TBM: Texans on Mission has sent more than 30,000 bottles of water and sports drinks to a suburb of New Orleans as salt water threatens the drinking supply of several parishes in Southeast Louisiana.
A TBM truck left Dallas Saturday for Bethlehem Baptist Church in BraIthwaite, Louisiana, and church members unloaded the water on Sunday afternoon after worship, said Rupert Robbins, associate director of TBM Disaster Relief.
Monday, the church distributed the water to more than 200 area families, said Pastor Michael Jiles of Bethlehem Baptist. They got word out quickly to the people of Plaquemine Parish using social media, the church’s electronic sign and word of mouth.
“Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts,” the pastor said of TBM’s support. “Thank God for you considering us.”
The water problem is being caused by saltwater working its way up the Mississippi River. Braithwaite is on the banks of the river about 25 miles south of New Orleans.
The water in Braithwaite is drinkable now, the pastor said, but saltwater is already in the water supply of some communities south of town.
“The Mississippi River’s flow has declined due to drought that is impacting the river and the water that flows into it from the Ohio River,” reported The Hill. “As a result, saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico is able to push its way toward Louisianans.”
Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief made TBM aware of the water situation. TBM then connected with Bethlehem Baptist through contacts with the National Baptist Convention of America, said Rand Jenkins, TBM’s chief strategy officer.
“This is our first time to collaborate with this important convention, and we are excited about future possibilities,” Jenkins said.
NBCA mobilized volunteers at the Louisiana church to complete the handoff of needed water.
Terry White, executive secretary and treasurer of the NBCA Home Mission Board, thanked TBM for its response to the situation in Louisiana. And, he added, “We’re looking forward to doing even more together.”
David Wells, director of TBM Disaster Relief, praised the effort of both TBM and Bethlehem Church volunteers. On the TBM side, “‘it was a quick turnaround and our volunteers just did a wonderful job,” Wells said. Then, in Louisiana, “the church people showed up in a big way, unloading the truck quickly so it could return to Texas.”
The TBM truck carried two pallet jacks along with the water. Church volunteers manned one jack in the truck, bringing the pallets to the lift gate, and others operated the jack storing the water and sports drinks.
“I’m just thankful we have volunteers who will step up at a moment's notice, follow the Lord’s leadership and serve those in need,” Wells said. “It’s no surprise, but it always makes me thankful.”
TOP PHOTO: Volunteers unload water donated by TBM: Texans on Mission at Bethletem Baptist Church in BraIthwaite, Louisiana.
PHOTO AT RIGHT ABOVE: Rupert Robbins of Texas Baptist Men disaster relief (2nd from right) prays with (left to right) volunteers Larry Harrison and John Littrell and Barbara Bookman of the National Baptist Convention of America.