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HURRICANE HARVEY

August 30, 2017

Dear ABMen Brothers in Christ;

ABMen USA endeavors to provide representation and communication to all ABC Regions and ABM USA Districts including making sure all regional and local men might be aware of mission and ministry needs. I wanted to update you on recent ministry communications in response to Hurricane Harvey.

American Baptists are members of the North American Baptist Fellowship (NABF) which includes most Baptist denominations across America and Canada including of course ABMen USA and the Texas Baptist Men. The Texas folks are the “big dogs”, well funded and well organized, and we thank God for their ministry. All of the participating NABF organizations have specific “specialties” in terms of what they bring to the recovery table and while there may be regional variations, ABMen USA Disaster Relief is typically a ministry resource for labor, chainsaw & debris removal teams, mud-out services and re-build support following such a disaster. A perfect example of that are the continuing efforts in Sellers, SC following Hurricane Matthew, where teams from West Virginia will make their 6th trip back to that community in just a few days. Our ministry responds wherever needed, tending to seek out the elderly, the poor or the uninsured.

As a men’s ministry we essentially provide clean up labor and re-construction skills. However, much like following Hurricane Katrina, the current response is focused on rescue and rescue support priorities at this time both in SE Texas and SW Louisiana and the call for our response is weeks or more away. A coordinated response is extremely critical to its effectiveness and our information is that it will be several weeks before waters will recede to the point where NABF teams, including ABMen USA Disaster Relief National Coordinator Jack Cobb, will travel to the Texas / Louisiana region to survey the area and identify needs and details of a coming national call for volunteers. For that national call work sites need to be identified and locations for housing & feeding responders need to be arranged. As in the past, ABMen USA and American Baptist Homes Mission Societies (ABHMS) are working together on our response.

Ironically just last week at our National Board meetings in Oregon, ABHMS informed us that approval had been received on a joint grant application (ABHMS / ABM USA) we had submitted for 2 mobile disaster shower trailers, something we have needed many times over the last 10 years. ABMen USA will man and maintain these trailers and one will be staged on the East Coast and the other in the Midwest once construction and delivery are complete - but it’s not known when they will be available to us if at all in regard to this response.

I also wanted to share that I was told yesterday that in anticipation of a national ABMen USA disaster response, our banking partner, Christian Community Credit Union has pledged to match every dollar raised for our relief efforts toward Hurricane Harvey, up to 5000.00.

The reality of this event indicates initially that this may well surpass the needs realized following Hurricane Katrina. This will be a long journey for that region and ABMen USA, along with ABHMS, are working to make sure those willing and able to respond can do so safely and directly to a needed community.

Please continue to pray for all of the first responders, volunteers and the hundreds of thousands of people displaced and affected by Hurricane Harvey. If you or your men’s groups wish to further support our mission at this time, you can send your monetary donations to:

ABMen USA
c/o Dave Cross – Treasurer
223 Maple Street
Athens, Pa 18810

Or donate through our website at www.abmen.org.

May we always be up to HIS challenge.

Bob Slechta
President
American Baptist Men, USA

KEY CONTRIBUTOR

ABMEN WV BRIDGE PROJECT MAY 2016

AMERICAN BAPTIST MEN-USA

Post Office Box 1019      Parkersburg, West Virginia  26102

 ABMEN WV BRIDGE PROJECT MAY 2016

The terrain of West Virginia includes many small valleys with steep hills on both sides. There is normally a creek along one side of the road with homes on the other side of the road. Access to those homes is usually by way of small bridges constructed by the home owners. Heavy rainstorms cause the creeks to overflow, which causes the high fast moving water to occasionally push the bridges off their foundations and destroys the homeowners access to their homes. Some homeowners have insurance to replace their bridges, but many do not. And some of those who do not have insurance, are elderly and do not have the funds nor family members who can help restore access to their homes. Government resources are not normally permitted to be used for these types of bridges. Consequently, some people are forced to move from their homes for long periods of time until their bridges are repaired or replaced.

An organization in WV called “VOAD”, Volunteer Organizations Assisting in Disasters, has established a list of nearly 300 homes needing private bridges repaired or replaced. American Baptist Men of WV of the ABMen-USA is associated with the North American Baptist Fellowship, NABF. ABMen of WV have partnered with the Mennonites Disaster Service and VOAD to provide funds and labor to replace many of these bridges.

 

The members of the Mennonites Disaster Service and men of the ABMen of WV completed such a bridge for two elderly ladies in Boone County, WV on May 20, 2016. The bridge met all government specifications for location, performance and safety. The ladies were very appreciative of the volunteers’ efforts, shedding tears of joy at the prayer of dedication at the end of the project. More bridges will be built soon.

Kenna Lucky Ray

Executive Director, ABMen-USA

luckyray1@suddenlink.net