Thursday, September 22, 2011

Diaster Relief in Bstrop

Friday, Sept. 15, I was called out by Diaster Relief to travel to Bastrop, TX, and assist in feeding volunteers, firefighters, the Red Cross and victums of the devestating wildfires. Although the fires were by that time mostly contained, 130,000 acres of forest and fields had been been burned as well as from 1,700 to 2,000 homes distroyed. Bastrop State Park was smoldering. The smell of ash hung heavy in the still air.

In the center of Bastrop at the fire department I stopped to pray at this sculpture of a firefighter with hand written signs asking for prayer.
Winds had shifted preventing the town center from going up in flames.

In one subdivision that I traveled through on an Emergency Responce Vehicle, 600 homes were distroyed, leaving a very few homes still standing. Thirty-eight families, members of the First Baptist Church, had lost their homes. People told of escaping within minutes of the fires engulfing their homes.

This is part of the cooking team I worked with, cooking meals for 200, twice a day, under a tent in the heat.

The second photo is of Hank emptying chili from a tilt skillet into a cambro for distribution by the Red Cross.

Two of my new friends and co-workers play patty cake with oven mits in front of the convection ovens. We had to take breaks from the hot, heavy work and long hours.

This sign on the side of the ERV (Emergency Responce Vehicle) reads:

Complimentary Food provided by American Red Cross

Southern Baptist Texas Convention.

FEMA provided the food. We cooked and prepared it for distribution, and the Red Cross delivered meals to staging areas.

Karen is helping Frank load cambros (heavy insulated chests containing food) into the ERV. We sent out complete meals in clamshell containters with utinsels, and water to anyone who arrived at the feeding sites.

Frank is preparing to hand boxed meals through a side window to people waiting in line.

Tuesday the Red Cross pulled out. We had teams trained to make assessments and plan for recovery for anyone who asked for help. Teams with chainsaws, and teams trained to clean (called ash out) and restore property arrived to help. I returned home.

Please pray for these families and others who have lost thier homes to whildfires. Continue to pray for rain.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Campers on Mission

Days before tropical storm Lee threatened the Gulf coast, I received a callout for Diaster Relief to feed firefighters in the area West of Fort Worth. The deployment was canceled so I joined a group of Campers on Mission at East Texas Baptist Encampment for a work project. While the men remodeled the camp director's home and women painted, I worked in the kitchen.

Here I am joined by Chris, the camp cook, and Jan and Wanda in the dish room after preparing meals for 35 hungry volunteers. We began the day at 8:00 a.m. with prayer for the victums of Texas fires and others. The rest of the day I helped cook, serve and clean up after meals. After supper we had devotionals and song, and then played games until around 9 p.m.

On Thursday night, I presented a devotional on Isaiah 40:30-31. I asked the volunteers to look at their calling to serve and see where the Lord has verified that they were following His call.

When these unexpected moments hit us, we sometimes call it "A God Thing", as we all experienced Monday morning with clear blue skys and 50 degree temps after heavy rain, mud and the heat.