Thursday, November 3, 2011

Diaster Relief Bastrop and more

I received another call out for Diaster Relief feeding in Bastrop. On Thursday, Oct. 20, I arrived at the First Baptist Church annex on Highway 71 West of Bastrop. The huge yellow tent is our kitchen.

The cooking crew, which had been working for several weeks, was leaving. The first thing I was asked by the supervisor was if I was the new head cook. I recoiled, taken aback. I'd just come to help cook, not run the show!

This is the team that left the following morning, leaving me praying for reinforcements. We were feeding up to 100 volunteers who were assisting the owners of burned out homes to recover any valuables, clean ash and chard belonging from their devistated homes, and to cut and removed burned trees.
Volunteer units from Tennessee, Utah, California, Lousiana, Alabama as well as other regions of Texas had been assisting.

Up at 4;30 AM, we cooked in the tent and fed the volunteers inside the warehouse-like building before they started their day's work before the sun rose.

By noon my prayers had been answered and three volunteer cooks arrived, with two additional volunteers arriving before dinner.

Dish washing was done in another tent set up with huge plastic "horse troughs". We early risers had to be careful to gently shoo off a persistant skunk and his raccoon friends.

Monday morning before daylight and breakfast, I left Bastrop to drive to East Texas Baptist Encampment near Newton, Tx. Before leaving Bastrop I noted that Baptist volunteers had completed 172 cleanup jobs, had 190 job requests remaining and would be working until after the first of the new year. 392 contacts had been made to share the Love of God with 80 people giving their lives to the Lord.

More that 1,700 homes burned, but God is still in control.

As Isiah 61:3 says, God provides beauty instead of ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of dispair.

At the Newton encampent, within an hour of arrival, I was back in the kitchen. This time not in a tent.

I participated in several training classes including specialty feeding. Those of us wanting to learn more about feeding did all the cooking and cleanup under a master chef who donated his time and expertise.
Here, we are preparing to serve biscuits and gravy, and breakfast to about 100 volunteers who came to learn more about serving with Diaster Relief.

In addition to feeding training, I learned how to assist in mud out, the assessment and clean up done after a hurricane or flooding. "You Can Tell It" was a class on how to witness to the people we serve. In the evenings we had Bible study, singing and devotional time. How bless we all were with the teaching of Ryan Dalgliesh, a dynamic, inspriational and extremely knowledgeable speaker from San Angelo.

With all the cooking, it was a pleasure to wash dishes, pots and pans indoors with a sanitizer! And helpers.

I don't look forward to disasters, but I'm greatful to have had the opportunity to learn skills to help and serve in that event.