Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) is known for going into difficult places to serve those in the crisis of disaster. On August 17, a team of DR volunteers from across the state assembled to serve in a different way! In the early hours of the morning volunteers started driving from all over the state headed to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, making the same trip to campus that over 7,000 incoming freshmen had made just days before. While the freshmen had moved to start life in their new home, Disaster Relief volunteers were mobilizing to make them feel welcome.
Over the course of the day, DR volunteers worked with Baptist Collegiate Ministry and the Council of Religious Organizations at the university to serve during Faith Fest. Faith Fest is a connection fair held in the heart of the campus to connect students to churches and campus ministries during their time at the University of Arkansas. As Disaster Relief volunteers worked to cook for and serve over 500 freshmen students, church pastors and student leaders had the opportunity to invite students to their churches and collegiate ministries.
Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief has always excelled in serving in stressful situations, providing hope to those in crisis. A college freshman’s move away from home is oftentimes one of the most anxious and stressful periods of their lives. Because of Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief, BCM and churches like University Baptist Church, First Baptist Church of Fayetteville, and Cross Church were able connect with hundreds of students at this crucial juncture of their lives.
As the Disaster Relief teams packed up and left that day, ministry to campus was just beginning. Throughout the month of August, over 3,000 University of Arkansas students were involved in collegiate ministries in Arkansas Baptist churches, and more than 500 different students have been involved in Baptist Collegiate Ministry on campus.