This year's Annual Meeting theme is "Live the Difference." We asked several individuals what it looks like to live the difference in their day-to-day lives. Here's what Gerald Davis, Disaster Recovery and development specialist, had to say:
Being the Dallas Cowboy fan that I am, I appreciate the complement which is usually made by a player to a coach or the coaching staff, which is generally made after a win, that says "the coach(es) had an excellent game plan which put us in the right position to make the play(s) and allowed us to win the game." Living the difference, for me is like that. I'm so grateful to God for allowing me to serve in a position at the Baptist General Convention of Texas which allows me the opportunity to enter into the lives of individuals who are recovering from a traumatic experience and help them to rebuild and be made whole. I refer to this process as seeking God's shalom for a family and ultimately for the community or the city in which the disaster has occurred.
Consider the recovery efforts in West, Texas after the fertilizer plant explosion. Fifteen people were killed, more than 160 were injured, and more than 150 buildings were damaged or destroyed. God made it possible for Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery (TBDR) to be placed in a position to mobilize over 3,000 volunteers to make a difference in the lives of families impacted by an unforeseen disaster which invaded their lives in a matter seconds.
TBDR mobilized volunteers who assisted in removing debris, mowing and maintain lawns, and eventually helping to construct six new homes in West. Each homeowner was an uninsured or underinsured family where God allowed TBDR to intervene and work with the long-term recovery committee to help meet needs which would have otherwise not been met. Several homes are currently in their final stages of binging completed and a home dedication is being planned for each homeowner. Homeowners are anxious, excited and ready to moving in and begin to live again.
Meet Clara, a disabled senior who lives with her disabled daughter in Garland. Clara and her daughter's home caught fire over a year ago. Clara received smoke inhalation injury resulting in 75% lung capacity. Clara's daughter had internal burns to her lungs and has lived on inhalers since. The two of them live in an apartment in Garland because they can not live in the damaged home unless all traces of soot and smoke are removed from the home. The home was not insured due to a non-renewal 35 days prior to the fire. The attic needs to be hepa vacuumed, sheet-rock needs to be replaced and repairs to the bathroom where the fire originated still needs to be done.Clara is on a fixed income and is seeking help in making the necessary repairs to the home so that she and her daughter can move back into their home and their familiar community. TBDR is currently seeking God's Shalom for Clara and hoping that God's plan will be put in place soon.
I recently had lunch with a TBDR donor, a person of wealth who is currently dealing with his wife's radiation treatments of cancer. I had the opportunity of praying with the donor. I prayed for him and his wife at just the right time which uplifted him from a low moment during this trying time.
Living the difference, for me, means cultivating a discipline of centering prayer and studying the Word of God which keeps me in tuned with the Holy Spirit so that I'm able to discern God's direction and instructions each day. Living the difference is a matter of being led by God who places one in positions to make a difference towards wholeness (shalom) in the lives of individuals. When these moments occur I'm always careful to give God the glory by exclaiming "look at God", "God did that." Praise God for allowing me to live (serve) in such a position here at the BGCT.