ORANGE—Jason Burden knows the heartbreak a natural disaster can cause. When Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Nederland and his church were on the receiving end of help after facing this disaster in their community.
Almost three years later, Burden and his church members are serving those affected by Hurricane Laura.
“We were the church when Hurricane Harvey hit us a few years ago that Texas Baptist Men came to help.” Burden said. “We want to give back to those who gave so much to us and this is just a small way of doing that.”
Burden’s group is one of several who have served in the past few weeks as TBM Texans On Mission, an effort to multiply the efforts of trained TBM disaster relief volunteers by supplementing their work with volunteers who can serve for a day or weekend.
Texans on Mission provides avenue for service
Sabrina Pinales, TBM ministry advancement coordinator who coordinates these volunteers, said the initiative is designed to help people respond to God’s call to help the hurting after disasters.
“After a tornado, hurricane or flood, God’s people naturally want to help the people who have been impacted.” Pinales said. “We want to help them do that. This gives people a glimpse of what disaster relief ministry looks like and the difference it makes in people’s lives.”
About 100 Texans on Mission from across the state have ministered in Southeast Texas recently in the Orange area.
“In Orange, TBM disaster relief has received hundreds of requests for help.” Pinales said. “Trained disaster relief volunteers are doing an amazing ministry. God is working through them. Texans on Mission come alongside them to help meet more needs.”
With the rollout of Texans on Mission volunteers, people are able to serve for a few days at a time through tasks such as cleaning debris, moving scattered objects in yards and clearing out fallen tree limbs.
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Whether it’s picking up debris and limbs or praying for a family facing tragedy, volunteers are excited to serve where needed.
“There’s always a need or opportunity, and we need your help to fill it.” Pinales said.
Nathan Mahand, director of the Houston Baptist University Baptist Student Ministry, has been a trained TBM disaster relief volunteer several years. He decided to bring his BSM students with him over the Labor Day weekend to serve. Allowing his students to minister instills the principles of living a missional lifestyle, he noted.
“These experiences for students are super important,” Mahand said. “We need to be on the forefront of helping others, and this can overall help spread the gospel.”
Mahand recalled a special moment when he and the BSM were serving an older couple, the Smiths, by cleaning their yard after Hurricane Laura.
“A neighbor came over, who happened to be a veteran, and brought American flag pins, calling them hero pins, and gave them to the 14 volunteers serving.” said Mahand. Each of the HBU students pinned them to their shirts, honored by the gesture.