NCMO moves churches from ‘the pew to people in need’
    September 8 2014 by Michael McEwen, BR Content Editor

    After storms destroy households and businesses, disaster relief volunteers from Baptists On Mission (BOM) arrive to provide organization, equipment and strategy for displaced individuals and families to help rebuild more than homes – they show up to help rebuild livelihoods.
     
    Likely one of the most visible ministries of BOM – formerly, North Carolina Baptist Men – is disaster relief. It involves thousands of men, women and student volunteers in 14 ministries.
     
    In September, North Carolina Baptists have an opportunity to give to the North Carolina Mission Offering (NCMO), a special offering that supports mission and ministry initiatives including BOM.
     
    Gaylon Moss, disaster relief coordinator for BOM, said, “The NCMO provides the necessary resources for us to develop the mechanisms required to be involved in mission. It helps us help churches move from the pew to the people in need.”
     
    The 2014 theme for NCMO is “Choose Now.”
     
    BOM works with various disaster organizations like the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, N.C. Emergency Management and others to provide relief to those afflicted by disaster.
     
    One of the goals of BOM is to mobilize church members and to coordinate projects to accomplish kingdom work in the affected areas. After record-setting amounts of rainfall penetrated many areas in Michigan, this flooding disaster opened the door for BOM’s disaster relief ministry.
     
    Greg Riggs, site coordinator for the Dearborn, Mich., area, has been providing assistance to a predominantly Arab neighborhood in the Dearborn and Dearborn Heights areas.
     
    After this region experienced an eight-inch rainfall in a brief period of time, Riggs said they have been providing disaster relief work since early August. “We’ve been taking out moulding, debris, sofas and furniture in order to sanitize the homes so [families] can start putting stuff back in.”
     
    Most experienced two-to-four feet of water, but there were some cases where 14 feet of water breached households.
     
    More than 30,000 Muslims live in Dearborn. It is the second largest community of Muslims in the United States, and it also hosts the largest Shia mosque in the U.S., the Islamic Center of America.
     
    Riggs said, “Everyone we’ve encountered has been very friendly and open. … It’s been a really good relationship.
     
    “This is the first time for a lot of these people [that] we’ve been able to get into their homes. … Because of this flood, we can build relationships with these people that the churches haven’t been able to do.”
     
    The BOM disaster relief team has trained more than 14,000 volunteers for disaster response.
     
    In 2013, thousands of BOM volunteers prepared more than 600,000 meals and carried out hundreds of cleanup projects that sometimes require heavy equipment, careful management, advance planning and motivated volunteers who know what to do.
     
    Brian Davis, associate executive-director treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, said, “What many do not realize is that when disasters strike, [BOM] cannot wait on special offerings or other designated gifts to fuel and fund the response for the need is immediate.”
     
    In 2010, BOM volunteers responded to the earthquake that devastated Haiti. This year already, volunteers have served numerous locations in North Carolina damaged by ice storms and tornadoes. And after Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern seaboard in October 2012, teams still continue to assist in relief efforts.
     
    Tom Leeper, a layman at Biltmore Baptist Church in Arden, is a BOM volunteer serving in the cleanup and restoration work in Seaside Heights, N.J.
     
    “The tenets of our church at Biltmore Baptist are to reach up, reach out and reach in,” he said. “We try to keep those as equally yoked as we can. We have a real passion for helping folks, and disaster relief and rebuild is a passion of those who go on these trips.”
     
    Two years after Hurricane Sandy, a number of individuals and families are still waiting for their homes and businesses to receive repairs.
     
    Officials estimate that Superstorm Sandy damaged or destroyed 305,000 housing units in New York, and in New Jersey, more than 346,000 households were destroyed or damaged. Sandy is the second-costliest storm in U.S. history – only behind 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. In January 2013, President Barack Obama signed and Congress approved a $50 billion Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund that 19 federal agencies received to help in the rebuild.
     
    Later this month, about a dozen individuals from Biltmore Baptist will add another trip to the eight they’ve already tallied. In the first four to five trips, the group removed debris and cleaned up areas dismantled by Sandy.
     
    But now, they have transitioned into a “rebuild” phase diligent in structural repair. They do everything from installing dry wall and cabinets, as well as painting and other construction.
     
    Leeper noted that many currently live in motels or with family members, so they are anxious to be “home.”
     
    While assisting in Seaside Heights, the Biltmore volunteers also share the gospel with those they encounter.
     
    “We usually say we’re the hands and feet of Christ, but I think He expects us to be His voice as well,” said Leeper.
     
    The largest portion of NCMO’s $2.1 million goal supports BOM – approximately 41 percent of the offering. Davis said, “giving through the NCMO provides mission critical funds up front … ready for immediate response in the affected communities.
     
    “Please do not wait until the next hurricane, tornado, ice storm, etc. to give. Support the NCMO today.”
     
    Visit ncmissionsoffering.com. To see photos of NCMO ministry projects view this photo gallery.

    9/8/2014 12:43:00 PM by Michael McEwen, BR Content Editor | with 0 comments
    Filed under: Baptists on Mission, NC missions offering, SBC




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