The heavy rains coming in from Tropical Storm Nicholas have made the work of Southern Baptist Disaster Relief more difficult in Louisiana, where hundreds of volunteers are engaged in cleanup and recovery efforts.
“It’s really hurt us with getting work orders done,” said Edgar Barnhill, who serves as the “white hat,” or head honcho, of the Incident Command Center at Mandeville First Baptist Church.
Barnhill, who came from Charleston First Baptist Church in Missouri with Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief, oversees approximately 100 volunteers from Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Missouri and Illinois.
“A lot of our guys have skid steers [and equipment like that] that can’t be used in this rain,” he said. And chainsaw work really slows down with the amount of rain that the teams have experienced.
Help, hope, healing
“We’ve got guys out there just doing what they can to bring help, hope and healing through Jesus Christ,” Barnhill said.
One such person is Dan Freeze, who says he can’t help but try to recruit for Disaster Relief whenever he can. Freeze is a member of First Baptist Church of Festus and Crystal City in Missouri.
“I tell people, ‘Once you come, you’re hooked,’” Freeze said with a smile. “There’s just nothing like seeing a happy homeowner once you’ve helped them.”
Travis Bradshaw can attest to that feeling of being “hooked” by Disaster Relief. Bradshaw isn’t a retiree like a lot of the volunteers — instead he uses his vacation days to serve in disaster-ridden areas.
“I was looking for something to do, some way to serve, and my pastor recommended Disaster Relief,” he said, referencing Pastor Tony Boes of Visio Dei Church in Jefferson City, Missouri.
This is Bradshaw’s second callout to serve with Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief.