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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

Dave Cross

Massachusetts Disaster Relief Tip January 2017

Hi Everyone,
The work is done, and the LONG trip home is finally over. It’s time to reflect on and critique the time we spent in Baton Rouge. I can’t begin to thank each and every one of you for all the hard work you did on this trip. I feel that ALL of you went above and beyond on everything that was expected of you. Not only did you do excellent work, you presented yourselves as the true Christians that you are. When doing mission work we are looked at differently than other workers, and we are expected to act and perform at a different level. You not only met that level……….You exceeded it. You truly worked as the Hands and Feet of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I’m very proud of the work you performed, but I’m even more proud of who you are.

For me these disaster relief trips are a life changing experience, and I hope that you have felt that same experience. We have been so blessed with the lives we live that sometimes we can take it all for granted and forget that not everyone is as blessed as we are. I think that these trips wake us up to reality. While we were in Baton Rouge I’m sure all of you saw the thousands of businesses that were closed. This was caused not only because of the water damage they received, but because the community as a whole was so devastated that they could not afford to buy the products the businesses were selling. This created a domino effect. Now, not only have people lost their homes and belongings, they have also lost their jobs because the companies they worked for have gone out of business. How well do you think we would cope if faced with the same scenario? I would like to think we would be able to do the same thing they did, and that is place our faith in God knowing that He will not give us any burden that we can not handle. It was amazing to watch the congregation of True Light Baptist Church during their Sunday service. They rejoiced and praised with everything they had. I felt blessed and humbled to be a part of it, and I hope you did also.

To summarize what we accomplished in one short week:
Complete taping and mudding (3 coats) at both Delaware St. and Shelly St.
Installed dry wall in house and garage at Maple St.
Repaired electrical at Maple St.
Pulled down bathroom ceiling, installed new electrical, replaced ceiling and installed light and ceiling blower at Maple St.
Installed new dry wall at Sugar Bowl St.
Taped and mudded first coat at Sugar Bowl
Replaced almost entire electrical system on first floor of Michael Vick’s house
Installed dry wall on 80% of Michael Vick’s house
Repaired electrical problem at Pastor Chandler’s home.
Repaired electrical problem at Betty Holmes house.

That is an astronomical amount of work to be accomplished in only one week by only 17 volunteers. Although some of you are new to construction work I felt like I was a part of a well oiled machine. Not only was the work done fast, it was done right. My sincere thanks to all of you. You did it right, and there were no problems or complaints. Team leaders, you did an outstanding job, and are to be commended not only for you leadership, but also for your ability to make a hard job enjoyable and educational. I heard nothing but praises from the men that were on your teams. Well done!

On behalf of myself and the entire American Baptist Mens Disaster Relief program I want you to know how very much we appreciate your work and dedication. We know that volunteering requires considerable expense and loss of a weeks vacation. We hope that you feel that it was all worth the effort, and will consider joining us again on future trips. Thank you ALL again.

Keep LOOKING UP!!!

Dave Tetreault

Baton Rouge Disaster Relief Trip – January 8-14

On January 8, 8 men from GRR Disaster Relief Teams, Everett Meister & Gordon Frobish from Area III, Don Rogers from Area IV, Mark Nelson from Area V and Richard Ruyle, Tim Johnson, George Labadie and Terry Maurizio from Area II, traveled to Baton Rouge to help with the installation of insulation and drywall in homes affected by the flooding of August 2016.  We were joined by 4 men and 1 woman from West Virginia and 1 woman and 2 men from Indiana.  The picture below shows the full team with members from True Light Baptist Church.

Our team from GRR was assigned the home of Donna Rogers to insulate and drywall.  Pictured here are our team members with Donna and John, a Deacon from the church who delivered supplies to us.

 

Installing insulation and drywall in her home.

We then split up and Tim, George and I stayed at Donna’s home to finish the drywall while the rest of the team when to Donna’s mother’s home.

Following pictures of water mark and team working on this home.

Mark had knowledge of furnaces and was able to work on those in 2 homes and he got them working again.  Here he is shown coming down from the attic of one home after working on furnace.

One evening we visited Geraldine Terry’s home.  When the team of Richard Ruyle, George Labadie and myself went to Baton Rouge in November of 2016, we installed the insulation in her home.  When the GRR Team led by Brian Romanowski went down a week later, they completed the drywall installation.  The pictures below show the same room in her home in November and currently.  The walls have been mudded, taped and painted and she is having flooring people come in this week.

 On Thursday evening, the whole group went our to Parain’s Seafood Restaurant for supper.  Vicky Goff, American Baptist Churhes National Volunteer Coordinator joined us and stayed over to work with us the next day.

On our way home, we drove through a winter wonderland of ice on the trees and grass but the road was clear.

 

We were able to complete the installation of insulation and drywall in 2 homes and insulation in a 3rd.  An ABM Disaster Relief Team from Massachusetts was flying in to work this week.  They will continue where we left off.  Jack Cobb was talking about trying to get more teams to come down sometime in March.  There is probably enough work left to keep teams busy most of this year.

 In His Service,

Terry Maurizio

Photo’s of Disaster Relief Effort in Baton Rouge Dec 2016

Interview with Geraldine of Baton Rouge

Please click on the link below to view video

Interview with Geraldine of Baton Rouge 

 

BATON ROUGE FLOOD DISASTER RESPONSE Oct. 31-Nov. 5

BATON ROUGE FLOOD DISASTER RESPONSE    Oct. 31-Nov. 5

 

 

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Our ABMen National Disaster Relief Coordinator issued a call to all ABM teams to respond to Baton Rouge during the weeks of Oct. 30, Nov. 6 and Nov. 13.  It is estimated that around 60,000 homes and businesses had 2-4 feet of water in their structures.  During this first week, a team of 5 men, 2 from West Virginia and 3 from Illinois responded to the call.

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Members of this team were Jack Cobb (National ABM Disaster Relief Coordinator) and Lucky Ray from West Virginia (green shirts), and Terry Maurizio, George Labadie and Richard Ruyle from our GRR Disaster Relief ministry.  Also pictured are Pauline Hurst and Rev Dennis Hebert the Pastor of True Light Baptist Church, from True Light Baptist Church where we were housed and fed.

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We slept on comfortable cots and showered in a 4 unit trailer just outside our door.  

 

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These three ladies served us delicious breakfast and lunch each day.  The members of True Light were very gracious hosts.

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Our initial view of Baton Rouge was debris still piled on the curb and temporary housing.  It had been 3 months since the flood and insulation and sheet rock were still being removed from homes.  The rebuilding was just beginning.

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The work consisted mostly of installing insulation and sheet rock.  We completed one home and partially completed a second home during our 4 days.

 

We will have another team from West Virginia and Illinois going the week of Nov. 13.  Brian Romanowski will lead the Illinois team.  Prayerfully consider going with Brian’s team.  His contact information is 309.826.8116 or email him at bs.romanowski@gmail.com.  Also, Jack is considering issuing another call in January, so you might want to plan to respond then.  I will keep you informed.  You will be blessed.

 

In His Service,

Terry Maurizio