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Vt. in ‘desperate need’ of mud-out help
John Evans, Baptist Press
September 07, 2011

Vt. in ‘desperate need’ of mud-out help

Vt. in ‘desperate need’ of mud-out help
John Evans, Baptist Press
September 07, 2011

MONTPELIER, Vt. – As Southern Baptists ramp up recovery

efforts in flood-stricken Vermont, an avalanche of requests for assistance is

overwhelming available resources.

“We’re in desperate need of some mud-out teams,” said Bruce James, evangelism

and men’s ministry director of the Baptist Convention of New England (BCNE).

Said Jim Wideman, BCNE executive director, “There have been 600 requests for

mud-out (work), and I don’t know that we’re going to be able to fulfill all of

those. We just don’t have the personnel.”

Flood damage in Wilmington, Vt., paralleling the challenge throughout the state, underscores the need for mud-out volunteers being voiced by the Baptist Convention of New England.

One hundred mud-out requests have already been assessed and approved for work,

said James, who serves as the convention’s disaster relief director. Four

mud-out teams from South Carolina and California are on their way, but James

estimated they can only do about 25 jobs total. He said the need for relief

work in other states is stretching Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR)

resources.

“We’re spread thin right now, Southern Baptists are, and we thank God for the

help that’s coming, but that’s a lot of the reason (we haven’t had more teams

coming),” he said.

In the meantime, James said, local churches are stepping up to the plate with

their own volunteers, some of whom are working in mud-out teams led by SBDR

crew leaders. Four chaplains are needed immediately to minister with mud-out

teams as they work in communities, he said.

SBDR currently has two incident command centers in Vermont, one at Resurrection

Baptist Church in Montpelier and another at Capstone Baptist Church in North

Bennington. Assessors are still on the ground, and SBDR is working with area

church planters to help with disaster recovery and improve the church planters’

contacts with people in their communities.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned since I’ve been up here,” James said, “New

Englanders … value things that add worth to their community and their way of

life, and when they see a Southern Baptist team that’s come from a long ways

off or the next state over, and they see them giving their time to help their

community, they don’t forget that.”

Vermont will need longer-term recovery help, he said, with people needing to

replace their furniture and have construction work done. Funds are being set

aside for local churches and church planters to continue recovery in places

where relief work is finished.

“It just keeps the process going,” James said. “So there will be lots of

ministry opportunities for churches that want to follow up. There are some real

relationships that get built out of this and can have a Kingdom impact.”

James asked for prayers that God will continue to open the hearts of people in

Vermont to the Gospel, and that God will supply more workers for the effort.

“The fields up here are white unto harvest,” he said. “We just need laborers.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE – John Evans is a writer based in Houston.)

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