I’ve been on a mission of gratitude this week. I left Nederland Monday morning and flew to North Carolina to attend the North Carolina Baptists annual meeting. Monday evening I had the chance to address the full gathering of messengers and guests with a whole hearted expression of thanksgiving and gratitude for their work among us after Hurricane Harvey.
The theme for their annual meeting was “Who Is My Neighbor”, the question posed to Jesus by a teacher of the law who was seeking to justify himself. This question prompted Jesus to give us one of the best known and loved stories in all of Scripture: The Story of the Good Samaritan.
The point Jesus makes about who our neighbor is has very little to do with who lives near us, and has everything to do with who will we be neighborly to.
Our neighbors from North Carolina came to Texas after Hurricane Harvey, not because we were geographically close to them, they came because they cared.
Our disaster relief folks in Texas do the same thing. They go where people are hurting because they care. There were a lot of conversations this week about TBM equipment and personnel coming to North Carolina after Hurricane Florence this year. Our state conventions have a vibrant and fruitful relationship.
It is extremely difficult to put into words the gratitude that I feel for our neighbors from North Carolina for all they did for us. Here is the text of the message I delivered during their Monday evening gathering:
Hurricane Harvey will long be remembered for its record breaking numbers. Over the course of 5 days in August of 2017, Hurricane Harvey earned Nederland, TX, the national rainfall record, dumping an unprecedented 64.5 inches of rain upon us a single weather event. To keep that in perspective, consider that the average annual rainfall for New Orleans, LA is 63.5 inches.
God knew that with that kind of rain, we would need some different kinds of numbers to pull us out of the mess. God had some numbers in mind, numbers that I keep in my mind as I remember the work of the North Carolina Baptist Men and Women on Mission.
These are the numbers that I remember best when I think about Hurricane Harvey and your partnership with us…
I remember, and I’m thankful for the North Carolina Baptists’ Manna One feeding unit. Thank you for sending Manna One to Nederland, Texas. Because you sent Manna One, over 320,000 meals were served to displaced, hurting, and desperate families.
I’m thankful for the commitment and the sacrifice that hundreds of volunteers from North Carolina made to bring relief and encouragement to Southeast Texas. Every 5 days a new busload of saints would show up in our parking lot at FBC Nederland, and people who had spent the previous 24 hours on a cramped bus would immediately plug into the labor of getting our community back on its feet. By the time the last busload left to return to North Carolina, your volunteers had put in 5,163 volunteer days worth of labor.
For the rest of my life, I’m going to remember, and thank God for, the almost $1 million given to 330 households that received a gift from North Carolina to replace furniture, appliances and furnishings lost in the flood.
Thank you for Praying us through the flood. Thank you for Generously Giving so that lives could be restored and souls won to the Lord. Thank you for answering the call of God to “Go” to Texas and help us out in our time of need.
Thank You North Carolina Baptists for being our Neighbor!
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