When she retired after
teaching fifth grade for 32 years, Judy Morris did not immediately start doing
mission trips, though in earlier years she had vowed to do so after
Long active in First Baptist
Church, Siler City, missions involvement was not on her calendar.
She recalls vividly the
moment her commitment changed. _ÑŒ
It was soon after Hurricane
Katrina destroyed much of Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005. At 6 a.m. one
Sunday she was working the crossword puzzle in the newspaper when suddenly
somebody said, “You’re making excuses!”
“I looked around and there
was no one,” she said. The voice continued, “You’re making excuses. When you
were working, you said you would love to do things like help with Katrina, but
you couldn’t because you said you were working; you’d love to do so after you
“Now you’re saying it’s hot
down there, but you just got back from Las Vegas and it was 107 degrees out
“You say you have a bad
back, but you’re getting ready to go to New York on a tour. You have the time
now. What’s your excuse?”
“He very firmly told me, ‘If
I tell you to do something, I will empower you to do it. Don’t worry
about these little things. That will work out,’“ she said.
“It was a life-changing
experience,” she said.
She soon got trained by N.C.
Baptist Men in mass feeding and made two trips to serve in Gulfport, Miss.,
along with some 40,000 other North Carolina Baptist volunteers who responded
over two years.
“It was an eye-opening
experience to see the equipment, the organization and all the Baptists with the
yellow shirts on,” she said._ÑŒMorris wept as she recalled how they would be
walking through a store, wearing their yellow Baptist Men Disaster Relief
“People would come up to us
with tears in their eyes, thanking us for being there,” she said.
She wept again as she
recalled how they stood with members of First Baptist Church and sang, “Because
“When we stood to sing,
those people had lived through what we were singing about. They were singing
with such joy. It was awesome. It was just awesome,” she recalls.
She recalled being impressed
by the Bible study led by Chuck Register, then the pastor of First Baptist
Church, Gulfport. Register is now executive leader for the Church Planting and
Missions Development Group at the Baptist State Convention. “We are so
fortunate to have him with us,” she said.
This summer Morris led a
10-member team to Connecticut to help a Baptist church there reach out to their
community. Four years after she quit making excuses, Judy Morris is still sold
out to missions.
“People don’t know until
they’re touched by it,” she said.
N.C. Baptist Men are able to
train, organize and coordinate for disaster relief and carry out 13 other
ministries involving men, women and children because they are supported through
the North Carolina Missions Offering.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Creswell
directs stewardship efforts at the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.)