Gilbert Taeger is pastor of the Morningside Baptist Church in Yuma, Arizona. Recently, he and several members of his church spent a week in New Orleans on a mission trip, working with Pastor Marshall Truehill and the First United Baptist Church. After their return home, he wrote up a report and shared it with their congregation. I thought you’d be inspired by it as I was — Joe
God’s Call to Serve the First United Baptist Church, New Orleans, LA
Henry Blackaby says, “You can’t join God where He is working and stay where you are at spiritually in your life and mindset.” Certainly for Morningside Baptist Church we could not join God where He was working and where He had called us to join Him, and remain spiritually and geographically where we were. So August 21-28 our second mission team traveled to New Orleans, LA to serve the people and community close to First United Baptist Church.
Shortly after hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005, Morningside received an offering for our Disaster Relief effort as a result of Katrina. The folks gave $4,300.00 to send on to help our Disaster Relief teams have food and needed supplies to help the hurting people. We, with determination, said yes to our North American Mission Board to adopt a church suffering from Katrina’s destruction. This was on October 2, 2005 our church made this most important decision. Our giving and generous people, even before we knew the name of our church’s assignment, pledged $1,000.00 each month for the next year above our budget and other offerings we normally receive.
God chose the First United Baptist Church of New Orleans as our church to reach out to in the love of Jesus. Our church family, joining with three other Southern Baptist Churches, eradicated the $9,000.00 First United owed when they were flooded with 10 feet of water. We had the joy of providing money for construction materials and money for Pastor Marshall Truehill Jr. and his family. Our new Missions Coordinator Fred Orcutt led us in this endeavor. Fred also led our first Mission Team to travel to New Orleans in April 2006. Les Lewis and Dennis and Phyllis Helton joined Fred on this team.
God led our second team, Jay Vance, Wayne Russell, and Pastor Taeger to travel to FUBC on August 21-28, 2006. This team went to encourage, minister to the hurting people with free meals, music concert, street witnessing, prayer and worship.
FUBC put a tent in the median (large grass area) in front of the church building for our meals, concert, and worship. We walked the streets in the neighborhoods close to the church site, handing out flyers about the weeks events, listened to people’s stories about Katrina, shared Christ with them, prayed with them and tried to encourage them. Fifteen people prayed to receive Christ, many prospects for the church were discovered, and God continued to break our hearts over the great needs of the people. Operation Noah through NAMB provided us with housing at the World Trade Center Building in downtown New Orleans for only $20.00 a night with meals included. We ate breakfast there each morning about 7 AM but then spent the entire day each day with Pastor Marshall Truehill Jr. and his people on mission. We toured the Upper and Lower 9th Wards and St. Bernard Parish seeing the most devastated areas. We met many gracious and giving Southern Baptist volunteers through Operation Noah and when taking our short tour of New Orleans. We had the joy of attending the New Orleans Southern Baptist Association Pastor’s meeting/meal with prayer, praise, testimonies and precious fellowship with about 50 people. Dr. Joe McKeever is a marvelous person and Director of Missions for that Association. We also toured New Orleans Southern Baptist Seminary. No I did not eat any alligator meat (Thank you Jesus) but I have never experienced any greater sense of being right where God wanted me, and our team than I did on this glorious mission trip.
From October 2, 2005 when we made the commitment as a church to adopt a sister church devastated by Katrina our budget offerings have increased and remained stronger for eleven months. We have the joy of giving 12% to the Cooperative Program, 3% to our Association, 3% to Crossroads Mission (local ministry for those with drug/alcohol addictions, people with the need of a new start in life, homeless people, etc.) 1% to New Life Pregnancy Service and 1% to Arizona Baptist Children’s Services here in Yuma.
Yes, God allows us to give the first 20% of our budget offering EACH WEEK to these mission causes. Our church is 55 years olds and believing God for all He has for us now and in the immediate future.