By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
ALEXANDRIA (LBM) – Two Louisiana Baptist directors of missions took a recent out-of-state road trip to deliver a heartfelt love offering to Texas pastors and directors of missions whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Harvey.
Ron Thompson, director of missions for District 8 Baptist Convention, and Stan Statham, director of missions for Baptist Associations of Southeast Louisiana, on the behalf of the Louisiana Directors of Missions Fellowship, visited 12 associations along the Texas Gulf Coast, Oct. 24-25. By the end of the tour, they had given nearly $30,000 in gift cards to 12 directors of missions to distribute in $300 bundles to 95 pastors.
Two of those directors of missions also were given a $500 gift card.
Thompson, who is treasurer of the Louisiana Directors of Missions Fellowship, told the Baptist Message that every association in the state participated in some way, from praying to giving money during a four-week period leading up to the two days of gift cards distribution, and, he said the effort to give back to Texans who helped Louisianans during the 2016 floods was heartwarming.
“Like any disaster relief work, we’re always able to do far more together than we are separate,” Thompson said. “When we found out there were close to 100 individuals needing monetary assistance, we realized it was something not just one association could do. Not every association was able to contribute money but all were there in spirit and prayer.
“We sat there and listened to their stories,” he continued. “It was encouraging to find out churches were doing what was needed in the communities despite the challenges they faced ahead.”
Statham, who serves as president of the Louisiana Directors of Missions Fellowship, thanked his organization, churches and individuals who came together for the effort.
“In the two major floods that impacted south Louisiana in 2016, a couple of DOM colleagues, one from Alabama and another from Tennessee, sent me gift cards to help pastors and their families,” he said. “As I prayed about how we might could help pastors in Texas, the Lord laid it on my heart to have the DOM Fellowship spearhead a campaign to raise funds for pastors and DOMs who were flooded in Texas.”
As time passes, Thompson realizes areas hit hard by Harvey could be forgotten. However, he encourages all Louisiana Baptists to keep the area in their prayers and consider taking a team to come alongside pastors, churches and residents who still face a long road to recovery.
“When you see people who could throw in the towel and be frustrated, but instead are serving with joy, you are filled with a sense of wanting to help,” Thompson said. “Just like we know here in Louisiana, all the flooding and damage does not subside quickly. They will have a long road to recovery.”