Dear Oklahoma Baptists,
Below you will read a brief interview with Sam Porter, who leads Oklahoma Disaster Relief. Oklahoma Baptists were on the ground and serving the people in the Northeast as soon as we were given clearance to do so. Since that time, thousands of meals have been cooked, and thousands of man hours have been given to clearing property of trees and to mud out after the devastating floods following Hurricane Sandy.
Everything we do through Disaster Relief is done at no cost to those we serve. The dollar cost to support this effort is very significant. Please make a gift to Oklahoma Disaster Relief today. Your gift is tax deductible and will be used to support the tremendous work being done through our DR teams as they minister to people who have lost so much. Just click on the DONATE NOW button and make your gift.
Pastors, you may want to lead your churches to give an offering. If so, send it to the BGCO, marked Disaster Relief.
Thank you for making a difference in lives of people who have suffered great loss.
Anthony L. Jordan
An Interview from the Field with Oklahoma’s DR Director
The Baptist Messenger interviewed BGCO Disaster Relief Director, Sam Porter, on Nov. 8. Porter and approximately 100 Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are stationed in New Jersey and continue to work tirelessly to help families affected by Hurricane Sandy. To make a tax-deductible donation now, visit www.okdisasterhelp.com.
Sam, thank you for your service. Where all are Oklahoma Baptist DR volunteers today?
We have right at 100 Oklahoma Baptist volunteers, as well as other Baptists from other states, at New Monmouth Church in Middletown, N.J. The church is one mile from the coastline. The destruction does not go more than a half-mile inland in New Jersey, depending on the elevation of the land.
Talk about the aftermath of the storm.
The devastation right on the coast is typically what you see following a hurricane. This area does not get very many (hurricanes). On the Gulf of Mexico coast, they get more of them, and folks there are used to them coming. This area gets, I think, fewer. This storm was significant and has taken a huge toll.
What type of work are our people doing?
We are making a huge impact. For starters, we have chainsaw teams from Oklahoma clearing trees off of homes and property. You know, the city and county municipalities—the government—cannot go on the property of private citizens, but we can. We also have mud-out teams working. The pastors of area churches are identifying people in need, and we are meeting those needs.
Are there any specific lives touched you can talk about?
Absolutely. I think of a 22-year-old girl here we learned about. She has terminal breast cancer, and has never been married. A huge tree fell on her small, humble house, and over time, the tree would have fallen all the way in. This was a cottage house her family and friends had fixed up for her to be comfortable. The tree had fallen part way and we knew we could step in and save the rest of the house. Though it was raining and snowing, our volunteers took the tree down and put a tarp on the roof. They saved that house and gave hope to that young cancer patient. This is an incredible story and others are happening just like it. God is at work.
What can we do here in Oklahoma?
It is extremely expensive to take an operation of this size across the country. We spent extensive funds to get our people and equipment here. People really need to donate TODAY to the Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief Fund. Oklahomans also need to continue to pray. The prayers are working. When we left Oklahoma, we still did not know where we were going exactly in the Northeast. God led us to this community, which was the most impacted by 9/11 (one area church lost 34 people at that time). Today, this area needs our help again.
Also the number one area in which we will need DR volunteers in the future is flood recovery. Flooding is the number one disaster that kills people and does damage. It is hard work. We need more Oklahoma Baptists to step up and be part of the flood-recovery and mud-out teams.