Showing items filed under “Testimony”
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We have been asked to share our experiences with the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (SBDR) organization in response to Hurricane Harvey.

            When Hurricane Irma hit south Florida only days after Harvey tore into the Texas coast, we felt we needed to do something to help. A little research informed us that volunteers were needed—a lot of volunteers—to help ease the pain of the hurricane victims. We were accepted by the SBDR, organization to go help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. 

            In October 2017, we traveled to Galveston, Texas to work with the SBDR in response to Hurricane Harvey. We spent a week in Texas and primarily helped with 'mud-outs,' which involves not only getting the water and mud out of the house, but pretty much everything else that has been exposed to the water, especially salt water. One particular image is seared onto my brain and heart.  One evening, while returning to the Galveston First Baptist Church where we were staying, we were on the highway on an overpass, and I was able to get a good look at one particular street.  On both sides of the street, as far as I could see, were large mounds of trash piled high (8-10 feet high). This included drywall, floor tile, appliances, furniture and pretty much everything else you can find in a home. Imagine everything you own, piled on the curb, waiting to be picked up and taken to the landfill. It reminded me of how temporary everything in life is. Everything is temporary—except one thing.

            As mentioned, the First Baptist Church of Galveston provided the lodging and the use of their kitchen for volunteer meals. We were there with thirty to forty others from all over the county. There were teams from North Carolina, South Carolina, Arizona, Missouri, and two people from Atlanta and even one from California. The volunteers were pretty fluid, coming and going at different times and dates. Most would stay three to seven days, although some were staying longer.

            Most of the volunteers staying in Galveston were there to work on the ‘mud-out’ crews. A few miles away in Texas City, another Southern Baptist Church was hosting a larger group of volunteers, which included a ‘Mass Feeding’ unit. These volunteers were preparing most of the meals served or delivered by the American Red Cross. The North American Missions Board (NAMB) website is showing two million meals prepared by Southern Baptist volunteers and served to victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. During a tour of the Mass Feeding kitchen set-up on the church’s parking lot, the volunteer running the Mass Feeding operation told us that, to that point, over one million meals had been served in South Texas alone, and that particular unit in Texas City was serving six to ten thousand meals per day.

            As you can probably imagine, training and vetting is necessary to be a SBDR volunteer. In our case, the Lord wanted us in Texas, so these requirements were relaxed. We both feel led to continue to volunteer, especially since we have learned how often these volunteers are needed to help victims of storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires and other natural and man-made disasters. Just in Missouri, in the last few years, I can recall the tornadoes in Joplin and Bridgeton and the flooding which occurs almost every spring.

            As always, the Lord’s timing is perfect, and just two weeks after we returned to Foristell, a Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief Training session was scheduled in southern Missouri and we attended and are now certified in Mass Feeding and Shower and Laundry units. Next spring, we will attend additional training.

            If you are interested in getting involved in disaster relief, a good place to start is the Missouri Baptist Convention website. There you can find out how to apply and register for training classes. Of course, if you are unable to volunteer, your prayers and donations are always needed and welcomed.                                   

            We urge you to prayerfully consider volunteering. The need is great and you can help. Age and abilities will not prevent you from helping. In our very limited experience, we have witnessed college aged to octogenarians, and skilled craftsmen to folks who barely know what a hammer looks like. All that is necessary is a willingness to help and love for your fellow man.

            In addition, please do not forget about those prayers and donations.

            Thanks for your time.

            Tom & Claudia Maloney

Posted by Tom and Claudia Maloney with
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It looked fun…at first. From the bottom looking up, it looked like a nice, leisurely ride to the top. I bet the view from up there is amazing. And the only thing standing between me and the top of this mountain peak is a mile of cable line and one tram ride. And the voice in my head yelling “are you out of your mind!!??”

If you’ve ever had a fear of heights, then you’ll understand when I say that standing at the base of a ski lift that traverses over a mile straight up the mountain to an elevation of nearly 4,000 feet can be a daunting view. Looking around and seeing more rusted bolts and dry-rotted boards than I could find in an abandoned lumber yard as we make our way to the loading area does little to reassure the growing-louder-by-the-second voice in my head that is trying to remind me that if God wanted me to do something that required my feet leave the ground for more than two seconds, He’d have given me wings.

As I stand in the loading zone and the chair approaches from behind, I wait for the inevitable…and as it literally sweeps me off my feet as it knocks my legs out from under me, I plop down and feel the chair bounce and sway as the cable above us gives a little. Now we’re swaying back and forth as my feet leave the ground and we pull the bar over our heads…a bar that would no more hold me in this contraption than a paper bag would hold in a wild boar looking for its next meal. As the ground beneath us disappears and grows farther and farther away, I notice that this “seat” is no more than hollow metal pipes the thickness of a metal coffee can, held together by rusted bolts. Yeah…how’d I get here again?

A Quarter Mile Up

Halfway up the mountain, it occurs to me that just about every muscle in my body is tense. I’m literally hanging on so tightly with one hand that my fingers are tingling because there is no blood left in them. My other hand is so firmly attached to my son sitting next to me that I’m sure I’ll be reported to DFS for child abuse when someone sees the hand-shaped indention I’ve surely left in his side. It does little to calm my mind when I’m looking down and realize that if I do fall from here, I most likely won’t die…just shatter a femur or two, blow out a knee, disintegrate my ankles, and maybe puncture a lung. I wonder how much my AFLAC policy pays per bone?


Don’t Be Deceived – That’s a 75′ Drop

We like being in control, don’t we? We like the feeling that comes with knowing that we have a say in things…that we have the reigns and even if we’re flying by the seat of our pants, the decisions are ours to make, and we’re piloting this ship we call our life. Our feet are planted firmly on the ground, and we have the power…we’re in control.

But are we? Are we really? Let’s be completely honest here. The feeling of “control” I had when holding on for dear life to that coffee can dangling seventy-five feet above the ground on its way to the top of a mile-high mountain did nothing more than give me a false sense of security. Had something failed on that rusted piece of metal built back when moonshiners ran them hills, I would have no more been able to keep from falling to the rocks below and shattering every bone in my lower body than I could stand on a street corner and catch a bowling ball falling from the Empire State Building. It ain’t gonna happen.

Yet we walk through life unwilling to let go, don’t we? We hold on to the things (and the people) we love so tight, that letting go becomes too much to believe possible. And when you boil it down to the core of why we struggle with letting go, it’s one thing. All too often, we let our fear of letting go overwhelm us. It’s not that we don’t want to let go. No, deep down inside…I believe at the heart of us all…we don’t want to be wound so tight that we can’t breathe. We long to let go and feel the exhilaration of adrenaline pumping through our veins as we live life to the fullest. But despite that yearning, it’s the fear that drives us to hold on so tight…fear of what might happen if we do let go. Make no mistake, friend…if it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen whether we’re holding on or not. And when it does, us holding on is not going to stop it from hurting when we hit bottom.

God is calling us to let go. Our lives are not ours, and we certainly don’t have the control and power we think we have. All we have is an illusion…a false sense of security provided by what we see, hear, smell and feel. We have to look beyond that illusion and realize that life happens on the other side of the fear. Will it be easy to let go? Not always. Will it hurt to let go? Sometimes. Will it be worth it to let go? Absolutely!!! It’s time to truly and fully give our lives to Christ. To give Him the reigns and let Him take His rightful place in the pilot seat of our life. It’s time to let go and let God. If you can, you’ll see for yourself that the view from the top IS worth it.


It IS an Awesome View

And yes…you’ll even find you can have a lot of fun along the way.


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“The fear of the LORD leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble. – Proverbs 19:23

Posted by Jason Meinershagen with