Are You Ready?

Ron Crow, Disaster Relief Director, Kentucky Baptist Convention

I remember driving through our community one sunny afternoon and drove past the local fire station. I noticed that the overhead doors were open, and I was assuming at first that it was because it was such a beautiful day.

But then something else caught my eye. The fire trucks were just inside and the doors of all the firetrucks were open. Hanging from each door was the fireman’s coat and on the floor below each door was his turnout gear. As I saw that picture, I immediately thought to myself, “They are ready to respond within 30 seconds the moment the alarm sounds. They were ready at a moment’s notice.”

With my heart and passion for the disaster relief ministry, it got me to thinking. So, I asked myself the question, “Are we ready to respond at a moment’s notice when disaster strikes?” Obviously, as volunteers there is no way we can respond as quickly as a fire department. But are we ready? Are you ready?

We have learned that there are four basic phases of a disaster response.

The first is READINESS. Are you ready when disaster strikes? Being ready starts now, not after a disaster happens. We need to be alert, available and able. Being ready means being trained, equipped and being ready when the need comes. It involves already knowing and have rehearsed the steps when the call comes.

The second phase is RESPONSE. Response involves mobilizing to meet urgent needs. Response involves search and rescue, immediate relief, feeding, sheltering, and meeting emergent needs.

The third phase is RECOVERY. The recovery phase can last a few days to several months. Recovery includes chainsaw, flood, fire, roofing and tarping, and debris clean-up. This is the phase where the work gets done and requires many volunteers, regardless of skill level.

The final phase is REBUILD. This phase is usually long term and requires assistance from both skilled labor and those willing to serve and learn. This often is the reconstruction phase after homes have been affected by disasters. One major advantage during this phase is the opportunity to build a deeper relationship with the survivors.

We all know disasters happen and they can even happen to any of us. Are you ready? Have you, or are you planning to take the steps to be ready to respond when there is a need?

Hurting people need helping hands. And helping hands come from caring hearts.

Are you ready?

It’s Time to Take Notice

Ron Crow, KBC Disaster Relief Director

I have a picture that my wife bought for me while we were in Israel a few years ago. It is a stunning picture of Jesus’ lower garment and His feet walking on the crowded dusty road. You also see a woman’s hand and finger as she is reaching out to touch the hem of His garment and the picture depicts a glow at the very point where she touches Him. This picture illustrates the story we find in Mark 5:21-34.

Jesus was busy about His ministry among the people as the crowds were gathered around Him even as one family was begging Him to come and heal a young girl who was dying. You could imagine the commotion of the moment. There was the background noise of the crowd and the cries of hurting people with desperation in their voices. All kinds of activity were going on around Jesus. Everyone pulling for His attention.

Then, this woman who had been suffering from a chronic illness for over twelve years touched His garment with the faith that if she could only touch His garment, she would get well. Jesus did not know this woman. Jesus did not even see this woman. But He did notice her. Amid all the commotion and activity, He noticed her. He stopped and met her need. In fact, in meeting her need, He also had the opportunity to meet her greatest need, her spiritual need.

I often find myself getting caught up in the busyness of life. I may be in the crowds where there is a lot of commotion and talk. You have been there too where many of the noises are not even noticed as it all becomes one giant mass of noise. You either pay attention to what you want to or what you need to; or find yourself trying to tune it all out altogether. Sometimes we find ourselves even to the point we do not want to notice others and become inward focused.

Regardless of the mental state we might be in, if we truly want to be like Jesus, we will always be looking for opportunities to notice a need. It might be a simple smile, word of encouragement, kind gesture. Or you will discover a physical need that you have the resources or at least know where and how to get that need met. We need to learn to notice things as Jesus did. And the way we learn to notice, is to learn to think like Jesus.

That is one reason I love the disaster relief ministry so much as it models the ministry of Jesus. As you look at His ministry, He would often meet a physical need which always opened the opportunity to meet the spiritual need. He did this so well because Jesus noticed the need.

I’m reminded of what James said in James 2:14-17, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Can such faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothes and lacks daily foodand one of you says to them, “Go in peace, stay warm, and be well fed,” but you don’t give them what the body needs, what good is it? In the same way faith, if it does not have works, is dead by itself.”

Our faith is to be put into action. Faith is not a condition to claim but a life to live. And what I have found when I notice a need, that I not only can be a blessing to another, but I am blessed myself, often in unexpected ways.

Maybe it is time we notice. Open your eyes, look around and notice through the eyes of faith and see all that God will show you. Notice a need and meet a need. You’ll be blessed.