Disaster relief was one of my first and formative experiences of being involved in missions. To be honest, I really didn’t know what I was doing.
At the time, I was still a relatively new Christian, and I heard that a group of people were going to help some people who had been impacted by a tornado. I actually snuck my way onto that team, donned a yellow shirt and went to work. And that experience was life changing. It was a discipleship microwave for me!
I like to think of disaster relief as the tip of the gospel spear for hurting people. By helping those in need, we can demonstrate the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. I’m thankful that here in North Carolina, we have a disaster relief ministry and a team of volunteers that is second to none across the country.
Our team of volunteers stand ready to assist when natural disasters strike, whether they be small or large, near or far. N.C. Baptists are often the first to arrive when help is needed here at home, and we are among the first to be called in when disaster strikes elsewhere. And this year, we’ve seen N.C. Baptist disaster relief teams be among the first and most consistent in ministering to refugees along the Ukrainian border who have fled their war-torn country.
Disaster relief is one of the 19 different ministries of N.C. Baptists on Mission, which is led by Richard Brunson. Richard and his team that includes disaster relief coordinator Tom Beam have a great on mission together spirit. God has blessed N.C. Baptists with outstanding leaders, volunteers that span from the mountains to the coast and an expansive array of equipment to deliver help and hope in Jesus’ name when the need arises.
As we approach the height of hurricane season, remember that your generosity to the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO) is what supports disaster relief and other vital ministries in North Carolina.
Experts have predicted an above average hurricane season for the Atlantic Ocean this year, with as many as 14 to 21 named storms, and three to six major hurricanes projected. We pray God spares us from these types of calamities, but when they do strike, we know N.C. Baptists are ready to respond.
In fact, some of the most visible and lasting work by N.C. Baptist disaster relief teams takes place following major hurricanes. Long after the spotlights and television cameras are gone, scores of volunteers in yellow shirts remain sharing the love of Jesus.
Right now, work continues to rebuild homes for families in eastern North Carolina who lost everything in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence that struck our state four years ago in 2018. The devastation was so great that it gave rise to rebuild centers in Lumberton, New Bern and Rose Hill that continue to host volunteer teams from churches, some of which send volunteers on a regular basis.
Consider sending a team from your church to serve through one of these centers and see for yourself. Potential volunteers don’t even have to sneak on one of these trips like I did. You’ll get all the training and instruction you need, and I guarantee it will be as life-changing for you as it was for me.
So thank you, N.C. Baptists, for your generous support of disaster relief and other ministries through NCMO. And thank you to the numerous disaster relief and other volunteers who give selflessly to serve others in need. You are heroes. You personify what it means to be on mission together.