In an emotional testimony, the Rev. Bob Deich describes his work as leader of the Early Response Team for the Louisiana Conference of The United Methodist Church, and how his own experience trapped in a hurricane as a child informs his commitment to help others cope. This video was produced by Todd Rossnagel with the Louisiana Conference.
(Voice of Bob Deich) "We're workin' on a muck-out here. So, taking out 16 inches of Sheetrock, 16 and a half inches of Sheetrock.
I'm Bob Deich. I'm the Louisiana Annual Conference Coordinator of Early Response Teams.
Our motto is, providing a caring Christian presence in the aftermath of disaster. And our passion is to go there and represent the Church. We drive up with the cross and the flame on our logo, on our shirts, on our vehicles. We're sayin' 'the Church is here, you're not alone.'
It's amazing the number of people who often times have been estranged from the Church, or are skeptical of the Church. And then they see the Church showing up with boots on, with gloves on, by the end of the day, covered with mud, covered with Sheetrock dust. And then they look at us and they say, 'you're real.'
God didn't cause this to happen. God isn't singling out a group of people or a region because of the way they think, or act, or live , or voted, or the color of their skin, or their nationality, or anything like that. The ground is all level at the foot of the cross. And the foot of the cross is where we receive grace in the midst of tragedy.
I was in third grade, and Hurricane Betsy came through New Orleans. I'm a kid from west Texas, we didn't have hurricanes out in Odessa. And I know what it was like to hunker down in that closet with my brother and sister and mom, while the roof came off and the water came down the walls. And my dad stayed up through the night with no electricity, a Coleman lantern. Doing everything he could with a mop and a bucket and a squeegee. And to go out in the eye of the storm, he took us out there in the dead calm.And we couldn't stop it. And I can't stop 'em now. But I can come alongside people. And maybe there'll be a, third grade little boy somewhere out there. I don't know. But there's some people out there that know what it's like to hunker down in a hallway. Or to evacuate and come back and water's been three feet deep in their house. Or there's a tree down and it's cut their house in half. I can't stop that from happening. But I can come alongside 'em. I don't even have to say a word. Sometimes just to listen."
Learn more about United Methodists responding to disaster and contact Bob Deich through the Louisiana Disaster Response Team.