Dear Pastors and Alaska Baptist Disaster Relief Volunteers,
Finally, we are ready to return to Disaster Relief Training and Teambuilding on Friday and Saturday, May 13 and 14 at 1st Baptist Church, Eagle River. Bring a van load of folks! But first, DR needs some help from some of the team. At the end of this note, we are listing information about three workdays, which need volunteers and will help us get ready for the May 13-14 training.
Currently, the disaster relief needs are overwhelming but it is amazing how local Southern Baptist churches have and are responding using "Ready Church." Even though Disaster Relief team members have deployed out-of-state during Covid, responding to both hurricanes and wildfires across the south, now, some are discussing when to respond in Poland or how we can meet the needs of Ukrainian refugees actually arriving at our southern borders and, perhaps very soon in Alaska. The lack of training events in Alaska has affected our team efforts, disaster awareness, and our work with local or state officials in responding to Alaskan needs.
The DR training on May 13 and 14 provides us several very special and very unique opportunities and I plead with you to join us and involve your church! Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief and Northwest Baptist Disaster Relief are sending us trainers who are well-known across the DR circles for their knowledge and excellent training abilities! I am excited that we are able to offer the class entitled "Ready Church" to pastors and church leaders. The "guy who wrote the book" on local Baptist churches responding in love to community disasters is leading our "Ready" training. In addition, other classes that have never been offered to our Disaster Relief team members, and may be very helpful to individuals who own a chainsaw or a trailer, are on the agenda. Let me share the schedule for May 13 and 14 with you and then discuss particular classes, (below), if you have an interest in a particular session.
Friday, May 13 - Annex, First Baptist Church, Eagle River
6:00 PM - 6:45 PM - Food and Fellowship
6:45 PM - 8:45 PM - Class Session 1 (two classes to choose from)
- Introduction to Disaster Relief - for new DR volunteers
- Ready Church - for pastors and others. This class is now foundational to all we do!
8:45 PM - 7:00 AM Optional Disaster Relief styled overnight, bring your bedroll. We have cots!
7:00 AM to 8:30 AM - Disaster Relief Van Trip to breakfast, (we have a new van) Optional donuts and coffee at the church.
Saturday, May 14, Annex, First Baptist Church, Eagle River
9:15 AM-11:00 Class Session 2 (four classes to choose from)
- Safety and the Chainsaw - open to anyone who owns a saw
- Safety and Towing - open to anyone who tows a trailer
- Introduction to Disaster Relief - repeated from last night
- Rapid Response Feeding in Alaska - how to safely prepare food from a food trailer
11:15 AM - 1:00 PM Class Session 3 (three classes and one work session to choose from)
- Felling Trees for Disaster Relief - prerequired 9:15 chainsaw class
- Trailer Weight Distribution, Hitches, and Axles - prerequired 9:15 towing class
- Ready Church - repeat from last night
- Preparing the Rapid Response Meal - a hands-on experience resulting in today's lunch!
1:00 PM - The rapid response lunch will be served outdoors, rain or shine, DR style!
I will place more detailed class descriptions below. Safety is essential for Disaster Relief response, but some may simply want to come because of the excellent help with life issues. Our chainsaw instructor has taught classes at saw dealerships across America and charges big bucks. It's free because we want to introduce your men and women to Disaster Relief. Our trailer classes also focus on safety and liability. This instruction will be very helpful to anyone who owns a trailer and is concerned about towing it safely, with or without load-leveling hitches. It is also free because we want to introduce your men and women to Alaska Baptist Disaster Relief. We have a couple of DR Work Days at the barn in Wasilla (Saturday, April 30 and Friday, May 13) and I need to know if you can join us for either of these so contact me thru the web page, but there is no advanced reservation and sessions are free** for the actual training on May 13 and 14.
Alaska Baptist Disaster Relief Coordinator - Text me - click on CONTACT GARY on the left
** There is a $40 fee to actually join our State DR team but that covers your background check, color photo ID, tee-shirt, and hat.
For Your Information - Upcoming class information will be added soon.
On Saturday, April 30, Alaska Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) crews are joining with CrossCountry Church members to clean-up the church parsonage property located at 7010 E. Fireweed Road, Wasilla. The property suffered lots of wind damage this winter with trees down and the driveway blocked. This property has a large barn and adequate parking that DR uses in exchange for maintaining these 7 acres of grass and trees for the church. This barn and parking area stores all of our Disaster Relief equipment, including our pick-up truck and passenger van, three trailers, two 37' by 18' rapid deployment tents, a 500-gallon freshwater tank, chainsaws and tons of flood and fire clean-up tools. In addition to cutting trees and dragging limbs, we need volunteers to sharpener chain saws, service our small engines (chain saws, pressure washers and gasoline generators), dust and spot clean our cots from winter storage (some of our of out-of-town team members will be sleeping on those cots at 1st Baptist, Eagle River on May 13 and / or you might be sleeping on one during our next DR Deployment). Special request, I need an electrician to configure a large power distribution box for our new 10,000-watt generator (probably more than a one-day project). Finally, on April 30, we will put up at least one of the big tents. It requires a crew! Work begins at 10 AM and lunch is provided!
On Saturday, May 7, Alaska Baptist Disaster Relief will focus on our three trailers at 7010 E Fireweed Road, Wasilla. We own one of the nicest disaster response shower and laundry trailers in the state, plus a fully equipped clean-up tools trailer and a new rapid deployment food trailer (stocked with freeze dried foods) and containing propane cooking equipment. We will tow each trailer to a pressure washing area where they will be totally unloaded, totally cleaned for summer, and then checked so that everything (washers, dryers, pressure washers and much more) is fully operational. We need a crew to service trailer wheel bearings and we need a crew to patch the tents. To do that, we need to put up the second tent! Yes, it requires a crew! Again, work begins at 10 AM and lunch is provided!
On Friday, May 13 we tow everything from the 7010 E. Fireweed, Wasilla to our training site at 11149 Old Eagle River Road, Eagle River. We will meet at 10 AM. First, we need to install the new load-leveling hitches with anti-sway protection on all three trailers, finish up anything that still needs to be readied on our trailers and then caravan to Eagle River where we will set up the feeding equipment to cook the food outdoors on Saturday. We will need to unload our cots for those spending the night at the church. Our safety classes on Saturday, the 14th, will actually give us opportunities to rehearse set-up of a Disaster Recovery site, so the big trailers need to be present and operating! We are buying lunch in Eagle River and the host church provides dinner that evening. On Saturday morning the crew that braved the cots and tried to get some sleep in the church will try out the hot showers on the trailer and then go to breakfast together.
All of this is essential for us to be personally prepared to be used as a missionary when the needs arise and to be a part of a team when we are called upon to respond. Donations to Alaska Baptist Disaster Relief continue even without asking for donations, but the needs continue to mount. I understand that at least 600 Ukrainian refugees are already slated to arrive in Anchorage soon and many more will follow. God is opening doors to share His love and I deeply appreciate your help as we get ready. Thank you!
Let Me Know!!! - Use the CONTACT GARY tab at the left! I need volunteers to assist on workdays, Saturday, April 30, Saturday, May 7, and Friday, May 13, at the Disaster Relief Barn, located on E. Fireweed Road, Wasilla. See you at 10:00 AM all three days!!! If you need more information, go to CONTACT GARY. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU ARE AVAILABLE AND WE WILL PREPARE LUNCH FOR YOU. THANKS
Alaska Baptist Disaster Relief is a ministry of the churches of the Alaska Baptist Resource Network! Amid the Covid-19 limitations over the 24 months, large numbers of Southern Baptist volunteers have responded with love, spiritual care, and action evangelism across America and around the world. Thru partnerships with other Disaster Relief organizations, we have continued to touch lives in the year 2022. We depend on the Holy Spirit, with action from our local churches to call out and send out DR missionaries.
We still believe that we can mobilize many untrained "day volunteers" from local churches and from within our communities who will pitch in at their own risk, but to do so we will need leadership: men, women, and older youth who have strategic coordination training, identification badges, and know our system of teamwork, instruction, cooperation, and connections! To be fully prepared we now need leadership guides/coordinators who are active members of their local SBC church; who can work alongside the Salvation Army and other faith-based recovery ministries; and who can instruct and encourage our "day volunteers" as we seek to meet the needs of those who are hurting, in need of hope and healing. We desire to train a few volunteers from each Alaska Baptist church in our state to (1) help guide Shower and Laundry Ministry, (2) facilitate Mud Out Operations following a home flood, (3) lead Ash Out Recovery following a house fire, (4) respond quickly, transporting a Rapid Response Feeding Unit, setup and begin distribution of hot food, and/or (5) offer Spiritual Care to individuals who are hurting. Plus, we desire to equip a few more guides (blue caps) who will prepare to come alongside trained team members and spontaneous day volunteers with the needed leadership skills, safety training, tools and vehicles for effective response.
Our credentialed leaders will help day volunteers know how to lift up the local churches during community-wide and house clean-up and will link our spiritual care/chaplaincy specialists with those who are hurting. Out of our upcoming training may come the enlistment of additional DR Logistics Specialists who can collaborate on plans for, and then oversee, rapid response feeding, housing logistics, and support of our team members. We also need additional Ready Churches that will prepare and provide housing for volunteers and can organize food distribution to their community.
CONTACT GARY (click on the left). Let me know your questions and your readiness to help.
Gary - Alaska Baptist Disaster Relief Coordinator