John 3:16 ministries traveled to Van Buren, Missouri in Carter County on October 28, 2018 to help those still trying to recover from the flood that hit the town 18 months ago. 160 men stayed at The Landing, one of Van Buren’s biggest attractions, on the Current River which was ravished by the flood waters. The men put up siding, built fences, cleaned up yards, and did all kinds of other work. This included cleaning up the community center and still unusable county courthouse.
The historic flood took place May 1, 2017 with waters cresting at 37.20 feet, over 10 times the average stage. The previous record height was 29 feet on March 26, 1904. Victims in the most devastated areas experienced loss of phone service (including the police station’s phones), electricity, and tap water. The water lines reached many people’s roof eaves and halfway up the 2nd floor at The Landing. Many businesses, homes and public buildings were destroyed or deemed unusable including the Carter County Sheriff’s office, the First Baptist Church and the Carter County Courthouse. In Van Buren the total cost of damage was over $13 million. FEMA has covered most of the costs for the recovery process with other money coming from private donations.
John 3:16 ministries arrived Sunday evening, unpacked their bags then went out to the sandbar for dinner. Tom Bedell (co-owner of The Landing), Matt Bedell, and Curt Majors provided catfish, homemade potato chips, and fried biscuits with apple butter for the residents. Afterwards the men fellowshipped and warmed up around a bonfire. The ministry woke up early Monday morning, ate breakfast and started their day with a bible study given by Jason Jordan. Then the men went to their designated job assignments which included cleaning up around Tom Bedell’s residence as well as the county courthouse. After serving the community the men went to the Hoagland Youth Center where they were treated to ribs, chicken, homemade casseroles, and various desserts which was provided by the First Baptist Church. Tuesday night was family night. Friends and family of the residents from around Van Buren came and spent the evening, enjoying hot dogs, hamburgers, and good company with all the fixings. The men’s families were joyful and at peace seeing their loved ones doing such good works as servants of Jesus Christ.
Wednesday the men worked all day in the pouring rain which is such a small sacrifice compared to the ultimate sacrifice that Jesus paid for our sins. When they got off work, they went back to The Landing, changed into some dry clothes and got treated to dinner at The Float Stream. The local owners provided chili, soup, grill cheese, and around 10 different types of dessert. Thursday morning, the men watched a presentation about the flood and even got to hear a few eye-witness accounts. That evening they took a trip to Big Spring. The spring lies at the bottom of a mountain with trees as far as the eyes can see. The fall leaves and magnitude of the spring itself made for such a breath-taking experience. It was impossible in that moment not to admire the beauty that God has created on this earth. That was followed by dinner which was provided by the Assembly of God. We worked till noon on Friday, ate lunch, then hopped on the bus to head back to Charlotte, AR.
“I had a great time. I worked with a lot of people I normally don’t have the opportunity to work with so I got to grow closer to my brothers during this trip. We strived to work in one accord to accomplish a common goal. That’s what these trips are all about, bringing us together. We come from all walks of life so experiencing that loving bond draws us closer as a family,” said resident Thomas Lott.
Director, Bryan Tuggle, plans to bring a crew of 200 men to serve the community of Van Buren in the year 2020.