Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief teams converge on Idabel after tornado

IDABEL — Volunteers from a local faith group have been busy helping survivors of a recent tornado, including a congregation whose church building was destroyed in the storm.

Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief crews converged on Idabel a day after a tornado swept through the town.

Sam Porter, acting director of Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief, said disaster relief volunteers were helping Reverend Don Myer and his congregation following the destruction of Trinity Baptist Church, where Myer serves as pastor. . More than 200 church members gathered for worship in the church parking lot on Sunday.

Myer told The Associated Press that Trinity Baptist was preparing to complete a new building when the storm tore through their sanctuary and flattened the shell of the nearby new structure. The 250-member congregation was due to vote after Sunday service on whether to go ahead with final works to complete the building, Myer said.

“But we haven’t come to that. Every vote counts and we had one vote outweigh all of us,” said Myer, 67. “We were close to doing it. That’s how close we were.”

A member of the Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief team helps clear tree branches and debris following a tornado that hit parts of Idabel.

Myer said the congregation will pray over what happened, see how much their insurance covers, and work to rebuild.

Meanwhile, Porter said Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief has four chainsaw crews serving in southeast Oklahoma to help clean up downed trees, tree limbs and debris. He said the group’s food crews are preparing meals for storm survivors at First Baptist Church in Idabel, where Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief has set up an incident command post.

An Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief team member uses a chainsaw to cut a fallen tree branch in Idabel.

Members of the Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief team also traveled to Calera to help Calera First Baptist Church, which also suffered damage in the November 4 storm.

Porter said volunteer disaster relief teams were also in Daytona Beach, Fla., helping people whose lives were turned upside down by Hurricane Ian in September. He said more than 60 Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief members, along with Baptist disaster relief teams from other states, are helping Floridians clear mud from water-damaged structures.

CONTRIBUTE: The Associated Press

how to help

For more information about Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief or to donate, go to https://www.okdisasterhelp.org/donate/ or send your donations to: BGCO, ​​Attn: Disaster Relief, 3800 N May Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73112.

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