Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) is ready for Oklahoma Baptists to join the ministry and be ready to serve whenever and wherever a disaster strikes.

DR trained volunteers cover many life stages, from college students to retirees.

Don Williams, director of Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief, said the year 2020 took its toll on many trained volunteers. He said two Blue caps (team leaders) went home to be with the Lord last year.

“We just pray that the Lord calls somebody else out to do it,” Williams said. “We don’t go out unless we have a team leader, and we are down team leaders.”

Becoming a Blue cap team leader involves being a part of the DR system and knowing how the process works.

“Once you have been with us and done a couple of deployments, your pastor can recommend you, and your director of missions can have input,” Williams said. “We will have new Blue caps go out with another Blue cap for on-the-job training.”

Disaster Relief training happens throughout the year. The next state training will happen May 15 at Muskogee, Southeast. Pre-registration is required by visiting okdisasterhelp.org. The website also features other training dates that will happen later this year.

Feeding teams are one of the areas DR volunteers are trained to do. This group is serving in Louisiana after Hurricane Laura struck last year.

Volunteer orientation is open to any member of a Southern Baptist church who is at least 18 years of age. Attending orientation does not obligate anyone to serve, but is necessary before serving.

A Disaster Relief ID badge will be issued to those who complete orientation and a background check. Updating an expiring/expired badge requires everyone to complete orientation and a background check; currently, every three years.

Orientations and credentialing events may include feeding, chainsaw, mud-out/ash-out, shower/laundry, first aid, damage assessment, blue cap training and more. Damage assessment and blue cap training are limited to returning team members who have completed prerequisites.

“We want people who are following God’s call to help their neighbor,” Williams said. “God calls us to serve, and this is a way to serve. We allow as many folks as possible.”

Williams mentioned that many Oklahoma DR volunteers are retirees, but college students, especially those involved with Baptist Collegiate Ministries, have also served through DR.

“When you put together a college student with a senior adult, they perk up,” he said. “It is amazing to watch, and everybody gets a lot of work done.”

The other emphasis Williams makes about DR is its purpose to honor Christ, make Him known and advance the Gospel by helping those in need.

“We teach in our training that we do physically, so we can speak spiritually in people’s lives,” Williams said. “Our motivation is not to ‘feel good’ for doing something. Our motivation is Christ. When we are asked why we are doing what we are doing the answer is always ‘Jesus.’”