Baptist Volunteers Help Survivors of Washington State Landslide

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers from the Northwest Baptist Convention prepare meals for emergency workers responding to landslide at Oso, Wash. Chaplaincy efforts have also been an important part of the response to the landslide that killed at least 24 and left 30 missing.  Photo courtesy of the Northwest Baptist Convention.
Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers from the Northwest Baptist Convention prepare meals for emergency workers responding to landslide at Oso, Wash. Chaplaincy efforts have also been an important part of the response to the landslide that killed at least 24 and left 30 missing. Photo courtesy of the Northwest Baptist Convention.

Northwest Baptist Convention disaster relief volunteers are part of the efforts to aid landslide survivors and emergency workers in northwest Washington.

Northwest convention volunteers were activated in late March to provide meals to survivors and emergency workers and to support chaplaincy efforts led by Enio Aguero, North American Mission Board chaplain coordinator for disaster relief.

The landslide left at least 24 people dead and 30 missing.

NAMB Disaster Relief Executive Director Fritz Wilson expressed appreciation for Northwest Baptist volunteers.

“It is great that the Northwest Baptist Convention and the local churches are able to handle this response,” Wilson said. “It shows the strength of their commitment and the value of the DR network. We are able to walk alongside them and offer help if they need it.”

Wilson pointed to the increasing capability and flexibility robust state conventions bring to Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts. In addition to Northwest volunteers in Oso, hundreds of volunteers have been assisting efforts to rebuild the East Coast damaged by Hurricane Sandy. More than 150 volunteers were in New York last week working on eight homes in the Sandy Rebuild initiative, representing 19 churches in the Bradley Baptist Association in Cleveland, Tenn.

Puget Sound Baptist Association disaster relief team members and other SBDR volunteers served their neighbors in the Oso, Arrington and Darrington communities. Additional volunteers are responding as needed, said Oso Chapel pastor Gary Ray, who is helping coordinate local ministry efforts.

“The untold story in this response is the Darrington, Wash., side of the slide,” said Northwest SBDR director Gary Floyd. The community east of the slide flooded. All power and communication was cut off by the March 22 mudslide but was restored several days later, Floyd said.

With the mudslide’s death toll, Mountain View Baptist Church’s ministry of providing funeral dinners will be active in the coming weeks, pastor Michael Duncan said.

The ministry originated some 60 years ago when ladies at the church would host dinners for bereaved families.

“When a logger was killed on the mountain, the wives would host a dinner for the family,” Duncan said. “It … grew from there.”

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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Joe Conway

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