We are all called by Jesus to disciple others. We read in Matthew 28:18-20; Then Jesus came to them
and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them
to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Discipling others isn’t an option, it’s a command. God has us all in different places in life to disciple others.
God has called Mary Jo and I to be missionaries. We are no different than any other missionary in our
calling. Just like someone is called to Africa, Asia, Haiti, etc, we have been called to areas hit by disasters.
Wherever we go, we are called to make disciples, just like any other missionary. Many think that we go into
areas to help people who are affected by a disaster, but that’s just our cover! Our main focus is to disciple
others and we use disaster relief as the tool that opens the door to discipleship!
Many times as we travel we hold church services in yards of damaged homes, abandoned schools, etc. We
invite people we serve to join us back at the camp for devotions. We encourage all of our team to have a
personal time of devotion every day and on top of that we have team devotions in the morning and usually
another one at night. As we serve we listen to Christian music and often times talk about things of the
Lord, usually centered around what we’ve been studying in the Bible.
This trip was no exception. We studied God’s Word for 2-3 hours together every day. Even one night we
were at a church mission’s dinner and got back in late. I wasn’t going to require the team to do devotions
and was saying good night when one of the team members asked me, “What about devotions?” I replied I
was willing if they were but didn’t require it since it was late. All but one of the 15 in house came to the
study and it lasted for almost two hours! Please pray that God’s Word penetrates our lives and that His
promise of His Word not returning void will be lived out in each of our lives.
People often times ask us why we come and do what we do, and we always reply because Jesus told us to!
As we serve people get to see first hand how Jesus lived His life on this earth. As much as possible we get
together with the family when we are all finished, present them with a Bible and some other Biblical
literature, a worship CD, a teaching CD from our pastor with a salvation message on it and then we pray
with them. And they thought we just came to clean their house!!
It is a great opportunity that the Lord has allowed us to be part of and we take it very serious. Please
continue to pray that the Lord would lead, guide and protect us in His ministry to others as we fulfill His
commandment to go and make disciples! We look forward to the day when we can be supported for our
physical needs so that we can spend more time ministering and doing mission work, in God’s timing!
And now for the trip synopsis! About two weeks ago every county in Ohio experienced major flooding.
Some areas were less fortunate than others, Wapakoneta and St Marys areas being a couple of these
One of our good friends in Sarasota is from Wapakoneta. His brother’s home had close to a foot of water
in it. He called me to ask for advice with what to do with his home. I gave him some direction and asked
him if he knew of any other needs in the area. Of course he was busy with his own disaster and didn’t know
what else was happening in the area. His wife began checking with different authorities and churches in the
area and we were put in touch with the Wapakoneta Fire Chief and the Auglaize County EMA Chief. They
both agreed that there were a lot of homes that needed our assistance and we were asked to deploy to the
area if we could.
We immediately began praying about deploying and sent out an email to others to see if they would do the
same. We decided the Lord wanted us in Ohio and I made arrangements to finish up work and Mary Jo had
her Spring Break so she had the week off.
Our good friend Chuck “Chuckles” who retired to Ohio from Florida last year (I think he has it backwards),
agreed to join us. Jason from Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville, Virginia who has a relief ministry, called and
he and a team member could help out for a few days. Cassie from Horizon Fellowship in Indianapolis also
called and showed up with two guys from her relief team and we had a few others from the New York area
join us. We also were blessed to have Kevin from Wapakoneta join us as well as he is currently
We headed out on Friday morning, a little later than we had hoped as we stayed up late the night before
getting everything loaded up. We weren’t an hour down the road when the trailer lights began flickering on
and off. I pulled into a rest area and couldn’t figure out the issue so we headed to a trailer repair shop.
After three tries by them and being charged for fixing something that wasn’t broken, I finally dug through
the trailer and got my tools out and found a short in one of the side running lights. I eliminated the wire
and we got back on the road!
We made it to Knoxville, TN and found a hotel to spend the night. Unfortunately Mary Jo is not
comfortable with pulling the trailer, yet, so since I couldn’t find anyone to go with us from FL, we couldn’t
drive straight through. We got back on the road and noticed that our truck had picked up quite a shake so
we found a service garage and asked them to check things out. They concluded that the issue was a bad
bearing in the trailer so we opted to replace all four of them. The brakes also were getting low so we
decided to replace them as well. Four hours later, we were on the road again! We arrived late in the
afternoon and went right to our first home. We surveyed the damages, filled out the appropriate
paperwork, got the required signatures, promised to return with a team the next morning and headed to our
second home. We now carry commercial fans and dehumidifiers and this home needed both, so we set the
home up to begin the drying process and headed to St. Joes Catholic School who had graciously given us full
use of their facilities for sleeping, eating and cleaning up! Shortly thereafter the other team members
St Joes Catholic Church and Wapakoneta Church of the Nazarene decided to take us on as a project!!
They made sure we were welcomed and very well taken care of. Different people took turns providing us
with a hot breakfast and supper and packed us sandwiches and treats for lunch. Judy and Geneva
Opperman quickly took control of all the details and made sure we wanted for nothing. They even got us
cots and mattresses for all the team that needed them! They were truly angels sent to take care of us
and we are eternally grateful for all that they did! Their care of us allowed us to better serve in the
community, helping everyone the Lord sent our way.
Jason and John arrived on Sunday evening and served with us through Wednesday evening. Chuckles
arrived Monday and served through Tuesday evening. Cassie, Landrew and Jeff arrived on Wednesday and
stayed until we were finished on Friday.
Linda from ISOH/Impact ministries in Ohio contacted us and asked if we needed any supplies, which we
gladly replied yes too. We have worked with them on several projects and they sent four pallets of
cleaning supplies and food items for us to use and distribute in the area. Monday afternoon we unloaded
the truck and immediately began using the supplies. Thanks again guys!
We were able to serve at seven homes, two of which had extensive damage and had to be completely
gutted to the four foot level. There were seventeen of us all together serving in the homes and too many
to mention helped out with meals and things back at the school.
Saturday morning we got up and said our good-byes. The ladies had breakfast for us and even packed us
lunches for the road!
Mary Jo and I had a few issues on the way home. The truck was really shaking again and it seemed to get
worse as the trip continued. We made it to Macon, GA and found a tire store that was going to be open
early on Sunday morning. We got some pizza for dinner and checked into a motel.
I got up early the next morning and headed to Firestone. I was the first one there so they immediately
started looking at the truck. Apparently we had an alignment issue, two bad wheels and one really bad tire.
We got everything taken care of and by 10 AM we were back on the road. What a difference the ride was!
We got home a little before dark and I had to unload the relief trailer and put my work tools in my work
trailer. I had to be at a job at 8 AM on Monday morning and knew I’d have better luck getting it done that
night than for me to get up early the next morning!
It was a great trip and we really met some great people. Please continue to keep them in your prayers.
One family in particular, the Rineharts, have a rough road ahead of them. They can’t live in their home, it
had six-ten inches of water in it, they have three kids, two of them under five and two dogs, one is
pregnant and the other got really sick from the flood. Another family is also out of their home but things
are moving a little quicker for them. Each home/family that was affected is dealing with a lot of issues,
not all of them flood related. But they all have one thing in common, they have a God who loves and cares
for them. Pray that they would draw closer to Him through this and that He would send others their way
to proclaim the Gospel with their lives as our team tried to do this past week.
Make sure you check out the pictures page to view some photos of the trip. There is also a link at the top
of the page for our youtube page. It contains videos of the trip including a copy of Dayton's Channel 7
news coverage of one of the homes we were serving in. There is also a copy of the newspaper article that
interviewed us under the in the news tab.
Thanks for all your prayers and support; we couldn’t do what we do without each and every one of you!