December 2016 -January 2017
Beyond the Walls
Through Deep Waters
By Ken Akers
During the past year, the Master’s Men Disaster Response Team (DRT) has responded to a variety of natural disasters, but the most common have been floods.
Eastern Kentucky had several occasions of severe flash flooding in addition to the normal spring floods. South Carolina experienced a historic flood in the fall of 2015 that affected thousands of people and homes. The end of December brought flooding to the areas around St. Louis, Missouri. But none of these floods compared to the recent cataclysmic flooding in the Baton Rouge area of Louisiana.
Growing up in eastern Kentucky, I have firsthand knowledge of what flooding can do. As a child, I saw the house my family lived in with five feet of water standing in it. I remember the cleanup process—throwing out personal items and washing out the mud. I remember the spring of 1977, when the river flowed several feet high through the streets of Pikeville, Kentucky, and driving home in water over the roads.
I am proud Free Will Baptists have stepped up to help in all these areas. While many were sent by or connected with Master’s Men, many were not. When it comes to disaster relief, it doesn’t matter who gets the recognition, but whether or not victims receive help.
Over the past ten years, the DRT (Disaster Response Team)has responded to dozens of natural disasters across North America. The first DRT response was Hurricane Katrina in September 2005, when more than 50 people gathered in Mississippi to assist Gulf Coast FWB Church and its neighbors. Since then, hundreds of additional volunteers have answered the call of the DRT.
In addition to the dozens of relief efforts across the U.S. mainland, we helped financially after flooding in Hawaii. Free Will Baptists responded greatly when the earthquake shook Haiti to its core. Others have volunteered internationally, working through International Missions, The Hanna Project, or individual ministries to make a difference around the world. We have partnered with a number of state associations to assist them in developing their own DRT units. We have helped purchase equipment and supplies, including trailers.
In recent days, however, we have seen the number of volunteers drop. We know there will be more disasters in the future, and we know people will need a helping hand. It could be you! With that in mind, will you get involved in DRT?
To become part of the Master’s Men Disaster Response Team, visit www.fwbmastersmen.org, and sign up today. We will keep you up to date on future training sessions and notify you when a need arises. We realize everyone cannot respond every time to every thing, but if you can help only once, it will make a difference.
About the Writer: Ken Akers is director of Free Will Baptist Master’s Men and coordinator of the Disaster Response Team.
Learn more: www.fwbmastersmen.org.