After six weeks of work in flooded homes, Illinois Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers and partners from other states completed almost 200 jobs. But even more amazing than the amount of work they did in Iroquois County, said Dwayne Doyle, is the care they showed for homeowners.
“You give of your time, you give of your talent, you give of your treasure to come serve people who need someone who has not forgotten them,” Doyle told volunteers serving in Watseka this spring. “Thank you for doing that.”
The multi-week response in Iroquois County was done in partnership with a local IBSA church—Cornerstone Ministries in Watseka. Pastor Jerry Parker and his church opened up their building as a command and housing center for the volunteers, and worked “tirelessly” to serve them meals every evening, Doyle said.
Through the work in Watseka and surrounding communities, four people prayed to receive Christ. “This is truly more important than the number of work requests that were completed, which was amazing,” said Doyle, state director for Disaster Relief and IBSA’s director of men’s ministries and missions.
Also amazing, Doyle continued, is seeing how God works through churches that work together to meet practical needs, and advance the gospel.
John Lindeman is a Disaster Relief supervisor from Williamson Association. He started with the ministry in 2011, he recounted in a recent video interview onsite in Watseka, but didn’t really understand the true value of the work back then.
“As we served people we got to know what the real value of our work was,” said the volunteer from Cornerstone Community Church in Marion. “The real value was sharing Jesus.”
John’s wife, Francie, is a Disaster Relief chaplain with the Williamson team. She says a lot of times, people in difficult situations just need someone to listen. During the response in Iroquois County, she talked to a young mother whose home the team was working on, and eventually had the opportunity to ask whether she went to church.
“That opened up the door for me to share the gospel with her,” Francie Lindeman said, “and that’s what it’s all about.”