On Tuesday, February 22 the Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) team showed up at the Little Rock Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM) Center located at 5515 W.32nd St. in Little Rock, Arkansas to train 25 college students in Disaster Relief chainsaw recovery. Randy Garrett, Keturah Quimby, and Greg Hutchinson ran background checks, introduced students to the world of Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief, and covered everything from what to wear on a DR trip to how to sharpen a chainsaw blade.
While most college students aren’t allowed to have chainsaws sitting in a small dorm room waiting for a disaster to occur, the training is a part of the cooperative effort of Arkansas Baptists to mobilize more people towards missions. Over the past four years, the Little Rock Baptist Collegiate Ministry has been able to respond to five major natural disasters—Pocahontas flooding, Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Michael, Central Arkansas flooding, and Hurricane Ida. They mobilized over 200 college students to serve victims impacted by these events.
Lauren Mejia, UA Little Rock Student on Disaster Relief in Hammond, LA.
“I wanted to go on the Disaster Relief trip to Hammond for a few reasons. I lived most of my life in Louisiana, and I remember seeing flood damage when I was growing up. Thankfully, it didn’t heavily affect anyone I personally knew. I also just felt like I needed to go on the trip, and I fully believe that was the Lord nudging me. I’m so glad I went because it gave me greater gratitude for the things I take for granted in life. I usually don’t think much about how I have a roof over my head and clothes on my back, but seeing these families lose those things (and more) made me realize that everything God has given me, no matter how simple, is truly a blessing.
I wanted to go to the Disaster Relief training night at the BCM because I wanted to learn how to safely be of more use on the next trip I go on. Of course, I’ll go wherever and do whatever they need me to, but I want to have the knowledge and confidence to do tasks others may not be able to do while we’re there. We often don’t go for long, and I want them to use me as much as they can!”
David Beavers, UA Little Rock Student on Disaster Relief in Siloam Springs, AR.
“I wanted to go for a few reasons. I like helping people, I love Camp Siloam and the work they do, and because my father and grandfather both helped out with Arkansas Disaster Relief, I wanted to continue that legacy of service.
Going with a Disaster Relief Unit and helping them out was helpful to me because I learned some useful and practical skills from some awesome men, as well as learning how to work with a team to accomplish goals.”
I believe that our disaster relief work has been one of the best vehicles for student engagement and community impact that our ministry has been able to do. The Disaster Relief umbrella of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention has provided us with the proper training to be able to deploy safely, financial resources to be able to complete a trip, equipment resources to be able to do the work safely and organization structure that puts our boots on the ground in a disaster situation in an effective way to be able to mobilize college students that want to help, have tons of energy, and huge hearts in serving people. Our ministry has partnered with fraternities, sororities, student organizations, faculty, and staff of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to mobilize on these trips and serve others in the name of Christ.
Big thank you to Randy Garrett, who has been an incredible supporter of mobilizing college students. He has been an invaluable resource in helping us serve, and his team has been so supportive. Thanks to all the churches that support the cooperative effort of Arkansas Baptists. Your support in more ways than one has been a tremendous blessing, and your support has continued to make Jesus known on our collegiate campuses and to people impacted by devastating storms.