- By Patrick Beach American-Statesman Staff
After deadly and destructive Memorial Day weekend floods hit Wimberley and parts nearby, volunteers descended on the First Baptist Church there, which became a staging ground in May for hundreds of volunteers. They showed up daily, organized and mustered out by the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention who, like Southern Baptists in most any stage, can be relied upon to show up whenever disaster strikes.
At least 12 people died in flooding across Central Texas and the search is still underway for two children whose families’ vacation home was torn apart by flood waters.
The swarm of volunteers made for a busy time at First Baptist, said Senior Pastor Mike Williams. For five or six weeks, the masses came and went with food, helicopters for searches and delivery, and supplies for emergency aid and cleanup.
Serendipitously, the church a year earlier had partnered with another congregation in Pflugerville to prepare a disaster relief trailer for such efforts, “not realizing that the first time that trailer would be used intensely would be here in Wimberley,” Williams said.
Since the immediate crisis passed, groups within the church have been doing what they can — providing financial assistance in some cases, ministering to victims or helping others rebuild. Williams estimates roughly 10 families in his congregation lost their homes or were otherwise directly affected in a church community that sees about 450 to 500 attending services on any given Sunday.
“The community has pulled together very well,” Williams said. “People have really supported and encouraged one another. Obviously, it’s difficult for the victims because some can’t rebuild where they were or they’ll have to make decisions about rebuilding because their homes are now in a new flood plain.”
And Williams knows it’ll be a long time before the community gets back to anything close to normal.
“We feel very blessed as a church to help a number of the victims in some small way,” he said. “We’re blessed to be a part of the recovery in a small way. This thing is so big, it’s going to be years.”