September 14-17, Baptist Bible College sent just over 80 students to southeast Texas in response to Hurricane Harvey. The students were overwhelmingly eager to go serve, even though most did not fully understand exactly what lay before them. A number of Fellowship churches donated money and supplies to help us get there and aid in the relief e orts.
We broke the students into three groups. One group went to an area of Houston to help tear out sheetrock and debris from homes that had been ooded. Another group went to areas around Groves and Vidor that were hit exceptionally hard. Dustin Byrd is a BBC alumni working at First Baptist Church in Groves and he was instrumental in organizing rescue and relief actions in the area. The church was working in the homes of both members and the community, and the BBC students joined in tearing out sheetrock, carpet, flooring, and debris. Students were also able to help at Faith Baptist Church in Vidor, which was heavily damaged in the flooding. The last group went to Camp Ta-Ku-La in Chester. Dr. Steve Hays runs the camp and it had become a refugee center as well as a distribution location for many of the supplies headed into southeast Texas. There, students helped unload supply trucks, and also went into poverty-stricken areas that were ooded when dams on the lakes had to be opened.
This trip provided the students valuable experience in ministering to those a ected by disasters. They saw pastors whose homes had been destroyed, living in Sunday school classrooms at church while ministering to people instead of fixing their own homes. They saw what it was like to bring the hope and love of Jesus to people whose world had been turned upside down. Some of our students even led two individuals in the Houston area to Jesus Christ!
As a result of the support from BBFI churches and the impact it had on our students, we hope to be able to respond to future areas of need in the same manner. President Mark Milioni put it best when he addressed the students before they left for Texas: “Remember, it’s not about us … it’s about Him and them.”