GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - As those in the Bahamas and North Carolina deal with the devastation left behind by Hurricane Dorian, First Baptist Church Gulfport is springing into action to help.
“We’re not going to stand idly by, church. We believe that the Lord wants to use us, and so we’re going to give the Lord our yes," said Student and Missions Pastor Ben Sticker during Sunday’s service.
The devastation of Hurricane Dorian is hundreds of miles away from South Mississippi, but distance isn’t stopping First Baptist from stepping in to help.
“Whether it’s the devastation of a hurricane in the situation we’re in now, or a need that’s met on the West Coast in another tragedy, we always want to be a church that says yes, because that’s what the Bible teaches us to do," Sticker said.
First Baptist is all-too familiar with disaster. Fourteen years ago, the church’s original location in downtown Gulfport was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
“We were devastated on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and it brings back a memory but also it brings back a challenge that we don’t just stand idly by, that we want to help,” Sticker said.
Right now, the church is raising money for Dorian victims in both the Bahamas and North Carolina.
Every dollar raised, the church will match, using money set aside from the sale of the downtown property where the original church building once stood.
Monday morning, members from First Baptist will head out with Operation BBQ Relief to cook meals for those in the Bahamas.
Another group is already there, ready to help tarp roofs.
“There are scars that we have from hurricanes in the past, some very, very major ones, and we know, and we understand, and we acknowledge that you can’t do it without the help of those around you,” Sticker said. “Not only in your community, but in the surrounding areas of the country. So whether it’s a small portion or a large portion, we want to help whatever way we can.”
First Baptist Gulfport is no stranger to offering aid. Last year, it collected a full truckload of supplies it sent to victims of Hurricane Florence.
If you want to donate to victims of Hurricane Dorian through First Baptist Church Gulfport, you can call the church office (228) 831-3400. People are also invited to give by texting the word ‘RELIEF’ to (228) 265-5020. For more information, visit the church’s website.