Reading the Times (May 10, 2011)

Reading the Times (May 10, 2011) 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.”

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