This past December, I was part of an eight-member student missions team from Jacksonville State University and Judson College who was blessed with an opportunity to serve the community of Staten Island, N.Y. We joined with teams from around the country at a North American Mission Board camp of operations that was headed up by an outstanding team leader, Mickey Caison, disaster relief team leader for NAMB, to assist with ongoing disaster relief efforts created by Hurricane Sandy.
Unlike a variety of other missions opportunities that I’ve had the privilege to experience, this event was different due to two distinct, closely-linked attributes: it was a prime example of effective cooperative collegiate disaster relief and I was able to see the Cooperative Program in action in a multitude of ways.
Everywhere I looked while at camp or out working, I saw the results of the giving hearts of fellow Alabama and Southern Baptists. There were water tents, bunk tents, hot meals, trucks and equipment –made possible through Cooperative Program gifts – not to mention the hours and hours of time given by Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers.
But it really wasn’t all the bells and whistles that truly captured my heart. I was blessed to serve with a team of workers from all over the country using amazing tools and resources not for the benefit of themselves, but rather by living out Christ’s sacrificial love. They gave of their time and experience from overflowing, grace-filled hearts.
I was truly humbled to be able to witness the body of Christ gathered together, tasked to meet the needs of so many within this community by helping mend these people’s houses and hearts so that they could witness Christ through our labors of love. The privilege of seeing the joy in a person’s eyes when they experienced Christlike love and observing my teammates sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them was an immense blessing! These opportunities wouldn’t be possible without tremendous and continual prayer, sacrificial tithing and the pooling of talents and resources through the Cooperative Program.
Yes, my heart is filled with joy to be a small part of this blessed body of believers and it has encouraged me with overflowing hope for the future to serve the peoples of God’s earth. Through continued good stewardship, I am confident that in coming days Southern Baptists will continue to serve together and be a light for Christ in many ways through the Cooperative Program.
– Alex Chesnutt