DALLAS—Texas Baptist Men will offer a three-day training event in August to equip volunteers both for crisis response in Israel and mission opportunities there.
The TBM board voted in February to enter a two-year partnership with Israel’s Emergency Volunteer Project to provide trained volunteers who can respond to any manmade or natural disaster in Israel, as well as meet the nation’s other humanitarian and civil defense needs.
The Emergency Volunteer Project exists to recruit, train and deploy individuals to support first responders in Israel, Adi Zahavi, the organization’s director general, told the TBM board.
‘Share the love of Jesus’ in Israel
TBM volunteers will not participate in public evangelistic events in Israel, but volunteers will be free to share their Christian faith with people they encounter, said Mickey Lenamon, TBM executive director.
“The reason we go anywhere is to tell people about Jesus,” Lenamon said, noting the partnership with the Emergency Volunteer Project offers an avenue for TBM volunteers to “share the love of Jesus” in Israel.
The volunteer training event is scheduled Aug. 9-11 at TBM’s Dixon Missions Equipping Center in east Dallas.
“The credentials provided in this class will be the only avenue for volunteers to respond to Israel,” said Terry Henderson, TBM state disaster relief director.
‘Not to be taken lightly’
Participants who complete the training will be certified to serve on emergency response teams that will be deployed for 10 to 14 days to serve alongside Israel first responders in emergency situations or on mission projects of a week to 10 days.
Mission project tasks may include food and water distribution, renovating civil defense shelters and working on home repair projects for the poor and elderly in Israel.
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Volunteer participation is restricted to individuals ages 18 to 75 who are in good physical condition, capable of working in extreme heat and walking on uneven inclines for extended times. Individuals with diabetes or heart disease do not qualify.
“This opportunity to travel to Israel on an emergency response team or mission project team is not to be taken lightly and requires a commitment,” Henderson emphasized. “While we will provide some time for touring, these will not be sightseeing tours or ‘bucket list’ trips.”
Participants must have a valid passport, a letter from a physician certifying medical fitness and a letter from a pastor or other minister. Volunteers also must complete an online background check and certain online FEMA and CERT training prior to the August training event.
Registration opens June 14 and closes Aug. 3. Cost per participant is $75, which is nonrefundable after July 26.
Estimated deployment cost per volunteer is $1,500 to $2,000, plus airfare.
Churches and individuals who are not able to volunteer can participate by providing financial support.
A basic volunteer deployment kit—which includes a tent, sleeping bag, food and water for three days and other supplies—costs $1,300. Two-way radio sets cost $5,000 each, and an emergency food service trailer and vehicle to tow it costs $75,000. To donate, click mail a check payable to “Texas Baptist Men” to 5351 Catron, Dallas, TX 75227, call (214) 275-1116 or click here.