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Watching God at work through Arizona Southern Baptists.
Disaster Relief volunteers prepare
By Irene A. Harkleroad
The sound of chain saws ripped through the air. Pots and pans jangled in the kitchen and computers hummed. Serving as classrooms were Arizona Southern Baptist Disaster Relief mobile units, including a shower unit seasoned in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, and a feeding unit and chain saw unit, both used after the Yarnell Hill Fire.
Nearly 150 volunteers from across the state received Disaster Relief training Feb. 28-March 1, preparing them to serve as ambassadors of Jesus Christ in times of great suffering.
Training included Involving Southern Baptists in Disaster Relief (required for all first-time volunteers), water purification, mud out/ash out, chain saw, feeding unit, shower unit, driver training, incident and command systems, and community evangelism (new this year).
Friday evening, the kitchen unit team prepared and served dinner, which was followed by an awards ceremony honoring some of those who served during the past year.
• Distinguished Service: Lary Hyde, ASBC Disaster Relief director
• Leadership: Dave Turner
• Volunteers of the Year: Lokeil Denney and Steve Molnar
• Community Partnership in Ministry: Shamrock Foods
• In Appreciation of Hospitality: Lighthouse Bible Church, Yarnell (for giving full access to the church to house our team)
• The Golden Hammer Award: Darrell Runyon, supervisor of the ASBC Disaster Relief rebuild team in Yarnell
• Bob Brandon: Yarnell rebuild coordinator
• Chuck Schroeder : blue hat
"I am happy to announce that Mitch McDonald [ASBC missions facilitator] is returning as ASBC Disaster Relief director," Hyde said, "and I will return to the position of assistant director."
Dan Porth, human service branch manager with the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, Division of Emergency Management, presented plaques to ASBC Executive Director David Johnson and Lary Hyde in recognition of the outstanding work done by ASBC Disaster Relief volunteers.
"Because of what we do and how well we do it, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief is recognized as a world player," Hyde said. "We have input to the Disaster Management and Preparedness Board for international emergency response."
Volunteers need to be serious about training, he said. "Using the tools we have should become second nature," he said.
But the mission is more that using tools correctly, Hyde said.
"Sharing the gospel needs to become second nature to us," he said. "That's why we added Community Evangelism training this year. The skills we learn here are the tools to get us into places where others can't go — into the broken places to help people put their lives back together. If we don't share Jesus Christ, then we might as well just find something else to do."
He added, "Who knows what God has in store for us; but because of this weekend's training, we are better prepared to meet the challenge."