Project Joy ministry stretches across nation
June 14, 2005
BUTLER – Trucks carrying goods from the Osage River Baptist Association to various parts of the United States have taken on the designation “Project Joy,” or “Hauling for Jesus.”
As one of four ministry projects flowing out of the association, Project Joy collects clothing, housewares, furniture, toys, building materials and food. The items are brought to the association office to be sorted and inspected for quality. Clothing that is torn, soiled or missing buttons is rejected. The acceptable items are then made available to those in need. The rest of the items are eligible to be transported throughout the nation.
Goods have traveled to such places as Rapid City, S.D., Panther, W.Va., and Harlingen, Texas. Some items have even crossed over the border into the interior of Mexico.
The founder of Project Joy is Wendell Teagarden, a member of Fairview Baptist Church, Ballard. Teagarden, the camp director at Kamp Keirsey in Amsterdam, noticed that many items were going to waste in Missouri, so in 1998, he began the ministry with borrowed trailers, taking clothing to La Feria, Texas, which led to the goods being transported into Mexico.
Project Joy’s first trailer was purchased in 2001. A second unit was purchased in 2003. To date, the ministry has delivered 77 trailer loads, 5 vanloads, 2 pickup loads and 4 carloads of goods.
A total of 21 association churches and 74 volunteers are involved in the collection, sorting, boxing and delivering of the items. A total of 15 individuals and/or families have been involved in transporting the loads.
Last year the Hauling for Jesus ministry involved 114 volunteers from associational churches. Duane Craig, a deacon at First Baptist Church, Butler, is one such volunteer. He has been with Hauling for Jesus as a volunteer driver since August 2003.
“It gives me an opportunity to meet with the pastors and deliver them tools that they can use in their ministries,” Craig said. “People notice us on the highway and they honk and wave.”