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Thoughts, insights and observations from the ABN staff

Saturday
Nov102012

Sandy Blog: Arkansas vols prepare more than 18,000 meals on first day at Deer Park

Arkansas Baptist disaster relief prepare to work on Nov. 10 in Deer Park, N.Y.Editor's Note: Caleb Yarbrough, media specialist for the Arkansas Baptist News, is working alongside Arkansas Baptist volunteers serving in New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. He is blogging his experiences as the team travels to the Empire State to help those in need.

DEER PARK, N.Y. – Today was our first work day. We rose early and were working at our "feeding" site by 4:30 a.m. By the end of the day our team had prepared 18,500 meals.

Our work site was the large parking lot of a local park, nestled in between a roller hockey rink and basketball courts.

Veteran volunteers commented that this project was the largest that they had been a part of – and I believe it – though this is my first experience with disaster relief.

We had two full kitchens working all day, one of which is from Arkansas and the other from New York. We also had volunteers working alongside us from Kansas/Nebraska and Mississippi.

Caleb YarbroughI spent the majority of the day working at the power washing station with others from Arkansas and a few from the Kansas/Nebraska group. Most of my time was spent helping clean cambros (insulated plastic containers used to carry and keep food hot during transportation) and pans from the kitchens.

At one point during the day a volunteer from a New York group pulled me aside. They asked for my help with moving cambros full of food to pallets so they could be forklifted and placed in Red Cross vehicles to be transported to the people we were feeding.

As I helped the man move the cambros, we began to talk. His name was Jack and in a thick New York accent he said that he lived about 20  miles from where we are working. Jack said that by the grace of God his home and family were spared by Sandy – but he felt compelled to help those that were – especially considering the storm hit so close to home.

As I spoke with Jack periodically throughout the rest of the day when he would track me down to help move the cambros, I was struck by the absolute pervasiveness of Christ.

Jack, for all practical purposes, is from a different world than myself. He was born and raised in New York and grew up Catholic. He commutes an hour and 15 minutes each way to and from Manhattan for work each day and didn't become a believer until adulthood.

However, I felt a connection to Jack. The more I spoke to him the more I felt that regardless of our separate ways of talking or geographical alignments we were truly brothers in Christ.

It is absolutely amazing how God works. Here, in a place that many southern Christians consider incredibly spiritually dark – and for good reason – I found a man who truly sought to serve Christ and love His people.

As we continue our work this week please continue to pray for our group from Arkansas, as well as all of the other disaster relief teams from across the country. Pray that each of us would recognize and embrace the pervasiveness of Christ and seek to glorify Him with all that we are this week.

Caleb Yarbrough
Arkansas Baptist News

Friday
Nov092012

Sandy Blog: Arkansas team arrives in New York and makes some new friends

Left to right, David Butler (Arkansas), Jim Clark (Kansas/Nebraska) and Gene Lashlee (Arkansas) discuss upcoming Sandy relief efforts Photo by Caleb Yarbrough.Editor's Note: Caleb Yarbrough, media specialist for the Arkansas Baptist News, is working alongside Arkansas Baptist volunteers serving in New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. He is blogging his experiences as the team travels to the Empire State to help those in need.

DEER PARK, N.Y. –  Despite most of our group waking up around 3 this morning, all were in good spirits as we hit the road a little before 5 a.m. and headed north.

After traveling through multiple states we made it to New Jersey. Once we got close to Newark we encountered some heavy traffic which prompted one of my fellow volunteers to comment: "I sure am glad I live in Forrest City, Arkansas!"

Caleb YarbroughAfter making it through the worst of the traffic we began to make better time. As we crossed the bridge from New Jersey to New York we could see the skyline and city lights.

We made it to our final destination around 8 p.m., a former hispanic church building in Deer Park, New York. It will be our home for now.

On arrival we were met by a Kansas/Nebraska Disaster Relief group that will be working alongside us this week.

David Butler, a volunteer from Arkansas, said he first met the folks from Kansas/Nebraska when he was a Blue Cap on a disaster relief trip to North Dakota. He said that the two groups got along great the first day they met and started working together.

The  comradery between the two groups was obvious in their fellowship as they shared laughs and set up their cots and air mattresses together in the large wide-open room that appears to be the former sanctuary of the church.

Trailer parked outside former hispanic church in Deer Park, N.Y.The coming together of our group and the one from Kansas/Nebraska was a wonderful picture of the love that is had between brothers and sisters in the kingdom of God.

As we work alongside our new friends from Kansas/Nebraska and other disaster relief teams please pray that God would use all of our efforts, collectively, as a family of believers to do mighty works in the lives of those that we serve and come into contact with this week.

Caleb Yarbrough
Arkansas Baptist News

Thursday
Nov082012

Sandy Blog: Arkansas Baptist disaster relief team en route to New York

Arkansas disaster relief group upon their arrival at Rosedale Baptist Church in Abingdon, Va. Photo by Caleb YarbroughEditor's Note: Caleb Yarbrough, media specialist for the Arkansas Baptist News, is working alongside Arkansas Baptist volunteers serving in New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. He is blogging his experiences as the team travels to the Empire State to help those in need.

ABINGDON, Va. – We arrived early. Close to 60 Southern Baptist volunteers from across Arkansas – and one from Texas – gathered at First Baptist Church, Marion, this morning at 6 a.m.

Caleb YarbroughWe are part of the Southern Baptist disaster relief effort to help those affected by the devastation resulting from super storm Sandy.

It is truly amazing how God puts it on the heart of his people to serve. I rode with a smaller group from Geyer Springs First Baptist Church. We left at 3:30 a.m.  to join the larger group departing from Marion.

One women in our smaller group, Pam, works as a nurse and put in a 12-hour shift before traveling from Texarkana to join the team pior to its departure.

For many, this is their first time going on a disaster relief trip – me included. Others are veterans of the organization. Yet,  regardless of level of experience, every person in our group is expectant for God to use them for His purposes during our time on mission in New York.

Once we were on the main bus our ride was good. Everyone on the trip is passionate about being the hands and feet of Christ and the Spirit of the Lord was apparent in the fellowship.

Rosedale Baptist Pastor Don Paxton greets Arkansas Baptist disaster relief volunteers. Photo by Caleb YarbroughWe made it to Abingdon, Virginia, around 5 p.m. Eastern Time, arriving at Rosedale Baptist Church where we will stay the night.

Upon arrival at Rosedale Baptist we were welcomed by its pastor, Don Paxton, who was joyful to be able to open his church's doors for our group. Tonight we will get some rest and will be finishing our road trip to New York tomorrow. We will be leaving bright and early at 5 a.m.

I am excited to see what is in store for the rest of this trip. God has blessed us with a great group who love the Lord and His people. Please pray for traveling mercies as we hit the road again tomorrow and for our work upon arrival in New York. Pray for God to use us to help those in need both physically and spiritually in the name of His son Jesus Christ.

Caleb Yarbrough
Arkansas Baptist News

Thursday
Nov012012

ABN Christmas card design contest

LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Baptist News (ABN) is announcing its first-ever Christmas card design contest.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct152012

Arkansas Christian Parent magazine, iPad to be given away at ABN exhibit

ARKANSAS BAPTISTS attending the annual convention meeting Oct. 30-31 in Cabot may choose to have their caricature drawn and register to win an iPad by visiting the Arkansas Baptist News (ABN) exhibit.

“In addition to providing extensive coverage of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention Annual Meeting, we would like to invite messengers to visit us, the staff of the ABN,” said Tim Yarbrough, editor. “In addition to signing up for a free, three-month subscription for the digital edition and for our iPad giveaway, ABN cartoonist Gary Thomas will hand draw caricatures of messengers.”

A new feature at this year’s exhibit will be the distribution of the free Arkansas Christian Parent magazine, said Yarbrough.

“We are so excited to be a part of producing Arkansas Christian Parent,” he said. “The magazine is a great resource for churches and their members, as well as designed to be used as an outreach tool. We encourage churches to place them strategically at local businesses and at work, as well as use them during church visitation.”

Churches are asked to come to the annual meeting prepared to pick up the number of magazines they want to distribute.

“Some churches may want as few as 25; other churches may want a couple hundred magazines. The key is letting us know prior to the meeting in Cabot so we will have enough on hand to send home with them,” said Yarbrough.

To be eligible to win the iPad, attendees must visit the ABN booth in the exhibit hall in person where they will receive an official form. Entrants must be an active member of an Arkansas Baptist church. When signing up for the iPad giveaway, entrants will automatically be signed up to receive a free, three-month subscription to the digital edition of the ABN

To request copies of the Arkansas Christian Parent magazine for your church, call the ABN at 501-376-4791, ext. 5153, or toll-free at 800-838-2272; or email abn@arkansasbaptist.org.

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