Pictured on the right, Rene Gamez of Bartlesville, First helps oversee the Family Life Center which is hosting Oklahoma Baptist DR.

BARTLESVILLE—In the aftermath of the powerful May 6 tornado that devastated the town of Barnsdall, and also hit the city of Bartlesville, Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) is actively serving in these areas.

To support these DR efforts and the people they serve, one church has opened its doors to house DR’s volunteers serving in these tornado-affected areas of northeast Oklahoma communities that are in need of relief. Bartlesville, First has opened its Family Life Center to house more than 70 Oklahoma Baptist DR volunteers, which DR state director Jason Yarbrough called “a great help.”

“We are here to bring help, hope and healing to our neighbors and friends here in northeast Oklahoma, even as we continue to serve in other areas of the state who are also recovering from the late April tornadoes. For First Baptist Church of Bartlesville to open its doors to us makes our work as disaster relief possible,” Yarbrough said.

The Family Life Center of Bartlesville, First, is used by the church and open to the community for a wide array of activities. From sports events to community events, the facilities are in high demand.

According to Yarbrough, the DR Command Center which is set up at Bartlesville, First and the Washington-Osage Association DR barn on the church’s property, is providing a great base of operations for the work.

“We have assessors and chaplains canvassing both the Bartlesville and Barnsdall communities, gathering work orders and ministering to homeowners. We have chainsaw-recovery teams serving in both communities, as well,” Yarbrough said.

Bartlesville, First’s Interim Pastor Gregg Simmons and Children’s Pastor Rene Gamez, who oversees the Family Life Center, view it as opportunity to bless people in need and the people who are serving.

“We are honored to help host these great disaster relief volunteers, who are blessing so many in Bartlesville and Barnsdall,” said Gamez. “This is what we want to be about as a church—to show the love of Jesus and to use what God has given us to help others.”

Among the volunteers staying at the Bartlesville, First location is Jim Norton, a DR volunteer from Tulsa.

“I came to Bartlesville with teams who just completed serving in areas of Oklahoma who were recently impacted by tornadoes,” said Norton. “I love being part of these teams and this work.”

DR volunteers from areas including Coweta, Broken Arrow and Tulsa, have been serving in other areas including Sulphur and Morris. Now they have now come to the Bartlesville area, to provide much-needed services, including meal preparation, chainsaw clearing of trees on homeowners’ properties, chaplaincy ministry and other DR work.

Yarbrough is deeply grateful for every DR volunteer. He is also grateful for everyone who is making a financial contribution to the work Oklahoma Baptist DR.

“The Lord is working through us to share the Gospel and provide hope and help, as people continue to serve and give,” he said.

For more information, or to make a tax-deductible donation to Oklahoma Baptist DR, visit www.okdisasterhelp.org.