TBM disaster relief volunteers see joy after storms

  |  Source: Texas Baptist Men

TBM disaster relief volunteers enjoy a light-hearted moment of celebration with a homeowner in Lake Charles, La. (TBM Photo)

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LAKE CHARLES, La.—After two hurricanes, an ice storm and now a flood, a soaked ceiling hung precariously in the kitchen of a Southwest Louisiana home. The homeowner was waiting for it to fall any moment.

A Texas Baptist Men flood recovery team from Kingsland Baptist Church in Katy refused to let that happen. They cut away the drywall and made the area safe again.

When the homeowner saw it, she was overwhelmed with joy.

“Oh Lord Jesus, that is so beautiful,” she said.

Moments like this were as emotional for TBM volunteers as they were for homeowners.

TBM crews removed soaked flooring, furniture and drywall from flood-damaged homes in Lake Charles, La. (TBM Photo)

“The homeowners that we helped pretty much humbled us,” said Phil Clasen, who led the Katy TBM team. “They’re obviously bummed, but their joy is pretty incredible. We had the opportunity to serve them and the Lord, but they blessed us greatly.”

Similar scenes happened again and again as three TBM flood recovery teams served in the disaster-battered city. Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta slammed the region in the fall. An ice storm hit earlier this year. Recently, Lake Charles was drenched by heavy rain.

Moving from home to home, the TBM crews removed soaked flooring, furniture and drywall for free. The ministry jump-started the recovery process for families, launching a family far beyond what it could do on its own.

“We get them to a place where they can start the rebuild,” said Sam Yates, who led the Waco Regional Baptist Association TBM team. “Their spirits are a lot higher. We try to minister to them and comfort them. They are very appreciative.”

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A TBM flood and fire recovery team from Collin County take a break after removing water-damaged items from a home in Lake Charles, La. (TBM Photo)

The sea of yellow-shirted TBM volunteers, as well as Baptist disaster relief volunteers from across the country, have become a continuous site in the community for months. As a result, volunteers and residents have bonded. They are traveling the recovery journey together.

Because of the kinship, Lake Charles residents are opening up to volunteers. They are praying together, crying together and celebrating together. More than 425 people, including nine last week, have professed faith in Christ as Lord for the first time as a result of Baptist disaster relief ministry.

“We want to minister to them, let them know that God has a plan for them,” Yates said. “People are crying. They don’t know what the next move is. We have several chaplains. They’ve done a great job ministering to people.”

To support TBM disaster relief financially, give online at TBMTX.org/donate or mail a check to Texas Baptist Men, 5351 Catron Drive, Dallas 75227.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The article was posted June 8. The third paragraph from the end was revised on June 9 to correct a numerical error.

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