David Bonnell, University, Beavercreek, interacts with young boy in Athens, Greece, during an OSBDR construction trip.
By John Heading, Ohio Southern Baptist Disaster Relief director
The Ray Roberts State Missions Offering was named in honor of Dr. Ray Roberts who came to Ohio in 1952 to plant churches. He also helped form the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio and led SCBO as Executive Director-Treasurer for 25 years.
Seventy-one years later, Dr. Roberts’ impact is being felt outside Ohio as Ohio Southern Baptist Disaster Relief (OSBDR) travels around the world to minister to those affected by disasters, bringing help, hope, and healing.
Since 2022 OSBDR has been one of the recipients of the Ray Roberts State Missions Offering. That funding supports disaster response in Ohio, but now it goes so much further. OSBDR covers disaster response and requests from IMB personnel in Western Europe. So far in 2023 Ohio has responded to requests in Hungary and Greece.
In Budapest, Hungary, IMB Missionary Trey Atkins requested assistance with a remodel project--adding a kitchen to the building they are using to have church and to minister to Ukrainian refugees. A team of five led by Terry Taylor, Chillicothe BC, worked on drywall, wiring and anything else that needed to be done. It may not seem very glamorous to do these types of repairs, but it does make a difference.
“I do want to express how grateful we are to you and the team,” said Atkins. “The team was a huge encouragement to us in so many ways. Of course, we appreciated their hard work with our renovation project, but it went way beyond that. Every guy on the team showed genuine interest in our work and in the city we live in.”
I do want to express how grateful we are to you and the team
Noting that missionaries in Europe can often feel somewhat forgotten, Atkins appreciated interacting with the OSBDR team. “These guys reminded us that God always sees us and sometimes He will send a group of men across the ocean to help us and to remind us through them how much He cares of us and our service. A colleague here said, ‘It feels great to be seen,’ and I feel loved and appreciated. The trip, in our eyes, was a huge blessing in so many ways.”
Budapest was just the beginning of the work of the international arm of OSBDR. Another call came in from IMB missionary Jimmy Parris in Athens, Greece. Their need was to create a community center to reach out to people caught in human trafficking, residents without Christ, and refugees from Africa and Asia. A team of four volunteers traveled to Greece to install electrical and plumbing in the community center.
In addition to OSBDR volunteers, in-country volunteers are crucial to the effectiveness of any international outreach. One such local volunteer is a major driving force for the community center in Athens -- his name is Kostas.
When Kostas was in the Greek military he got into trouble. He faced a court martial from the military and jail time, but during his court hearing God intervened. The prosecutor had been very harsh with the other defendants, but when he got to Kostas, something changed. He said, “You are guilty, but you will not be punished. Go and don’t do it again.” From that experience Kostas learned what it meant to be saved. He accepted Christ soon after and has committed his life to the Lord and serving with IMB missionary Jimmy Parris in the Athens center.
You are guilty, but you will not be punished. Go and don’t do it again
The Ray Roberts State Missions Offering made it possible for OSBDR to get involved in international disaster response. This offering has been a game-changer.
Thank you for giving to The Ray Roberts State Missions Offering. Your gifts enable OSBDR to deploy to “the uttermost parts of the world.”
OSBDR serving in Budapest, Hungary.
Four OSBDR members worked on a construction project in Athens, Greece.
Local volunteer Kostas along with his wife and child.