I’ve received several calls and inquiries about the Joplin community from friends out of state who are part of the broader Baptist family. Several in our own church have questions about our response thus far too and where we see things going from here. For this reason, I wanted to put down a brief report of activity thus far.
University Heights is affiliated with American Baptists and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, as well as the Greene County Baptist Association. So, we have received contact from ABC and CBF thus far about their desire to help, and I have received info from our association too. I know that the Missouri Baptist Convention Disaster Relief personnel and Red Cross are on the ground doing what they can to feed people. Chain saw crews are in route and clearing debris as they can. The larger Springfield community has sprung into action with businesses and social services offering channels through which to receive donations, water, and other goods.
Thus far, our church has sent $1000 to our association to be forwarded to the associational office located in Joplin. My understanding is that Joplin area Baptists are going to be feeding and offering resources for work crews who come into the area and their immediate need is money to help with that. We were able to send money from our Deacon Benevolence Fund. These monies are collected after every Lord’s Supper service and received for purposes like this one. I am grateful we had the means to make this initial contribution.
We are also making preparations to work through MO-CBF channels to provide volunteers and other assistance. It is not a good idea to just to show up” because police and other service personnel are still in the search and rescue mode while attempting to secure the area. The need is going to be there in Joplin for a very long time, so it is important to balance eagerness with a sensitivity to what is taking place on the ground. So, I would envision coordinating volunteers from church through the CBF presence and to publicize this resource to others to the ABC and CBF family of churches.
Our church family has loved ones in the Joplin area who have lost everything and will have to start over. It is a sad and shocking time for our friends down the interstate, and UHBC joins with Christians across our country in praying for those who are hurting at their loss. I realize that there is a great deal of media light being shed on this area, and rightfully so, but the time may come when lesser attention is given to this tragedy. Compassion fatigue sets in too, so let us be determined to be consistant and steady with our assistance efforts.
I appreciate our Baptist friends who have reached out to us. We are the lone CBF/ABC in southwest MO and as such the closest to Joplin. I know there are many who want to do something and have indicated this to us, so we will do our best to connect people, resources, and offer information as we have it available.