March 25, 2003
CAPE GIRARDEAU – The sound of 10 brand new chainsaws has been music to the ears of John Rhodes, Southeast Regional Coordinator of Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief.
The chainsaws were provided free of charge after a sequence of events that led to the discovery of a possibility in Missouri. A representative from the state went to Louisiana to work on a disaster relief crew and came back with news of a Texas unit that had been provided with $5,000 worth of chainsaws.
The key in that exchange was the Texas unit going directly to a distributor in McKinney, Texas. Rhodes wondered if that would work in Missouri.
He found out that the owner of Crader Distributing Co. in Marble Hill happened to be a member of First Baptist, Marble Hill. The previous summer, a disaster relief operation out of Marble Hill offered 2,450 meals.
"I thought, ‘Well, ain’t this a small world,’" Rhodes said. "I wonder what else God could do?"
Upon further investigation, Rhodes learned that the Marble Hill company owned the McKinney outlet.
"Basically what they said was, ‘We can’t let Texas outdo us now, can we?’"
Presto. Just like that Missouri had $5,000 worth of free chainsaws and other equipment.
The nine-association cooperative effort that Rhodes is coordinating is training workers in kitchen, chainsaw and child care units. All of the units blend together to make life easier for residents when tornados and floods hit.
"The purpose is simply a cup of water in Jesus’ name," Rhodes said.
The chainsaw workers, once they are properly trained, are able to provide relief to people who sometimes find themselves in desperate situations.
"The biggest goal is to help those in need, people who can’t help themselves," Rhodes said. "There’s always somebody out there looking to make a big buck off somebody’s problems. They’ll go in there and clear the yard, completely clean it up, stack the wood up for them. Of course all of it’s sharing Jesus while we’re there."