The Facebook post showed our big yellow 18-wheel Disaster Relief truck with a trailer in tow, pulling into the parking lot of First Baptist Church, DeRidder, La. I must tell you that my heart was encouraged because “bringing help, hope and healing” is not just a slogan. It is the heartbeat of Missouri Baptists to be on mission with God. Some Go. Many Pray. Others Give.
These warriors of faith are cooking food for volunteer teams and hungry people. They are using their trusty chainsaws to cut up and remove fallen trees. There are plenty of trees in DeRidder. In some places they are waiting on the water to recede sufficiently for assessments. There seems to be an endless supply of debris. There is humidity so thick you can see it. Oh, and did I mention that it’s hot?
The aftermath of Hurricane Laura is just one location. We’ve had teams in Iowa helping people there deal with the aftermath of the derecho that destroyed over one-third of the crops in Iowa. And we have people helping people impacted by the flooding around St. Joseph. Late breaking news, the St. Joseph DR and Evangelism trailers that housed the equipment was robbed—equipment stolen. This happens periodically to our equipment, but your generosity toward MMO and DR helps us move forward.
Why do we help? Because of the motivation of God’s love in our hearts to love others, especially hurting people. With the disasters, we have the opportunity to have a conversation with people who are looking for hope, the true hope found in Christ.
The preparedness of our Disaster Relief teams is funded by our Missouri Baptist churches’ CP giving and the Missouri Missions Offering. Through your generosity, we were able to purchase an entire truckload of food in Louisiana. By your individual donations to MBC Disaster relief, we are able to further our outreach to hurting people. Thank you for caring and joining others on the gospel mission through Disaster Relief.
Cancel the Cancel Culture?
We know that things can change quickly in these days of pandemic. Depending on location, the vast majority of our local churches have resumed some form of public worship. Every pastor in our state wants to do what is biblical, right, and proper. This includes social distancing, face masks (BYOM=bring your own mask or WWSYO=we will supply you one), gallons of hand sanitizer, and wristbands that show whether you are open to a handshake, elbow bump or no touch whatsoever. Who would have dreamed this is the context of 2020?
Who would have thought we would be discussing how we help those who profess Christ to re-engage with the local church as a gathered body? Granted, there are those who have compromised immune systems who should remain very careful. Everyone should practice extraordinary personal hygiene and caution.
However, how many have conveniently opted for the pajama class at the house instead of gathering for worship? There is something unhealthy spiritually about choosing convenience over the gathered church. It is interesting how often the same folks who can’t gather are consistently seen at Walmart, the local eatery, or the ball game (or practice). Eventually, we must cancel the cancel culture and move toward prudent, Covid-aware status and living beyond the fear. At the right time, “forsake not the assembling of ourselves together” (Heb. 10:25).
Come join us
In fewer than 50 days, the MBC Annual Meeting begins its first session! We are making plans to gather Oct. 26-27 at the St. Charles Convention Center. Our theme is “Jesus Saves!” The Annual Meeting there will host great preaching, business, budgets, and election of officers. Of course, there are exhibits, fellowship, networking, and worship.
Messengers to the Annual Meeting will find plenty of room to spread out, a.k.a. social distancing. We will have gallons of hand sanitizer, face masks and more. Our MBC team goal is to give you a sense of safety and cleanliness. When you arrive, you should expect someone to take your temp and make sure you have a mask.
The Convention Center has installed a brand-new air filtration system to accommodate safety precautions. This is a very important factor pointed out by an article in the Wall Street Journal, September 2, 2020 “Room Ventilation Considered Crucial in Curbing Virus.” Many other Annual Meeting details are in this issue of The Pathway.
In case we cannot meet in St. Charles, we have alternate plans but it is too early to press those into action. But alternate plans will not include all the wonderful things you experience at a full-blown Annual Meeting. Perhaps you can volunteer at your local church to be a messenger. Come join us.