In the more than 50 years Virginia Baptists have been active in Disaster Response (DR), we’ve learned a lot about the long-term effects of a disaster. One year after a hurricane, 60% of pastors had moved away. Physical needs were being met, but most everyone put their emotional and spiritual trauma on hold while focusing on cleanup and repair. DR has responded by investing in Crisis Care Chaplains.
Every year, WMUV (Woman’s Missionary Union of Virginia) takes a team to Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The Crisis Care training benefited the team as we strive to care for our friends and the challenges they face on the reservation, such as illness and grief due to Covid. Katelyn Hawkins says, “The training was very helpful, especially the encouragement through listening, traumatic stress, and cultural diversity aspects.” Brenda Smith shares, “The section on suicide was especially beneficial, this is a major issue on the reservation. Trauma is not limited to those hit by disasters—it happens in our daily lives with people around us. This training is effective in helping us know how to better respond, minister, and serve in Christ’s name.” Pray that God will wipe away the tears of those burdened with trauma-related grief.