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Brethren Disaster Ministries

posted Jan 17, 2019, 10:35 AM by Christina Barnes

For the last nine months, we have hosted the Brethren Disaster Ministries. Each week a group of volunteers come from different parts of the United States to work in Robeson and Marion Counties. Recently our base site managers, Kim Gingerich and Steve Keim, presented a very informative Wednesday Night program about their ministry.

Their mission statement is “Inspired by Jesus, Brethren Disaster Ministries focuses on rebuilding homes, caring for children, and providing international relief by engaging our volunteers, supporters, and partners to serve communities recovering from disaster.” The Brethren have three main mission areas:

·         Children’s Disaster Services caring for children after a disaster has
damaged or destroyed their home

·         Rebuilding Homes after disasters like floods, hurricanes and tornados

·         Globally Responding to crises and disasters around the
world.  This includes natural disasters and wars.

To respond and meet these needs, base sites are established in devastated areas with volunteer staff maintaining a consistent presence in the community and coordinating and managing work teams with local ministries to become part of the community. The houses that are being repaired are funded through grants, FEMA, Disaster funds, and homeowner’s money.

       Our Brethren group came to us from Nichols, SC where they had worked diligently after Hurricane Matthew repairing many homes in that small community. As they were almost finished, Hurricane Florence ravaged the area with flood waters destroying the homes once again. With the Mennonite presence gone from this area, the Brethren relocated to First Presbyterian Church Lumberton and we became a double base serving Marion County and Robeson County. Some workers drive 45 minutes to their sites each day to drywall, roof, insulate, paint, or whatever task is needed. The work list is long; the workers are eager.

       As Kim and Steve were ending their presentation, they reflected on the presence of the Church of Brethren in the world and how we are all one in Christ. In the June 2017, there was a mass kidnapping of 110 young women and girls in Boko Haram, Nigeria; some of the non-Muslim girls were actually from the Church of the Brethren, which has a large presence in Nigeria. How enlightening to know that the work being done here in Lumberton, NC is a part of the church worldwide. Praise be to God for missionaries everywhere serving Christ in ways large and small. May we all be better servants.