As preparations and plans were being made to assist Louisiana after Hurricane Laura, the Collegiate Disaster Relief (DR) Team at The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) was instructed to switch focus and stay put due to Florida being in the destructive path of another storm, Hurricane Sally. After much prayer and lead team assessments, it was determined that the BCF DR Team would be redirected and focus their attention and efforts on their home state of Florida. On September 26, BCF Associate Professor of Leadership and Collegiate Disaster Relief Director David Coggins and Associate Professor of Information Technology Cathy Bugg went with 7 students and one alumnus as they made their way to serve the impacted communities in Pensacola, Fla.
While in Pensacola, the BCF DR Team had the opportunity to work alongside Florida Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers and many others who gave their time and resources to help those who were devastated by the storm. They worked long hours cleaning up fallen trees and other debris, fixing roofs that may have been leaking or damaged, and removing belongings from homes that had damage from flooding, etc. They were able to stay at a local church called Hillcrest Baptist and, in between their disaster relief efforts, they joined with other believers to pray and thank the Lord for His protection during the storm and protection during the cleanup efforts.
More than the tireless physical labor, Coggins and his team of students also sought to meet any spiritual needs of the hurting people that they came in contact with. Not only did this trip leave a lasting imprint on the homeowners but on the team serving as well. Coggins explained this by saying "Every trip is different and impacts me in different ways. I think this one impacted me with a reminder of how many elderly there are out there that when something like this happens, how much they need disaster relief to be there to help." The BCF Collegiate Disaster Relief Team was able to be the hands and feet of Jesus to people that were hurting as a result of Hurricane Laura.
The commitment of those involved in the disaster relief ministry is another example of the way BCF faculty, staff and students are making a lasting impact on the world. "One thing I took away is the resilience of our students to serve. There are some who made this trip as experienced DR volunteers and some who it was their first time. For the first time students, there is some timidity to start, but a willingness to learn and by the end of the trip they have learned to step in and quicker to get the work completed. But more important they are quick to engage the homeowner. This is true for the new ones, but especially for the more experienced students who really understand our mission is to minister to people along with the work, so they look for opportunities to talk with those who are needing that ministry" Coggins stated.
For more information on Disaster Relief at The Baptist College of Florida, please call 800.328.2660 or visit the website at www.baptistcollege.edu.