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Bloomington, IL 61704
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Intergenerational Mission and Ministry Opportunities

Hebrews 13:16
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

In recent years, First Baptist Church has commissioned intergenerational teams to assist with initial clean-up after natural disasters and the transformation of neglected neighborhoods.

Moore, OK

OK-3A deadly EF5 tornado ripped through Moore, Oklahoma on May 20, 2013. The tornado was 1.3 miles wide at its peak and stayed on the ground for 39 agonizing minutes as it covered a 17-mile stretch, including a heavily populated section of Moore. An estimated 1,150 homes were destroyed, resulting in over $2 billion in property damage. Sadly, 24 people lost their lives and 377 others were injured.

Hearing of the need for assistance through relationships that several of our members have with a Moore church through our LOGOS Ministry, FBC sent a team of 11 youth and adults to help re-build in this devastated community. The group spent all of their time working in the home of a young family. Unfortunately, the group had to completely re-do the drywall work performed by a prior group of unskilled college students who sloppily completed their work before us. The days (and nights) were exhausting, but it was ultimately rewarding to sense the relief of the family as they saw progress made on rebuilding their home.

As an added bonus, Pastor Adam had the special opportunity to baptize a friend of one of our team members who joined us in our work.

Washington, IL

146287007On November 17, 2013, 73 separate tornadoes pounded the Mid-West, including an EF4 tornado which struck nearby Washington. Fortunately, there were no deaths there, but property damage was estimated at over $935 million in this small community.

As in Moore, an FBC team focused their efforts on a single-family home that had a portion of its roof ripped off. However, rather than repairs, the work this time included a complete interior demolition of the home. Drywall, lighting fixtures, and even the fiberglass tub was removed and placed in dumpsters. By the time our 8-person team finished, the home was reduced to its original framing. The husband and wife prayed with us and, with a tear in their eyes, shared their sincere appreciation for our efforts. Seven other FBC members returned to clear debris found in a ravine surrounding a Washington neighborhood several months later.

In addition to our manual labor, FBC arranged a community-wide pancake and sausage breakfast just six days after the tornado struck, with all proceeds going to help in the relief efforts. Over $4,300 was raised.

Warner-Robins, Georgia

Georgia-257x167In June 2015, another FBC team of 13 youth and adults set out for an entire week to assist a community in need. Unlike Moore and Washington, though, this one was not damaged suddenly by a natural disaster. Here, the cause was years and years of deterioration and neglect.

Several members of our group know the pastor of a Presbyterian church in Warner-Robins, about 90 miles southeast of Atlanta. This pastor has been working with city leaders to find ways to renovate and redevelop the impoverished and crime-ridden downtown area in which the 50-member church is located.

As the years passed and the city grew, more and more people moved further out from the center of town to bigger and better homes, so the small houses in the downtown area became rental properties or homes for the poor and elderly. Many of these properties adjacent to the church and marked with gang symbols fell into a state of significant disrepair because the owners either couldn’t take care of them on their own – or didn’t care.

Georgia3-257x167FBC’s team worked hard in the southern heat and humidity trimming bushes, pulling weeds, and raking leaves, generating mounds of debris. The youth took the initiative to clean up the church playground, used by many of the local children as one of the only safe places to play. We assembled and painted three picnic tables to give children a place to sit when free meals are distributed to them twice per day. We also scrubbed and power-washed mold from one man’s home and installed new windows (to cover multiple broken panes) and shutters on another man’s home that we also painted, much to his joy!

We were pleased to see that residents of the neighborhood began working in their OWN yards after seeing the progress that we made in others. In just a few days’ time, glimpses of hope began to resurface. Our work was mostly cosmetic, but we pray that the figurative seeds that we planted bear good fruit as the neighborhood begins to transform and revitalize.

Regardless of destination, these mission trips gave us opportunities to help those in need and to develop more compassion within our own hearts. They also allow us to build relationships within one another that are strengthened through a bond of shared experiences.