Disaster Relief chaplains take students to help after Hurricane Ike in Louisiana
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Disaster Relief chaplains take students to help after Hurricane Ike in Louisiana

Published 3/9/17

Bailee Harmon

TNE Writer

NSU's Baptist Collegians Ministry leaders are taking students to Baton Rouge, La. to help out after the hurricane that hit in August 2016.

"Once we get down there we will have two teams," said Bobby Lipscomb, co-director of BCM. "One team will be putting up sheet rock in a church that got destroyed. The church hasn't been able to meet since the hurricane. The other team will be mud-taping or painting, depending how much the previous crews have gotten done."

There are disaster relief teams in just about every state across the U.S. The in-state disaster relief teams will react immediately to a disaster, and then other states come to assist them.

"Most disaster relief volunteers are retired, but we have come to see that college students can put in a lot harder work," said Bobby Lipscomb.

Students who volunteer learn much about themselves and new trades that can be used in their daily lives.

“The trips I participated in with the NSU BCM helped me grow in so many ways,” said Autumn Stafford, director of Career Services. “I was challenged to get out of my comfort zone and often challenged to learn new skills so I could help with the service projects.”

Stafford said on the first trip she attended, she learned how to mud and tape drywall. Over time it has helped her to better understand her gifts and how she could put them to work in daily activities and ministry. The trips also gave her a taste of what it is like to live life sacrificially. Learning to sacrifice time for the sake of others is something she is glad she learned early in life.

Bobby Lipscomb and his wife have been a part of the disaster relief team for 37 years, and it has been a part in the NSU community for 16 1/2 years.

"Going down to help someone you don't know and giving up your time shows those people there is hope," said Debbie Lipscomb, co-director of BCM. "Sometimes it helps them work through the grief and loss and let's them know that someone cares."

Debbie Lipscomb said when they went to help after Hurricane Ike there was a woman who thought she had lost all of her grandmother's possessions. They found a saucer, and it made the woman so happy. Helping people find their valuable possessions they thought they would never see again seems like a small thing, but it is rewarding to see their reactions.

This trip to Baton Rouge will be taking approximately 36 volunteers total on a disaster relief vehicle. Some are the leaders and students from a youth group in Pryor. The others are a few volunteer students from NSU. 

To be a disaster relief volunteer one must be part of a team. Not anyone can go. If one is not a supervisor, then they must go with a supervisor.

Bobby Lipscomb said volunteers will be staying in a local church gymnasium while in Baton Rouge. The churches supply the showers and the kitchen for the cooks to prepare their meals.

There are many different activities that people are trained to do. Volunteers feed those in need. Then there is mud out, which is cleaning. Children is a group to be trained in, as well. It involves keeping the children safe, away from dangerous areas and helping them with daily needs. Shower consists of washing clothes. Then there are chainsaw teams, mostly used during ice storms. All trades that can be learned are needed to help during a disaster. There is a place for everyone and every job.

Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma provides insurance and meal plans for volunteers. They also take care of the fuel and transportation.

"Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma is a cooperative program, it is funded through local churches," said Debbie Lipscomb.

Volunteers will leave Friday, March 10 and return back to Oklahoma Thursday, March 16.

Bobby Lipcomb said the duration of time varies with each trip.

For more information about how to volunteer, see Bobby or Debbie Lipscomb in the BCM building on campus, south of campus police.


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