Big Emory Baptists help Harvey victims

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By Goose Lindsay

Tennessee has long been known for helping those in need, and there’s no doubt that the Volunteer State will do its part to help the recovery efforts in Texas from the remnants of Hurricane Harvey.

However, the best thing people can do now is wait.

“Right now the word I’m getting is don’t get in a hurry,” Randy Roper, Director of Missions of Big Emory Baptist Association said Wednesday afternoon. “This is going to be a long, drawn out event. It’s not going to be sprint, it’s going to be a marathon. The rain is still falling, the water is still rising and people that are coming down to help are getting caught up in it. Unless you are a professional you could become part of the problem.

“Right now they’re saying you can send money and prayers. People are working behind the scenes coordinating and there will be a time, probably after this weekend, that there will be is a list of things they will need and things they will not need, so please wait until this list comes out.”

Roper added that when the time comes, the 56 members of the Big Emory Baptist Association in Roane and Morgan County will hit the road.

“We’re praying for those folks and we’re waiting to go,” he said. “We have a local disaster relief to actually go down and start helping with chain saws, with shovels, and all that kind of stuff. When we get the word to go, we will start sending people down to Texas to be hands on and help those folks.”

Big Emory Baptist Association has experience in disaster relief, as hundreds helped in the cleanup efforts after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“Katrina was awful and we had people down there helping after it was over. This is going to be as big a task as Katrina when it’s all said and done,” Roper said.

Roper says helping those in need is what Jesus would want from His flock.

“To know a Christian organization and a group of churches can actually put Jesus in the flesh and do what we’re supposed to do is very satisfying,” he said. “It blesses me and the people going down there from our churches, and from all denominations because we know they are going for all the right reasons. Those people have gone through something terrible and if we can relieve any of their suffering or help them then that’s what we want to do because we know that’s what Jesus wants us to do.”

Volunteers, however, cannot just show up and help the Big Emory Baptist Association group.

“You have to go to a training class to be certified to use chain saws and even shovel mud,” he said.

“We had a training last weekend, and we’ll probably see more people get trained in preparation to go down to Texas.”

There are several ways to help with Big Emory Baptist Association’s disaster relief.

“As Southern Baptists and Tennessee Baptists, we have what’s called Southern Baptist Disaster Relief. There is a website, www.tndisasterrelief.org/contributions, where you can go to give, and every penny, 100 percent of that money goes to the effort there,” Roper said.

Donations may also be mailed to

Big Emory Baptist Association

P.O. Box 444

Harriman, TN 37748

Please add a note that the money is to go for disaster relief.

Big Emory Baptist Association churches are also expected to collect supplies that will be sent to those in need in Texas. One church, The Grove, located at 407 Old Johnston Valley Road in Kingston currently has a semi trailer setup to collect supplies.

Roper said Big Emory Baptist Association will also update where and how to give on its Facebook page.

“Whatever you give will get down there to the right people,” he said.

You can also call Big Emory Baptist Association’s office at (865) 882-6446 for more information.