Arkansas Flood Response: SC Summary
South Carolina’s participation in the Arkansas flood response ended on July 3. Although three more SC Disaster Relief teams were scheduled to serve, they were stood down just days from departure as word came from Arkansas that most of the needs had been met, with just a few jobs remaining.
Three SCDR units served in Pine Bluff, Arkansas where river flooding from heavy rains caused damage to many homes. The flood recovery (aka mud-out) unit from Utica Baptist Church, Seneca, plus an assessor from Levels Baptist Church, Aiken made the trip June 16-22. They were followed by units from Ashley River Baptist Church (Charleston) and Greenville Baptist Association a week later.
Volunteers reported that this flood had the nastiest mud they had ever worked in. The teams did a total of 10 tear-outs, removing possessions and then tearing out the contaminated sheetrock, cabinetry, and flooring in the house. Then they pressure-washed and sprayed mold retardant where appropriate.
Assessors are volunteers who go ahead of the teams to meet the homeowner, look through the house to see what needs to be done, and write up the job request which is then put into the line-up for a team to be assigned to work the job. Often, assessors are accompanied by a chaplain since this is a good opportunity to address the emotional and spiritual needs of the homeowner. One assessor reported:
The first couple I encountered were at their wits end. This was the third time they had been flooded since 2015 and by far was the worst. They were a retired couple and had no other help. Even though we could not jump in and help them at that moment, they were happy to know that the possibility of help coming was real. They were members of a local church and knew the Lord as Savior but felt very isolated. We prayed with them and explained how Southern Baptist Disaster Relief would endeavor to help them when a team became available.
A unit leader reported:
One homeowner was a devout Catholic but more than once expressed frustration that she saw nobody from the Catholic church helping people after the disaster. Several team members were able to have spiritual conversations with her over the two days we worked in her house, and when Nancy shared the plan of salvation, the homeowner received Christ as her Savior!
Up and down the Arkansas River where Baptist DR volunteers from various states are doing mud-outs, there have been many salvation decisions. We are grateful for the SC volunteers who had a part in bringing help, hope, and healing to flood survivors in Arkansas.