The Men’s Ministry of Living Water Baptist Church in Longs is outfitting a disaster relief trailer with six showers and three washers and driers that can be towed to wherever a hurricane may strike.
“What a blessing to clean up when you’ve been mucking out your house,” said Ed Smolarsky, of Little River. When completed, the trailer will be the second such unit of the Waccamaw Baptist Association. Throughout South Carolina, Southern Baptist associations have five showers/laundry units, 12 with only showers and three with washers and driers.
Typically, the trailers are towed to a site, such as a church parking lot, with sewer and water connections similar to those found in mobile home campgrounds. Tim Carter, director of the Men’s Ministry, hopes to have the trailer outfitted and ready in October. Carter is a trustee and charter member of Living Water, a 1,000-member congregation on S.C. 9. LWBC was founded 28 years ago by Senior Pastor Lebron Crisp.
The Men’s Ministry recently constructed a ramp for the veteran’s residence at North Strand Housing Shelter, one of 20 to 30 built over recent years. Carter has directed the Men’s Ministry for about five years, and some ramps were built prior to that. In the past, men with building skills rebuilt churches perhaps damaged in a fire, and did new construction such as adding a fellowship hall.
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In fact, Crisp said, original parts of the LWBC complex were constructed by building trades folks from other Baptist churches. Prior to becoming a minister, Crisp had experience in building and has helped on ramp projects. He noted that some of the LWBC construction was done at low cost per square foot, with the church buying the materials.
The S.C. Baptist Convention, like other Southern Baptist conventions, has extensive disaster relief services, including assessment teams, chaplains to help survivors move toward recovery, child care, feeding units that prepare and serve meals at disaster sites, medical teams and a variety of recovery services. These include Ash-Out in fire responses, Mud-Out in flood responses, Chainsaw to remove damaged trees and limbs, Rebuild, which does a variety of construction, and Sheltering and Shower/Laundry units such as the one being outfitted at the edge of the LWBC soccer fields.
“It squeezes your heart to see what people are trying to live in while trying to recover. We need a revival in disaster relief,” Smolarsky said, showing photos of mold-infested homes in Nichols, which suffered massive flooding after Hurricane Matthew in October 2016. Smolarsky worked at the U.S. Capitol as a mechanical engineer and was state director for Rebuild.
Carter and Smolarsky, like others involved in disaster relief, are watching the latest big storm, Maria, on the same track as Irma, which tore across the Caribbean. Recovery from Irma, and Harvey in Texas, will “go on for months and months,” Carter said.
Sue Harmon, operations manager for Disaster Relief South Carolina in Columbia, said 19 volunteers are in Texas, on replacement teams for preparing 5,000 meals a day. The Baptist relief operation partners with both the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. When the Red Cross reports serving so many meals at a disaster site, it’s Southern Baptists preparing, serving and cleaning up. The Red Cross typically furnishes the food.
For information about the Men’s Ministry of Living Water Baptist Church, contact the church, 1569 Hwy. 9 E., Longs, SC 29568. Phone | 843-399-5833
Those interested in the ministry need not be a member of LWBC, or any church, “as long as you have a heart for helping,” director Tim Carter said.