CASS COUNTY, Texas (KTAL/KMSS) – The pandemic has caused volunteers with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention to adjust how they reach out to those affected by the disaster.
Disaster relief volunteers, who are also trained chaplains from across Texas, are now manning a hotline for people to call for prayer and encouragement.
Among the volunteer chaplains is Cass Co. resident Brenda Jansen. “Sometimes four walls can close in on you, so to speak,” she said.
It’s a unique situation in which disaster response volunteers work from home. “When people are going through a crisis, usually the question is ‘why me?’ So, we can take them to scripture … read Psalms 46, or Psalm 91, or go to Proverbs,” Jansen said.
Volunteers are trained to assist people with other needs, too, like food or medicine. But in many cases, emotional support can be just as important. “Some people think the bible is old, but when they see that it’s the same thing happening from generation to generation, that gives them comfort,” she said.
Jansen added that disasters cause many people to think about eternity. “We all know that we’re all gonna die someday, and so this gives them a chance to pause and think about, where would I be?”
Chaplain Dennis Parish explained that he was able to visit with Darlene, a middle-aged woman from North Texas.
“With the health issue she had been dealing with, her great fear was that she was going to get the virus.” Parish, a pastor in the Houston Metro area, said Darlene was feeling overwhelmed. “I prayed that the peace that passes all understanding would just become so real to her.” According to Parish, Darlene concluded the call by responding, “you don’t understand how much this phone call means to me.”
Officials said the hotline will be available as long as the crisis remains. “I’m praying, individually, that this is gonna be a revival that will spread over this land just like this virus has spread,” Jansen said.
The toll-free hotline, 1-800-921-3287, is open seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for the purpose of receiving prayer and encouragement. Voicemail is available after hours.