Southern Baptist Disaster Relief efforts continue in Maui — and will for a long time, said John Williams, co-director of Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention Disaster Relief. Displaced residents are expected to begin returning to their homes today (Sept. 25) in Lahaina in the wake of the deadly wildfires.
Craig Webb executive director-treasurer of the HPBC, recently posted a video interview with Williams providing a brief look at the current relief efforts. Located behind the two men in the video sat a special Send Relief trailer equipped with washers, dryers and showers. The trailer, Williams said, was shipped with help from Olivet Baptist Church, Honolulu.
Williams noted the trailer would be located outside of Kahului Union Church, where volunteers will be staying as they serve the people of Lahaina. The church is among those actively helping residents in the area and was the initial staging site for the FEMA disaster assistance center.
Disaster training provided
Williams led a special Disaster Relief training session recently hosted by Valley Isle Fellowship located in Wailuku, Hawaii. Maui pastors requested the training, which included more than 80 adult participants.
These newly trained volunteers, Williams noted, will be integrated with experienced Disaster Relief volunteers coming from other state conventions, by invitation.
Homes being reopened cautiously
A limited number of displaced residents will be allowed to re-enter their homes beginning Sept. 25. These residents will be escorted by representatives from FEMA.
“They are doing it very slowly and cautiously due to the dangers that still exist,” Williams said. “The [Environmental Protection Agency] is still working to clear other zones.”
Williams urged those still wanting to visit the island to help to “Please stay tuned.”
He explained that “this is going to be a very long process” that will extend over time. He asked that everyone “please be patient. We know you’re there and we want you to come serve,” but efforts need to be timed and scheduled to be effective.
Webb urged everyone, “Continue to pray for Maui because we are still grieving.”
You can watch the full video here.