DALLAS—Texas Baptist Men will work with Israel’s Emergency Volunteer Project in disaster preparedness.
The TBM board of directors voted Feb. 16 to enter a two-year partnership with the Israeli emergency response organization in disaster relief training and deployment.
TBM volunteers will be involved in cross-training with Emergency Volunteer Project—teaching the Israeli group how to provide large-scale emergency food service and learning ways to assist civilian populations affected by man-made disasters.
TBM also will provide the group with disaster relief equipment and send volunteer teams to help renovate civil defense shelters.
‘Your name walks before you’
Even before Emergency Volunteer Project leaders met TBM representatives, they knew them as “the guys in the yellow shirts” who respond to disasters, said Adi Zahavi, the organization’s director general.
“Your name walks before you all around the world,” Zahavi said. “You are a role model for us. You are doing important, holy work.”
Israel not only lives in a politically volatile area threatened by its enemies, but also is due for a round of major earthquakes that occur about every 100 years, Zahavi explained. The Emergency Volunteer Project exists to recruit, train and deploy individuals to support emergency responders in Israel.
TBM volunteers who serve in Israel will be free to share their faith with people they encounter, said Mickey Lenamon, TBM executive director.
“The reason we go anywhere is to tell people about Jesus,” Lenamon said. “This is an opportunity to go to Jerusalem and share the love of Jesus.”
The TBM board also heard reports from various ministries:
- Disaster relief workers responded to 21 disasters in 2017, contributing more than 351,000 volunteer hours. They completed 6,684 recovery projects, provided access to 28,262 showers, washed 16,214 loads of laundry and distributed 51,549 boxes for disaster survivors to gather and store their scattered belongings. They gave away 5,554 Bibles, recorded 26,545 gospel presentations and ministry contacts, and registered 238 professions of faith. In six months after Hurricane Harvey, volunteers prepared more than 1.57 million meals.
- TBM’s water ministry drilled 11 wells in four countries last year, and volunteers also repaired a dozen wells in Ghana. They provided 1,851 water purification filters to more than 7,400 people in Texas, at a Navajo Reservation in New Mexico and in eight foreign countries.
- Royal Ambassador summer camps last year attracted 2,658 campers, and 339 made commitments to Christ. In addition, 20 teenage young men—mostly inner-city youth—made faith commitments at Challengers basketball tournaments.
The board presented the TBM Service Award to Larry and Mary Harrison, who have lived on-site at the Dixon Missions Equipping Center in Dallas two years in a travel trailer, serving in multiple volunteer capacities.
TBM recognized Russell and Rachel Schieck of Ralls with its Parabaloni Award, named for a first-century Christian brotherhood who risked all for their faith.
The board also recognized Randy Newberry, who retired recently as men’s ministry consultant, and Bill Pigott, who will retire as volunteer director TBM builders after 15 years in that role.