January 2020
Stories from the Field: A Paradise Survivor's Tale
At the writing of this article, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ is in full swing with decorations, music and wishes of Merry Christmas from friends and strangers alike. Christmas time is season of traditions with family and friends; and in our house, tradition calls for the annual viewing of Frank Capra’s classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” And love or hate that movie, the central message is one that feels especially relevant to disaster response: You will never know how your life impacts those around you

In disaster response, volunteers are called upon to minister to the frightened, the lonely and the discouraged; to meet physical needs as well as emotional needs. This calls to mind one survivor that CSBC met in Paradise in early 2019. The Camp Fire that decimated Paradise in November of 2018 burned 15,000 homes and 2,000 businesses, forever changing the lives of all who lived there. 

Mary Lynn, a widow, was a resident of Paradise for over 40 years, raising her family there, caring for her husband until he passed away, and ultimately living alone in her two-story house until the Camp Fire ripped through her small community. And in that moment, she lost everything and felt abandoned by God. But He had not abandoned Mary Lynn. God called teams of volunteers to Paradise to minister to those people who felt most alone. When we went to Mary Lynn’s house and met her for the first time, her discouragement was evident in her increased anxiety. 

As we searched for the few precious talismans of her own mother, long since passed, her anger began to flare. In an attempt to distract her, team members began to share with her all of the various places they were from, and her demeanor changed. “What brought you to Paradise?” she asked. And we told her, “God sent us here to help you. Specifically you ...” and she began to cry. In that moment when she felt hopeless and abandoned by God, grieving over her incredible loss, God showed up for her in the form of volunteers in Tyvek suits with gloves and face masks to help her recover what she could and to begin to heal from the trauma of that catastrophic event.  

CSBCDR made multiple trips to the burned hulk of Mary Lynn’s house, recovering what they could, listening to her stories about her life, and embodying the verse in Galatians 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.  Unlike George Bailey in that wonderful movie, we will not be granted the perspective to see how our actions have benefited those around us, at least not while we live on earth. 

We cannot think of a more wonderful homecoming in heaven than when we get to see just how our actions positively impacted those we minister to during disaster response: the frightened child we comforted, the discouraged mother we held while she sobbed into our shoulder, or the man who was devastated by the loss of his workshop. Imagine the glory given to God when they finally get the chance to look into our eyes and say, “You changed my life by showing up. Thank you.”
Upcoming Trainings:
Disaster Relief Chaplaincy (CSBCDRM)
1/24-25 West Hills, CA
3/13-14 Campbell, CA

K-LOVE Sponsored, taught by Naomi Paget:
CISM: Stress Management - Trauma Provider
3/17-18 Vacaville, CA

Cultural Diversity in Crisis
3/19-20 Vacaville, CA

CISM: Strategic Response to Crisis
8/13-14 Ontario, CA

CISM: Advanced Group Crisis Intervention
8/11-12 Ontario, CA
9/3-4  Long Beach, CA

Church Spotlight: FBC Elverta Redefines "Disaster Relief"
When Disaster Relief comes to mind, we think of fires, earthquakes, hurricanes and mudslides. But is that the only way to define a disaster? Normally we think of trucks filled with clean-up equipment or chainsaws or field kitchens. Could you respond to a disaster with little more than an air conditioner? What if we used a different definition for a “disaster”?

Elverta, California sits just north of Sacramento. It gets hot in Elverta in the summer. During a recent heat wave, Pastor Peter Ceccardi of First Baptist Church started up the A/C and opened the church doors to the local residents who were limited to swamp coolers or without air conditioning at all.

A heat wave may not seem like a disaster to you, but it did to local residents who spent those hot afternoons in the cool of FBC Elverta playing games and socializing with people they had not met before. For a period of time that church was the definition of Disaster Relief.

Question: Have you considered what your church might do if you could change your perceptions of the word disaster?
Lessons Learned:
An Audience of One
It had been raining for days and again, the water bottles in the kitchen were getting low. After the fire in Paradise the town's water was toxic. In order to support the clean-up teams, water was held in a 2,500 gallon reservoir that had to be hauled from there to the kitchen in 5 gallon bottles. It was a cold and miserable job.

Virtually unseen by the rest of the team, he daily made the trek. With certain regularity, he kept the bottles full. If he hadn’t done it, the whole operation would have ceased to function ... no water, no food, no teams going out. But because he did it, memories were discovered, ministry was done, and people learned that there was hope. Jesus said that doing something as simple as giving a cup of cold water in the Master’s name has an impact for the Kingdom.

Two lessons learned: In Disaster Relief, the dirtiest jobs are usually the ones with the most impact. And regardless of how dark, cold or rainy it is, there is always an Audience of One. 
Southern Baptist Convention DR Across the Miles
"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me"
Matthew 23:35 (ESV)

SBCDR is active all across the nation, and in times of extreme crisis will also respond internationally. This column will update our readers on SBCDR activity and how our volunteers strive to fulfill one of the core values of SBC : “We consider others more important than ourselves.”  

Like many urban areas across the country, the city of Austin, Texas has been attempting to meet the needs of all its residents, homeless included. When the homeless population in Austin had to relocate from an encampment under an overpass into a temporary site, the Texas Department of Emergency Management put in an emergency call to Texas Southern Baptist Disaster Response to help feed and comfort these displaced people. 

The Rapid Response kitchen was deployed, staffed entirely by volunteers. These Austin residents were fed hot meals while the city worked to find a more permanent place for them. Much like a fire, flood or wind event, these people lost the place they called home and were struggling physically and spiritually with the relocation. SBC volunteers provided not only food, but comfort and prayer in the name of Christ ... with a side of biscuits and gravy - Texas style.

Full story by Baptist Press .
Help us with DRone

We want your help! We will be constantly looking for material for this newsletter. If you have stories, lessons learned, insights, ideas about the newsletter itself, or PHOTOS you would like to share with us for consideration, please send them to jbauer@CSBC.com .
Regarding photos, we are especially looking for pictures of the disaster itself, people ministering to people, or Mike Bivins actually working. ;-)
Preparing Those Left Behind

Definition of preparedness
: the quality or state of readiness; to work
out the details of, plan in advance

“A farmer too lazy to plant in the spring has nothing to harvest in the fall”
Prov 20:4, The Message Bible

We use that term “prepared” often when it comes to disaster response. But what does it mean and why should we care? Disaster response is all pretty simple, isn’t it? A disaster happens somewhere, CSBCDR puts out a call and we respond, we go ... and in the wake of us going, often times we leave our family and our friends to carry on the business of life without us for a time.
But if you’re anything like the typical family, there is one person that everyone relies on. And if that one person is also the one who “goes” – where does that leave those left behind? In this newsletter there will be many articles, tips and stories about preparedness, planning out how you, your family, your community and your church will respond during a catastrophic event.  When volunteers respond to help those in need, it is of critical importance that they leave behind appropriate resources and a plan in place for the safety and security of their family. You will not be effective in the field ministering to others if your own family is not taken care of.

There are many resources available online to assist you in preparing your family for a disaster. FEMA has an excellent library of articles, checklists and plans. You can google family preparedness to find more listings of federal, state and local resources available to assist you in getting ready for a disaster. Let’s not abandon those we leave behind!
Renewed Focus for Churches: Community Disaster Ministry
Community Disaster Ministry is the title of DR’s renewed focus to help churches prepare to minister within their communities in times of crisis or disaster.  Since all disasters start locally, the local church is one of the best focal points for a faith-based response. Dawn and Richard Dwyer have been meeting with individual churches to help them explore how they can be prepared to effectively be part of the response to local disasters.

Community Disaster Ministry (CDM) is a resource to help churches know more about new and exciting opportunities that are available in their community – ways to become involved in ministries that expose them to another level of community involvement they may not have previously explored. The article about First Baptist Church in Elverta providing a cooling center during a heat wave is just one of many ways to minister when a need arises.

CDM advisors help churches by:
  • leading them in assessing their community, congregation and facilities
  • working with leadership to identify possible ministries needed, and providing guidance so they can function effectively in crisis situations
  • assisting in building a Community Disaster Ministry Team, and sharing tools for the teams to use
  • advising on networking with local disaster response agencies and organizations to establish a relationship before a crisis occurs

Why not get the church prepared to respond in the event of a crisis? Whether it’s taking action when an earthquake happens, responding to a local apartment fire, assisting in an active shooter situation, or setting up a warming or cooling center during a severe weather event, Community Disaster Ministry prepares the church to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world – right on their doorstep.

Schedule a conversation with Dawn and Richard Dwyer, 310-938-5871, dsd6019@gmail.com
Family Preparedness
Welcome to Family Preparedness! This will be a regular column in the newsletter where we will cover subjects related to personal and family readiness in the face of a catastrophic event.

It is an unfortunate truth that no matter what your address or zip code, your family will be impacted by a natural disaster of some sort. In California alone, in 2019 there were fires, floods, earthquakes and mudslides, and 2020 will likely be no exception. 

Here, you can find tips and tools you can use to make your family disaster-ready. We will discuss the importance of a get home bag, out of state contact, pet preparedness, food storage, and more all designed to help minimize the fear associated with an unexpected event and to assist you in recovering faster. 

Designate an emergency contact, preferably out of state.

This may seem like an obvious subject, but for a moment let’s indulge in a little exercise. California is earthquake country, and if you have lived here for any length of time, you know these occur without warning. The Ridgecrest Earthquake in July of 2019, the 6.9 foreshock to be exact, occurred at 10:30 AM. 

Think about a typical day for the members of your household. Are kids at school, parents at work, or running errands? The short answer is that everyone at 10:30 AM is off doing their own thing. But the one thing that almost everyone has in common ... a phone at their disposal. 

Designate one person, family friend or relative that lives out of state as your emergency contact. Call that designated person and ask them to be your point of contact in the event of a disaster event, and then program that phone number into every family member’s phone. This point of contact will be your lifeline to finding out the location and status of your family. 

You must be patient during these first few hours. Phone lines will be very busy with first responder communications and other people trying to call their loved ones. Text first! And keep your conversations as short as possible. Text messages can get through quicker than voice calls. 

Next month’s tip: The Family Meeting Place
DRone is a monthly publication of California Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief to inform and encourage DR team members and friends as we serve together to bring help, hope and healing to a hurting world during a time of crisis. Questions/comments about DRone should be directed to Jayne McClung Bauer, jbauer@csbc.com.

Please  sign up here   to receive this newsletter directly in your inbox. 

DR Director: Mike Bivins, 916-673-7622
Editor: Jayne McClung Bauer, DR Volunteer Development Coordinator, 707-689-4501
Contributors: Dawn Fulkerson, Neils Johnson