Natural Disasters Prompt Interstate Baptist Response

Source: Baptist Press

Members of the Church of the Rockies sprung into action when the waters of the Rock Creek began to surge across its banks into homes and businesses. Neighbors checked in on other neighbors and did not hesitate to offer their assistance. When the Red Cross arrived, the church family lended their hands and feets yet again by delivering meals, distributing supplies, and helping coordinate the response. The church’s benevolence fund was also used to meet immediate needs.

Pastor Justin Carter said, “I’m so proud of the way our church has responded. Every day, I’m hearing new stories of how church members have served the people of Red Lodge. It’s amazing. The church immediately reached out to community leaders to offer our facility to be an emergency shelter. We made a few meals, but quickly realized that coordinating with the Red Cross was our niche. Working together, we have had the greatest impact.”

Soon, coordination between the Utah/Idaho Southern Baptist Convention and Missouri Baptist partners began to take place. A Missouri shower unit that had been assigned to for summer ministry in Bozeman was redeployed. A team from Utah/Idaho arrived to coordinate mud-out crews. As basements are cleaned out, teams spray them with “Shockwave” to kill bacteria and mitigate against mold. As these homes dry out, they will be ready to rebuild. The team has had opportunities to pray with flood victims, exchange stories and be a source of hope and encouragement.

In the small community of Fromberg, located downstream from Red Lodge, many homes were also devastated by the historic flooding. Pastor John Finley and the Refuge Church jumped into action. Finley said he has met a half-dozen families who need a mud-out crew. Finley also said that God is opening doors for spiritual conversations, and local officials have asked him to provide counseling in the evenings.

Carter and Finley are working together to coordinate Montana Southern Baptist Convention teams who are ready to offer relief. South Hills Baptist Fellowship recently sent a cleanup crew to Fromberg. Tom Blankenship, a member of that team, said, “The family we helped were so grateful and very open to talk. They had so much to share and were open to listening about the hope of the Gospel.”

Other nearby churches such as Expedition Church of Livingston, Mont. and Gardiner (Mont.) Baptist Church have also partnered to deliver food and water to those in need.

Source: Baptist Press