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Georgia Baptists prepare to move onsite to meet needs following Hurricane Florence

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This space satellite image provided by NOAA shows the size of Florence. Nearly 40 deaths have been reported in the wake of the storm. NOAA/Special

Beginning this morning, the first contingent of Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are moving onsite to South Carolina to provide assistance to flood victims following Hurricane Florence. As the floodwaters continue to recede, other Georgia Baptists will follow them through the weekend and into next week to provide enhanced ministry at various levels.

State Missionary Stuart Lang, who oversees disaster relief ministry for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, detailed the first deployments Thursday afternoon. The communication stated:

• Friday, Sept. 21 – Beginning this morning, an initial team of trained volunteers will head to an area north of North Myrtle Beach, SC to set up operations. This will be a temporary site as the team waits for flood waters to recede, but early reports indicate a team will be present for weeks or months to come.

• Sunday, Sept. 23 – Assessors, chaplains, and initial clean-up volunteers will depart on Sunday for the state.

• Monday, Sept. 24 – Starting Monday, Georgia Baptists will be providing volunteer support for one and possibly two South Carolina feeding kitchens.

Lang noted that 405 flood buckets were delivered to Florence, SC earlier this week. The coordinator will let churches know if the need for more buckets arises. "We believe it will be the end of next week before we can start mud-out efforts en masse," he added.

The lead missionary thanked Georgia Baptists for their willingness to help thus far and for their prayers – the most important resource that is needed at this early stage of the ministry. He then asked for three specific ways that ministry can be enhanced.

Hurricane Florence as seen from the Space Station before it hit the South and North Carolina coasts on Sept. NASA/Special

First, he called individuals to pray for those directly affected by the storms, civil servants helping victims, and for all Southern Baptist Disaster teams who are responding. Secondly, consider donating to Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief. Hurricane season is only halfway through. "Remember that 100 percent of your donations go to the relief efforts," he reminded. And third, encourage congregation members to become Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers. Training is scheduled for Oct. 6 and 11. Visit gbcdisasterrelief.org for more information.

Interested individuals can follow the ministry's website and Facebook page for updates at gbcdisasterrelief.org and at facebook.com/GBCDisasterRelief/

Lang also encouraged church members to share this information with their congregations and include all updates in newsletters and communications.

"Lastly, thank you to everyone who has prayed, built buckets, and donated to Disaster Relief. Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief could not operate and provide relief without your regular contributions to the Cooperative Program, immediate disaster support through designated gifts and donations, and for those volunteers leaving their families to be deployed, sometimes weeks at a time."

Disaster Relief, Hurricane Florence

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