‘Loving West’ recovery projects scheduled for summer

Aerial photo of the West explosion site taken several days after blast. (Wikipedia Photo by Shane Torgerson)

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The Baptist General Convention of Texas disaster recovery ministry hopes to mobilize 400 Texas Baptists for a weeklong “Loving West” rebuilding emphasis in June 15-22 in the Central Texas community devastated by a fertilizer plant explosion.

Volunteers will work on projects in support of First Baptist Church in West and identified by the local West long-term recovery team. Projects likely will include demolition and rebuilding initiatives.

More than 150 West homes were damaged April 17, including 71 houses that were completely destroyed.

The week also will feature nightly worship services, providing an easy avenue for volunteers to invite families to church with them.

Partnering with KCBI

KCBI, an Arlington-based Christian radio station, has partnered with Texas Baptists for “KCBI Day in Loving West” June 22. The station will mobilize volunteers to assist in the recovery efforts that day and sponsor a concert that night billed as a “celebration of new beginnings” for residents in West.

West residents still are hurting in the wake of the disaster, said Gerald Davis, Texas Baptists’ disaster recovery and development specialist. They need practical assistance and helpful hearts, he stressed.

“This is needed,” Davis said. “It’s what the body of Christ should do.”

To sign up as an individual volunteer or team, click here. Advance registration allows the BGCT to arrange free housing for the volunteers, and enables Texas Baptist Men to know how many people its emergency food service units need to serve.

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Registration for the project is $15, which provides additional insurance for participants. A suggested donation of $10 a day will help cover food costs.

Mission opportunities

If volunteers or teams cannot serve during the week of Loving West, Texas Baptists’ disaster recovery ministry also offers mission opportunities in West every week in June and every other week July-August.

“We are so grateful for the many phone calls and emails we’ve received from people wanting to help in West,” said Marla Bearden, Texas Baptists’ disaster recovery specialist. “Now is the time to turn that desire into action as we seek to minister in the name of Christ.”


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