MARTINEZ, Ga. – Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief is seeing heightened interest from people wanting to join its ministry to victims of floods, tornadoes and other natural calamities.
More than 100 people received training on Saturday at Abilene Baptist Church in Martinez so that they can take part in Disaster Relief deployments.
“That’s significantly more than ordinary,” said Dwain Carter, who heads the Disaster Relief ministry for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.
Carter credits a series of high-profile deployments over the past year for the larger numbers. Georgia volunteers have most recently been serving in the flood-ravaged areas of northwest Georgia and eastern Kentucky, but, since last year, they’ve also been as far away as Louisiana helping hurricane victims and Poland assisting refugees seeking a safe haven away from the war in Ukraine.
“The reason we do what we do is because the Lord told us to treat others like we want to be treated,” Carter said. “We want to bring hope, help and healing in the midst of chaos.”
Carter said Georgia has about 750 fully trained, credentialed, active volunteers, all of whom have hearts for helping people in need.
“We have people from all walks of life,” he said. “People who have worked in manufacturing and construction. We have nurses and doctors and attorneys. We have one guy who used to be a CFO in a Fortune 500 company.”
Carter said the Disaster Relief ministry relies on an entirely volunteer force, and, therefore, needs lots of people involved to ensure adequate numbers are available to respond when needed. He said work and family commitments understandably make it impossible for all volunteers to deploy to every disaster.
“The more people we have, the faster and longer we can respond to any disaster,” he said.
The next round of Disaster Relief training will be Sept. 30 through Oct. 1 at Hawhammock Baptist Church in Swainsboro, Ga. It will delve specifically into chainsaw work, one of the ministry’s most-requested services, especially after tornadoes and hurricanes. The deadline for registering for that training is Sunday.
“This is dangerous work, and we want our volunteers to have the best possible training before being deployed,” Carter said.
Besides helping to make people’s homes livable, Georgia Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers have led more than 50 people to Christ during deployments since last year.
“These volunteers are making a difference in the lives of disaster victims, all the while shining the light of Christ,” Carter said. “The Lord uses them in significant ways, and the door is open to anyone who would like to be a part of this important ministry. The first step is getting the necessary training.”
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