Draper, UT – Everyone has a story. So does every church. Within those stories are triumphs when a new ministry is birthed, grief over family tragedy, laughter over something said by a kid to a ministry volunteer, and stories of families transformed by the simple message of the gospel. Stories tell our history, and this year, the State Missions Offering is highlighting stories of churches and associations that have utilized resources from past mission funds to impact their communities with the gospel. The week of prayer shares eight days of stories focusing on just a few of the ways your Utah Idaho State Mission dollars have been used in just the last twelve months. And these stories continue to be written.
Our goal is help churches across Idaho and Utah to know how your funds are being used across our convention. When you know what you are giving to, it is easier to ask your congregations to help us reach our $90,000 goal for 2023. 100% of the money you give through the State Missions Offering stays in Utah and Idaho to be given back through Disaster Relief, Collegiate Ministry, Women’s Ministry, Special projects, direct church requests for funding, missions efforts both locally and nationally, local church planting expenses, and helping churches do what they may not be able to do by themselves.
We would encourage you to visit https://uisbc.org/smo for more information about where your State Mission Offering funds are going and how you can be a part of this vital mission effort. We have bulletin inserts your church can order and distribute, as well as downloadable media files that will help you promote the State Missions Offering throughout the year. Thank you for giving and supporting our local mission priorities.
Salt Lake City, UT – Ron Clement was spotted kneeling in the parking lot of First Vietnamese Baptist Church Monday afternoon, November 14.
Clement is Salt Lake Baptist Association’s Executive Director.
When asked what he was praying about, Clement said he was praying his knees would hold out. Then he chuckled as he corrected himself. “No, I’m just picking up trash.”
The Vietnamese church meets at the same location – 1235 California Avenue – as the Baptist Concern Center, a food pantry sponsored for more than 20 years by the association.
A Utah Food Bank truck delivers to the Concern Center “rescue groceries” donated by several area grocers on Mondays, and canned food, dried food, produce and dairy items on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
The Baptist Concern Center’s clients include people who live in downtown Salt Lake City, West Valley City, West Jordan, Kearns, Cottonwood Heights, Draper and other town in Salt Lake County, including the homeless who live in rickety recreational vehicles along 1700 South.
A shrinking – because of age and/or illness – number of volunteers help unload and shelve the food as it comes in, shop for clients as they come in and help clean up inside as well as the parking lot afterward.
Your help is needed.
If you’re 6 or older, or have young knees, you could pick up scraps of paper and cardboard outside.
If you are reasonably strong, your muscles are needed to move boxes – mostly the size of rectangular banana boxes, weighing about 20-30 pounds each, up to a maximum of 50 pounds. The Utah Food Bank truck unloads pallets with a fork lift onto the parking lot. Help is needed to carry individual boxes about 50 steps into the Concern Center’s storage area.
If you can pick up a 1-lb. package of rice, box of bakery cookies, or a can of corn, you can put items from the boxes onto shelves.
If you can push a shopping cart, you can take a post-it note from the wall, walk around the room, fill the cart with items for a family of the size indicated, and take the cart out to the parking lot where the recipient will put it into their vehicle, stroller or bike basket, giving you opportunity to have a kind or spiritual conversation, as the Holy Spirit leads.
If you can type, you don’t even need to walk! You can greet the people requesting food, explain the process, help them fill out a form (requested by the Utah Food Bank for verification purposes) and as the Holy Spirit leads, share the love of Jesus with them.
The people who come to the Baptist Concern Center appreciate the help they’re given. If you’re most comfortable silently arranging produce in the storage room, they still appreciate you, because you are helping them feed their family.
The ministry is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays; and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Client interviewing and sign-in as well as stocking and shopping cart help are needed at all these times.
Truck unloading starts about 12:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays; 10:30 a.m. Thursdays; and 8 a.m. Fridays. Each day the truck unloading time requirement is less than two hours. A volunteer also is needed Monday mornings to pick up donations from Chick-fil-A and Starbucks.
Handyman volunteers also are needed at the Concern Center.
“Something is always breaking down,” SLBA Dir. Clement told UI Connections. On Nov. 14, two men were onsite repairing a copier machine, and the light fixture in BCC Dir. Sonia Gutierrez’ office continually flickered.
A full article about the Baptist Concern Center is to appear in the next issue of UI Connections, but the need for help is too immediate to delay. Donations of food items – rice, dried beans, cooking oil in particular – and money to help pay for Food Bank donations, also are needed.
By Karen L. Willoughby
A frequent contributor to UI Connections and Baptist Press. She can be reached at email@example.com
Moab, UT – When historic flooding recently hit the city of Moab, the people of Canyonlands Fellowship Church grabbed their shovels and began to dig their neighbors out of a muddy situation. Pastor Geoff Thomas led his congregation to give of their time and was rewarded with an opportunity to present the gospel to local business owners.
This is Pastor Geoff’s testimony about what took place when he witnessed his congregation step up and help-
We had a tremendous turnout for the clean-up outreach. Thirty-five of our congregation canvassed three business for about four hours on Sunday morning, September 4. Two of our volunteers had the glorious opportunity to be invited into Woody’s Tavern by the Owner of the property. At ages 80 and 82 they shared the gospel and prayed with “Sheri”. There was no doubt that this crisis softened this bar owner’s heart. Sheri’s response was the assurance to us that she got saved back in 1994.
We also encountered a host of bilingual Hispanic business owners that were very welcoming to us, as a church, being willing to help and serve their need in time of crisis.
We were all totally blessed by the whole ordeal and we recognize God’s glory and his demonstration of love through us. Humbled, we were!
Pastor Geoff Thomas is the pastor of Canyonlands Fellowship in Moab, UT.
RED LODGE, MT – When the waters of Rock Creek began to surge across its banks into homes and businesses in Red Lodge, Montana, the members of the Church of the Rockies began to respond. At first, it was neighbor helping neighbor, checking on one another and offering aid. Then, the Red Cross arrived. The church family quickly began to volunteer to be the hands and feet for this relief organization. They began preparing and delivering meals, distributing supplies and helping coordinate the response. The church also has a benevolence fund and they too began to meet immediate needs.
Pastor Justin Carter said, “I’m so proud of the way our church has responded. Every day, I’m hearing new stories of how church members have served the people of Red Lodge. It’s amazing. The church immediately reached out to community leaders to offer our facility to be an emergency shelter. We made a few meals, but quickly realized that coordinating with the Red Cross was our niche. Working together, we have had the greatest impact.”
In the next few days, coordination with the Disaster Relief Unit of the Utah Idaho Convention and our Missouri Baptist partners began to take place. A Missouri shower unit that had been assigned to Lee Merck for summer ministry in Bozeman was redeployed. Then, a team from Utah Idaho arrived to coordinate “mud out” crews. As basements have been cleaned out, the team offers to spray them with “Shockwave” to kill bacteria and mitigate against mold forming. As these homes dry out, they will be ready to rebuild. The team has had opportunity to pray with flood victims, exchange stories, and be a source of hope and encouragement.
This is excerpted from a longer article by Darren Hales, Church Strengthening Team Leader for the Montana Southern Baptist Convention. Here is the link to the complete article published 6/30/2022