ST. CHARLES – God can use anything to build His Kingdom, and that includes swollen rivers and flooded homes.
Michael Bowen, who came to Orchard Farm Baptist Church, here as pastor in March, was seeking ways to help get the church more involved in the community when the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers did the job for him.
After the flooding, the church began hosting Friday night fellowships. More than 100 showed up for the first fellowship.
“It lets people have a sense of normalcy since many were either stuck at relatives’ houses or at a hotel with all the challenges that kind of living brings,” Bowen said. “Having a couple of hours away from that allows them to play some games, watch a movie, and talk to other people in the same situation.”
The church also hosted a disaster recovery clinic of sorts for those affected by the flood – how to clean up, how to navigate the bureaucracy and paperwork – taught by Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief regional coordinator Toby Tucker. Afterwards, the church sat down and talked with individuals, listening to their frustrations and telling their stories.”
“That lead into a gospel conversation,” Bowen said.
As a result of those conversations, they’ve seen two people trust Jesus as their Savior so far, in addition to a much more visible presence in the community.
One of those ways is by distributing free-of-charge Shockwave, a mold-killing disinfectant used in flood clean up. Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief provided the church with 48 one-gallon concentrated jugs, all but ten of which have been given away. It may not seem like much, but it can be an extremely effective tool in the cleanup process, and at upwards of $65 a bottle, a costly one as well. A message the church received last week testified to its value not only monetarily, but in communicating the love of Jesus:
“We were wondering if you had any more of the mold-killing treatment you were giving away, and if we qualify to receive it,” the message read. “I have to tell you that before the flood, we [had] never even heard of Orchard Farm Baptist Church, but we have heard so many great stories about how you have helped people both with food and supplies, and with giving them hope that now when we hear ‘Orchard Farm Baptist Church,’ what we hear is love.”
State-wide Disaster Relief Efforts
The Kingdom work in St. Charles is just one piece of what has been already been a very busy summer for Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief efforts.
• In Northwest Missouri: Effort started in March, but was put on hold when the water came up. The water is receding and work has resumed.
• In Southwest Missouri: Leadership is in place and working with survivors to assist in best way possible: Power washing, Shockwave spraying and some cleanup.
• In West Central Missouri: Approximately 30 homes needed flood recovery.
• In Southeast Missouri: Local teams cleaned up with chainsaws the damage caused by straight-line winds.
For more information about Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief or to find a training event, go to www.mobaptist.org/dr or call 573-636-0400.