in 2022. Units stationed at First Baptist Church, Naples, Oct. 3-Oct. 28, 2022, prepared more than 102,000 meals for residents, and another 4,000 for Southern Baptist DR team members. Teams also were able to complete 373 mud-out jobs and celebrated with 28 individuals who made decisions to follow Christ.
LBDR team members were assisted by Texas Baptist Men, the Ohio Baptist Convention and an estimated 400 members of FBC, Naples, who hosted the three state conventions.
Additionally, Louisiana Baptists donated to DR efforts through financial contributions and supplies. LBDR Strategist Stan Statham said he is thankful for Louisiana Baptists who see the value in disaster relief efforts.
“We continue to grow and make progress,” Statham told the Baptist Message. “Our ministry is volunteer driven and it’s crucial to have folks trained to respond to the next disaster.”
While large group disaster relief training sessions have ended for 2023, additional smaller group and online sessions will be available throughout the year.
For more information, e-mail Kelly.firstname.lastname@example.org.