FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – In an amazing display of sacrificial service, 23 students from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary set aside their books and volunteered their time and energy to aid in disaster relief efforts in Southeast Texas, Oct. 3-5. The group helped “mud-out” crews tear out flooring, drywall and other items from houses in Bridge City, Texas, which were flooded during Hurricane Ike in September.
Students like Kresta Cain, who is working on her Master of Divinity at Southwestern, recognized the overwhelming need for relief. “There’s so many that need the help,” Cain said. “Sometimes it’s just a husband and a wife or maybe just a single mom. How are they going to get all of it cleaned up by themselves? They really need the help.”
Linda Dupuis, whose house was worked on by Southwesterners, was grateful for the help. “The things we thought were so dear to us, now they’re out on the front yard,” she said. “Good people like y’all have pulled us through it, and we can’t tell you how much we appreciate it.”
Dupuis and her husband had already paid more than $1,600 to have carpet, furniture and part of the drywall taken out of their home, but they could not afford to continue to pay workers to finish cleaning out the house. Overwhelmed by the thought of completing the work themselves, Dupuis expressed gratitude for the progress the students made, saying, “It was unbelievable what transpired, and how much it lifted us. We can see a little light at the end of the tunnel.”
The group from Southwestern was housed for the weekend by First Baptist Church in Vidor, Texas, the headquarters for Southern Baptist Disaster Relief in the area. Pastor Terry Wright, an alumnus of Southwestern, shared how God was using the efforts to soften those who were previously hardened to the Gospel.
“I believe it is the Lord’s desire for the church and for His people to respond where He’s at work,” Wright said. “Just since the hurricane, we have had close to 30 people saved in the disaster zone.”
Southwestern has committed to making four additional trips to the region before Thanksgiving. During a chapel service, Oct. 9, students gave out of their poverty during an old-fashioned boot offering, using cowboy boots as offering plates, collecting more than $1800. The money will be used to cover trip-related expenses, with the remainder to be donated to disaster relief efforts in the area.
About Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Southwestern Seminary celebrates its centennial in 2008. Since its founding, the seminary has trained and sent out more than 40,000 graduates to serve in local churches and mission fields around the world. In 1908, B.H. Carroll established the seminary on the campus of Baylor University. It was moved to its current location on Seminary Hill in Fort Worth in 1910 and was placed under the direction of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1925. Paige Patterson was elected as the eighth president of the seminary in 2003.