Praying for Disaster Relief Chaplains and Workers

pray for disaster relief volunteers

In one of my earliest experiences with Baptist Disaster Relief, I learned firsthand the precious value of those who support the ministry from behind the scenes.

Hurricane Hugo had devastated huge areas of our state of South Carolina. A friend from our church offered to care for our two preschool-aged children so that my husband and I could both serve with a Disaster Relief (DR) unit in a hard-hit area. Others in our church prayed as we served. The experience convinced me that those in support roles back home are just as much a part of the ministry of Disaster Relief as those on site in the disaster area.

You can be part of the DR ministry by praying for the chaplains and other volunteers who respond to offer help, hope, and healing to disaster survivors.

 

Pray for open eyes to see inner needs.

It’s easy to see the outward needs—a tree that blew over onto a roof must be cut and moved, or flood-soaked carpet must be pulled up and carried out. But chaplains need to be tuned in to people’s emotional and spiritual needs—the need to tell their story, to express their feelings, to know they’re not alone, to realize that there is hope because God loves and cares for them.

 

Pray for ears to listen.

An important step for a survivor to begin emotional recovery from a disaster is for them to tell their story to someone who will listen and care. This is the chaplain’s role—to listen and to ask thoughtful questions, encouraging the person to express their emotions if they wish.

 

Pray for a heart to care and share God’s love.

Chaplains must respond to each person as a unique individual, showing that God cares by showing that they care. You can pray that they will be able to focus with care on each person they encounter. Pray also for the chaplains’ hearts to be protected from becoming hardened or overwhelmed by the great need around them.

 

Pray for hands to meet physical needs.

In the wake of Hurricane Matthew last fall, chaplains in one area of South Carolina realized that the people there needed hot meals. They made other DR leaders aware of the need, and arrangements were made for large containers of cooked food to be transported to the area, but there was no feeding team available to serve it. The chaplains themselves plated the food into take-out boxes, loaded the boxes into their own cars, and delivered it to the homes of families that needed it.

 

Pray for feet that are able to go.

Like all Disaster Relief volunteers, chaplains have busy everyday lives of home, church, and work responsibilities. When a disaster occurs, they must adjust schedules and arrange for their regular responsibilities to be covered by others so that they can go. Pray that God will clear the way for DR chaplains and workers to be available to respond.

 

You can be a vital part of Disaster Relief ministry as you pray for DR volunteers. We are grateful for your prayers!

Sue Harmon is Operations Manager, Disaster Relief Office, South Carolina Baptist Convention.

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