Crews tackle once-flooded Minot
Mickey Noah, Baptist Press
August 08, 2011

Crews tackle once-flooded Minot

Crews tackle once-flooded Minot
Mickey Noah, Baptist Press
August 08, 2011


— Twenty state Southern Baptist Disaster Relief teams are now deployed in Minot,

N.D., or en route — eager to assist the

thousands of flood victims in this north central North Dakota

city of 41,000.

Soon after the sirens blared on June 22 — the signal for residents in nine city

zones to evacuate their homes due to the quickly rising Souris

River, which snakes through a

valley running through Minot —

floodwaters engulfed the land along the river’s edge. Dozens of homes along

tree-lined streets, businesses and entire shopping centers were inundated.

Despite a serious lack of housing, 135 Southern Baptist volunteers are on the


“Things are going well,” said Bruce Poss, disaster relief coordinator for the

North American Mission Board (NAMB) in Alpharetta, Ga., who came to Minot with

a few other NAMB staffers, plus Jack Shelby, state disaster relief director in

Illinois, who is serving as incident commander inside NAMB’s 30-foot incident

command trailer parked outside North Hill Church.

Most of the current 135 volunteers are mud-out workers, while 24 volunteers

from the Arkansas and

Kansas/Nebraska conventions are handling the major feeding site at North

Hill Church

in Minot. Also, volunteers have:

  • prepared more than 48,000 meals.
  • completed some 2,800 laundry loads and showers for Baptist volunteers and


  • finished 29 mud-out jobs.
  • made almost 1,400 chaplaincy visits, ministry contacts and Gospel

    presentations, with 16 decisions for Christ recorded.

“We still have a need for more teams,” Poss said. “We finally got additional

housing set up, which was a problem,” he said, referring to the fact that hotel

and motel rooms in Minot are booked solid by flood victims and the area’s

oilfield workers.

Photo by Jim Whitmer

Members of the North Carolina shower and laundry disaster relief team drove 1,800 miles and three days to do 1,300 loads of laundry since arriving in Minot, N.D. Left to right are Barbara Spence, Burlington, Glen Hope Baptist Church; Betty Arnette, Boone, Mt. Vernon Baptist Church; and Catherine and Howard Bass, Fayetteville.

“Our goal is to be done by the end of September, and we’ll keep on going until

all of the mud-out jobs are finished.”

Poss said the need to be finished by September is because the harsh North

Dakota winters come early, sometimes with snow as early as October.

North Hill

Baptist Church

pastor, Dan Andrus, was himself impacted by the floods, which left two feet of

water in his basement — ruining major appliances and forcing him and his family

to move out temporarily. The church itself, located north of downtown Minot,

escaped the flood.

“We’re a small church, but we have a big facility here. That’s why we offered

our campus for the command center and feeding site,” said Andrus, who’s served

North Hill for the last 15 months. He said three church families were affected

by the flood and had stored their salvaged furniture at the church.

One of Andrus’ core leaders at North Hill Baptist, Doug Hollingsworth — and his

family — managed to save some of their belongings but not all before the sirens

blew on June 22, forcing them to evacuate.

“We don’t know when we’ll be able to move back to our house,” Hollingsworth

said. “We can only watch the continuous news coverage and hope that things will

be OK.

“I take my responsibility from God to take care of my family seriously, so to

lose my house would be devastating,” said Hollingsworth, a 24-year military

veteran. “Sure, tears were shed but I realize God is in control. God has a

plan. I felt frustrated, sad, tired, sick and weak. I felt like giving up. But

when I pray to God and leave it in His hands, I let it go and realize it will

be what it will be. Any damage … to our house can be repaired. But our ‘home’

will stay intact.”

Harold Johnson of Arkadelphia, Ark.,

the “blue hat” leader for the disaster relief feeding operation at North Hill,

said his team has prepared three meals a day since last Friday, when the

Arkadelphia contingent arrived. They will be serving hot meals for another week

and then be relieved by a feeding team from another state.

But the men and women in the “trenches” are the mud-out teams — those working

in 90-degree heat and humidity to handle the 389 requests from local citizens

for assistance, many of whom have already begun mud-out and tear-out on their

homes themselves.

Billy Gilmore of Amarillo

is the “blue hat” for a 16-member team — including five women — working on

gutted homes near downtown Minot.

It took Gilmore and his team two days to drive from Texas

to Minot.

Gilmore, a seven-year veteran of disaster relief, has participated in response

to disasters all over the United States

and even in Thailand,

Greece and Nicaragua.

“I do it for the love the Lord. The Lord says ‘Go’ and I go,” he said.

The week’s highlight for Gilmore’s team was leading a 26-year-old man — whose

home on Second Avenue was

destroyed by the flood — to Christ. While the crew worked on the man house,

Gilmore’s team — along with a disaster relief chaplain — also labored over the

man, talking with and praying for him.

“It took all 16 of us to bring (him) to Christ, not just one person,” said

Gilmore. “We don’t deserve any credit. Give the Lord the credit. We were all

fired up by it. It inspired us and gave us all a glow.”

According to FEMA, the June flooding resulted in $100

million in damages in Minot and eight other North Dakota

counties. Receiving 8,800 requests for assistance, FEMA has already paid out

$77 million for temporary housing and home repairs, according to local news


The 135 volunteers on the ground represent the Texas Baptist Men (BGCT), and

other state conventions from Arkansas,

Kansas/Nebraska, Texas (SBTC), Ohio,

Indiana, the Dakotas,

Illinois, Colorado,

Oklahoma, New

Mexico, North Carolina

and Kentucky. Teams are being housed

in Minot at Cross

Roads Baptist Church,

North Hill

Baptist Church,

Bethel Free

Lutheran Church,

Our Redeemer Church, and Minot High


Other SBDR teams en route to Minot

are from state conventions in Arizona,

California, Georgia,

Minnesota/Wisconsin, Montana, New

Mexico, Tennessee,

Utah/Idaho and Virginia, and

additional Texas teams from BGCT

and SBTC.

To donate to NAMB’s disaster relief fund visit www.namb.net/disaster-relief-donations

and hit the “donate” button. Other ways to donate are to call 1-866-407-NAMB

(6262) or mail checks to NAMB, P.O. Box 116543, Atlanta, GA 30368-6543.

Donations can also be sent via texting “NAMBDR” to the number “40579.” A

one-time donation of $10 will be added to the caller’s mobile phone bill or

deducted from any prepaid balance.

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Noah writes for the North American Mission