Baptists still volunteering
Published 11:14 pm Monday, October 11, 2004
By By Arthur McLean
The massive Southern Baptist field kitchen operation may have disappeared from the First Baptist Church parking lot, but the volunteers haven't.
Almost 100 volunteers with the Southern Baptist Convention's disaster relief team are still working in Atmore, though you might not notice it just driving by the church.
Inside the church's fellowship hall, Lou Mulsand from Knoxville, Tenn. works during the day to schedule chainsaw operations. A thick stack of applications sits on the table as he pours over a map of Escambia County with Lou Sadowski, a volunteer from Cleveland, Tenn. who will soon go out to help a homeowner in need.
"We have over 1,000 requests for chainsaw operations," Mulsand said. "We've done about 700 and we have about 300 left."
They're sharing Jesus' love, Mulsand said. The men and women volunteering are sharing both the majesty of human kindness and the ministry of their faith. "It was miraculous that no one was hurt in the storm," Mulsand said.
The volunteers are still working around the county, moving further from Atmore as they go, into deep, unincorporated areas and out to places like Flomaton and Century.
Men and women from around the southeast have come and gone from the Atmore area, many using comp time or vacation days to spend an average of four days working in the area and going back to their homes in Tennessee, Kentucky and elsewhere. They've been doing it for three weeks now.
Cordis Bishop drove with seven men from his church, Upper Fork Baptist Church in Hazard, Ken. They drove more than 600 miles overnight in a RV another church member loaned for their trip.
Bishop, and his pastor, Densmore Goodson, helped 74-year-old retired pastor V.C. Whittacker Wednesday. Whittacker is a retired, bi-vocational pastor, his wife broke her hip. Medicaid limits were about to force her home, so Goodson and Bishop's group built a handicap ramp for the couple, and removed about 10 downed trees.
"We're serving the Lord in our way," Bishop said. "We've been blessed to be able to do this."
Organizers of the operation say they will stay as long as needed.