I’m trained for disaster response.  Specifically, I’m one of the 80 thousand Southern Baptist yellow-shirted volunteers certified to help out in a disaster.

I’ve taken that training a step further.  I and others at my church have received Red Cross training in first-in damage assessment.  Sleeping in the truck first in.  Helping the Governor decide if it’s bad enough to make it a federal disaster area.  It gets me to where hurting people are.

I have a ham radio license.  I’m one of the 40 or so locals who actively participate in civic events like marshaling parades and parking cars at community events.  I train with the radio team and they know me.  In an emergency, I become a trusted agent with access to the shelters and the command post, as a minister of the gospel.

We train for commodity distribution, and when the church gave away 1600 boxes of food, our team did so efficiently and with smiles and prayers, ministering love with order and cooperation. (no one waited in line more than half an hour)

When we go in to “mud out” a flooded house, or take a chain saw team to remove downed trees, or set up a mobile kitchen to feed thousands a day, we do so to get close to hurting people who need to hear that God loves them, and in spite of present circumstances, has a wonderful plan for their life, and has brought me past the police checkpoint to minister His grace.

Because if I provide aid without a witness, I’m just another city volunteer, with a dead faith.  I want instead to work out my salvation to people who in that moment are anxious for a good word.

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