“Tell your church we’re speechless,” said a visibly overwhelmed Shannon Ford, IBSA’s Missions Director, as a man approached him with a utility cart loaded with multiple five-gallon buckets. And that was just the beginning.
The IBSA Pastors Conference had yet to kick off when Illinois Baptist church members began arriving at Metro Community Church toting buckets, boxes, and bags overflowing with a bounty of blessings for the Baptist Children’s Home and Family Services (BCHFS) and the Christian Activity Center (CAC). It was all part of the IBSA Annual Meeting’s Buckets of Blessings Mission Project.
“People are so good,” BCHFS Director of Development and Marketing Paula Joy said tearfully as she watched church members bring items into the BCHFS exhibit at the Annual Meeting. “I just keep saying God shows up through his people.”
Over at the CAC exhibit, Jef Williams, the Center’s Executive Director said, “It’s so good to see God’s love in action. I know he is pleased.”
Lists provided by BCHFS agencies and the CAC prior to the meeting provided churches with existing needs and the opportunity to fill them. Buckets were prepared for Angels’ Cove residential center for mothers and newborns, Baptist Children’s Home pantry, and Pathways Counseling.
By meeting’s end, Illinois Baptists had filled 126 buckets, 25 moving boxes, and multiple additional boxes and bags. It was enough to fill one 15-passenger van and two 21-foot rental trucks headed to BCHFS and to CAC in East St. Louis.
“I’m always amazed by God’s people and their overwhelming outpouring of blessings,” Joy told Illinois Baptists. “You truly are a blessing to our staff and the families we serve. Thank you!”
Interim BCHFS Executive Director Doug Devore thanked the IBSA staff responsible for organizing the mission project “but most of all to churches for your response to Buckets of Blessings…. We’re grateful today, but we’ll be grateful for months.”
After the Annual Meeting Ford said he was pleased with the project’s outcome. “For me the expressions of delight from our ministry partners that were receiving the blessings were a blessing too. It was a delight. I wish everyone could have seen their expressions.”
Ford said calls are still coming in from churches asking if they can donate to the Buckets of Blessing Missions Project. Churches are encouraged to coordinate directly with BCHFS at (618) 382-4164 or the CAC at (618) 874-5615.