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Date: 10-18-2017

ST. THOMAS, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS — Nineteen Kentucky Baptists arrived in St. Thomas on Sunday afternoon to face some “extremely challenging” working conditions on the tiny Caribbean island, devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The disaster relief team of 13 males and six females, who will be serving through Oct. 29, are partnering with nine Southern Baptist churches in the Virgin Islands. The disaster relief team of 13 males and six females, who will be serving through Oct. 29, are partnering with nine Southern Baptist churches in the Virgin Islands.

The disaster relief team of 13 males and six females, who will be serving through Oct. 29, are partnering with nine Southern Baptist churches in the Virgin Islands. They will be feeding those affected by the storms and doing chainsaw and flood clean-up.

“This is an extremely challenging deployment as the team is staying at Bluewater Bible College with no electricity, running water and phone service,” said Coy Webb, director of Kentucky Baptist Disaster Relief. “We are also battling difficulties getting resources on the island to support the team, such as a mobile kitchen and food supply containers,” he added.

Karen Smith, the “Blue Hat” (leader) of the Kentucky team, reported that the group was having difficulty communicating with the U.S. mainland. “Phone service is almost non-existent on island, and even texts are spotty,” she said.

Communications services and the power grid likely will be out for some time as the island’s infrastructure was destroyed.

Smith and two other Kentucky Baptists met with a Colonel for the National Guard, which is working to clear roads so food and supplies can reach people in need.

“Trees and poles down everywhere. Looks like a war zone,” Smith texted to Webb. The National Guard is open to allowing team to borrow a generator, but there is no diesel on the island, she said. 
“Fuel is major issue on the island,” she added.

Team members hope to lead workshops in food safety and mass food preparation and chainsaw training for volunteers from local Baptist churches there, so disaster relief work can continue after the group returns to Kentucky.

Local churches have been asked to provide meals with disaster relief support to schools when they reopen, which is expected to be sometime this week. Food is desperately needed on island as supplies are very limited and many people lack resources to purchase food at this time, Smith reported.

Team leaders are praying that food containers and a Southern Baptist Disaster Relief kitchen from Alabama Baptists will arrive soon, so they can begin feeding people. “The team is ready to provide 2,000 meals per day, but needs food and cooking equipment,” Smith said. “We cannot stress enough that the need is urgent.”

This is not the first Kentucky DR team to serve outside the continental United States or on an international deployment. Volunteers have worked in Sub-Sahara Africa, Greece and Iraq, according to Webb. But this is proving to be one of the most challenging.

“It’s an extremely fluid response, but the team is offering help, healing and hope as they remind those on the island that God cares about them and they are not forgotten,” said Webb, who is unsure at this time if additional teams from Kentucky will be sent to St. Thomas.

By Todd Deaton
The Western Recorder

 

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God's Holy Fire from Heartlight

God's Holy Fire is a daily devotional about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
  • Don't Worry about What to Say!

    [Jesus said,] "But when you are arrested and stand trial, don't worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit."

    Mark 13:11 NLT

    Key Thought

    What an incredible promise! We are never alone, even when we are under the threat of persecution and martyrdom. We have the Holy Spirit of God within us. We are not abandoned in trial or torture. The Spirit who bore witness to Jesus through the centuries will bear witness to Jesus through us. The power of this promise is demonstrated in the story of Stephen: "But [the people arguing with Stephen] could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke.... Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God" (Acts 6:10; Acts 7:55).

    Today's Prayer

    O Almighty God, please give me the courage to speak up for Jesus with grace and boldness trusting that your Spirit will give me the right words and attitude to share my hope with those who do not yet know your grace given in Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.


    Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

    Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

  • Speaking by the Holy Spirit

    [Jesus said,] "David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: 'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet."'"

    Mark 12:36 NIV

    Key Thought

    Jesus tells us that David's great Psalm 110 is Spirit-inspired. And that Psalm speaks to the greatness of the Messiah — the greatness of Jesus! He is Lord. Lord of the nations. Lord of all. Lord of even David. He will rule. He will triumph. And the power of David's testimony is the Holy Spirit. The Spirit gave this testimony about Jesus being Lord through King David a thousand years before Jesus came. When the Holy Spirit is present, Jesus is praised, and his identity is proclaimed, as has been true for centuries!

    Today's Prayer

    O Father, I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Lord. I believe the Holy Spirit gave testimony to this truth through inspired witnesses thousands of years before Jesus came. I trust that as I draw close to you and as I am filled with the Holy Spirit my life will also be a testimony to the greatness of Jesus Christ my Lord, in whose name I pray. Amen.


    Ⓒ 1996-2018 Heartlight, Inc. This material may not be reproduced in part or whole for commercial use without written consent. The Thoughts and Prayer for God's Holy Fire are written by Phil Ware.

    Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

    Scripture quotations marked MESSAGE are taken from THE MESSAGE, copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

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