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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.
  • Delight of the Father's Life

    The moment Jesus came up out of the baptismal waters, the skies opened up and he saw God's Spirit — it looked like a dove — descending and landing on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: "This is my Son, chosen and marked by my love, delight of my life."

    Matthew 3:16-17 MESSAGE

    Key Thought

    This moment is one of incredible holiness and transcendence. The Father looks down and delights in the Son. The Spirit descends from the Father to rest on and in the Son (Luke 4:1). The Father's words are crucial for Jesus as he prepares to battle the evil one in the wilderness as he is tempted after fasting for 40 days (Matthew 4:1-11). As incredible as Jesus' baptism is, we also share in this moment of God's assurance at our baptism. We are baptized in the name and by the authority of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20) and receive the Spirit to live in us (Acts 2:38-39). We also share with the Son in his death, burial, and resurrection for us (Romans 6:3-6). The Holy Spirit works the miraculous in us (1 Corinthians 6:11) as we are reborn (John 3:3-7) by our faith in God, who raised Jesus from the dead (Colossians 2:12; Titus 3:3-7). We are born from above through the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit (John 1:12; John 3:3-6). By faith, we also know just what God thinks about us: We are his children, chosen and marked by his love, the delight of his life!

    Today's Prayer

    O Father, thank you! Thank you for the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. I believe he died for my sins and was raised so I could be made perfect and righteous in your sight. Thank you for the cleansing and transforming work of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for the example of Jesus, who though perfect and not in need of repentance or baptism, was baptized anyway to fulfill all righteousness. And thank you, dear Father, for your words to Jesus when he was baptized. Through them, I know that my baptism brought you joy and delight. I thank you for these gifts, in Jesus' name. 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.

  • With Fire!

    [John the Baptizer:] "I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am — so much greater that I'm not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."

    Matthew 3:11 NLT

    Key Thought

    There are two sides to baptism: (1) what happens to the one being baptized based on that person's intentions, and (2) what Jesus does through the Holy Spirit. While our intentions in being baptized are important, the work of Jesus in pouring out the Spirit on us to cleanse us and to live inside us is what allows us to accomplish our intended transformation (Titus 3:3-7; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18). John the Baptizer had great power as a preacher to convict people of sin, call them to repentance, and point them to Jesus. Each of these is crucial in the lives of all people intentionally preparing their hearts for Jesus. John had incredible gifts, but only Jesus can baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. Only Jesus can cleanse us through the Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:11) and then come and make his home in us through the Spirit (John 14:19-23). The greatest of preachers is not worthy of carrying the sandals of the Messiah, Jesus, the Son of God; he is the only one capable of baptizing with the Holy Spirit and fire.

    Today's Prayer

    Righteous Father, your holiness is unattainable. But you have given it to us through the gracious gift of your Son on the cross and the cleansing, empowering, indwelling, and transforming gift of the Holy Spirit. In the name of Jesus, we praise you almighty God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 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.