ST. LOUIS – As the young mother scooped up her son after a morning of Southern Baptist preaching and business, Angie Hurd couldn’t help but overhear the conversation surrounding their reunion.
“The three-year-old said, ‘Mommy, I cried and I cried and I cried and then I loved it,’” said Hurd, Childcare Coordinator for Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief (DR). “That’s why we do what we do. This program allows moms the opportunity to stay and take part in the annual meeting without having to worry.”
During the five days that made up the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Pastors Conference and the Annual Meeting, Missouri Baptist DR volunteers, as well as DR volunteers from eight other states, provided safe and fun childcare for 142 preschoolers.
“For the DR people, this is a family reunion,” she said. “And just like a reunion, we all leave tired and happy.”
This year’s group of Missouri Baptist DR summer interns also came to St. Louis to serve. The group of four young men were instructed to be silly with the kids in order to help transition them from the check-out table to their age-specific rooms.
“It’s a joy to watch the guys interacting with the children and it’s a big help for the moms of the ones who are a little hesitant to join us,” Hurd said.
“This was awesome,” said Alex Lodholz, a chemical engineering major who joined the DR collegiate program through the Baptist Student Union at Missouri S&T. “Yesterday a 5-year-old made me a birthday cake that he said was bubble gum, strawberry, green apple, mint and lemon flavored. He didn’t care that it wasn’t even my birthday.”
Joe Banderman, leader of the DR summer program, said it’s great for college students to step out of their comfort zones and serve in whatever capacity needed. This is the third year Missouri has had the summer program and he said there are several young people who came to Columbia as a DR intern last year who volunteered to serve at St. Louis this year because it was so close to home.
“It’s great to see people of different generations standing shoulder to shoulder working for the cause of Christ,” Banderman said. “They have such an impact on each other. For example, when a more experienced DR volunteer validates one of the college guys as a hard worker, the young man’s shoulders straighten. A lot of discipling and mentoring takes place during these moments, and it’s fun to be around when these relationships are built.”
This marks the fourth year Missouri Baptist DR has provided a team to help with the children at the SBC annual meeting, and Hurd said she is always amazed at how God provides just the right people to help with the variety of needs.
“For example, on the team this year we had a lady who works with people with special needs and then we had a child come in who needed her extra encouragement and experience,” she said. “I give all the glory to God for having his beautiful plans in place.”
For information on how to become a Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief volunteer, go to mobaptist.org/dr.