Reading the Times (May 10, 2011)

“For Some, Helping With Disaster Relief Is Not Just Aid, It’s a Calling”

A fascinating article in the NY Times by Kim Severson. She examines the extensive involvement of Christian and other religious groups in disaster relief efforts. The Southern Baptists are have a particularly effective and extensive ministry. Here’s how the article begins:

The minute they got the call from Southern Baptist Convention disaster relief leaders that tornadoes had ripped through the South, the Blankenships grabbed their sleeping bags and sturdy shoes and headed out from their home in Decatur, Ala.

Together, they have cleaned up after Hurricane Katrina, mucked out flooded homes in Atlanta and built houses in Sri Lanka. And for the past week they were camped out here in a rural part of northeastern Alabama where 48 lives were lost and thousands more disrupted in the storms.

Mr. Blankenship, 70, and Mrs. Blankenship, 69, heated up chili and Salisbury steak, handing it out to people who drove through a church parking lot and packing it into Red Cross vans that carry meals into the remote countryside.

And they did it all for God.

“I thought when we were done working that I wanted to travel,” said Mrs. Blankenship, a former flight attendant. “I just never thought it’d look like this. But it’s our calling.”

  • http://www.timthurmansblog.blogspot.com Tim Thurman

    I doubt it is a coincidence that you, I, and another blog that I follow all wrote about this subject. On my blog I called it being the, “hands and feet of Christ.” The post you did is a beautiful example of this. I believe this is a message that God has for his church, especially in our current age. The Kingdom of God is good news to a hurting world; we are to be light and salt to those around us. In your series, you are to the point where you are talking about how Jesus talked about and revealed the Kingdom of God. Perhaps you planned to get to this topic, namely, how we as Christians can reveal the Kingdom of God in our current, hurting world.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, indeed. This is a great example of living out the kingdom of God.

  • Anonymous

    Mark, thank you for posting this story.  I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church and many in my family have served as ministers, missionaries as well a Sunday School teachers and deacons.  A few years ago I went on my first PCUSA mission trip to help in the rebuilding following Katrina & Rita.  To put it nicely, the PCUSA has a lot they could learn from the Southern Baptist in this area of ministry.  I so miss being a part of that denomination but God moved me to where He wanted me and under a great pastor that needed me as a friend and a prayer warrior. 


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