RAYTOWN – The first step to weathering a disaster is being prepared. The same goes for ministry, but doubly so when that ministry takes place during a disaster, and may involve cleaning out flooded basements, sawing away downed trees, cooking thousands of hot meals for communities in crisis or lending a patient ear to listen to a survivor’s story.
Gaylon Moss, director of Disaster Relief for the Missouri Baptist Convention, said training is essential for those who are interested in serving in this unique and vital ministry.
“Get yourself ready to say ‘yes,’ to the call,” Moss said. “The first step in getting prepared for offering help, hope and healing after a disaster is getting trained.”
And those calls will come if volunteers are willing and able. Last year alone, DR teams made up of Missouri Baptists logged tens of thousands of man-hours at home in Missouri, as well as in Texas and North Carolina, and in the Bahamas depending on the need due to flooding, tornadoes, wildfires, hurricanes, ice storms and more. They made nearly 5,000 chaplaincy contacts, prepped more than 150,000 meals, removed downed trees from 300 properties, all free of charge to survivors.
Disaster Relief leaders are offering four training opportunities in 2020 to help volunteers take that first step:
• March 6-7 at Connection Point Church, Raytown;
• April 3-4 at First Baptist, Chillicothe;
• Sept. 11-12 at Second Baptist, Springfield;
• Oct. 2-3 at Canaan Baptist, St. Louis.
Each training event includes three meals. The cost is $40 for first-timers, $20 for those getting re-certified, and $5 to cross train in multiple areas. Training tracks include mass care/feeding, chainsaw, flood recovery, shower/laundry, child care, blue hat (leader training), assessment, chaplaincy and incident management.
Training is open to any member of a Southern Baptist church who is at least 18 years of age. Attending training does not obligate anyone to serve but is necessary before serving. To register, go to www.mobaptist.org/dr or call 1-800-736-6227 ext. 317. More information, such as training manuals, background check forms, and more and schedules can be found there as well.