By Carolyn Curtis
Join Bruce as he tells about the
challenges and satisfactions of his mission trips to West
Disaster Relief can fit into both categories when DR volunteers return again
and again to a storm-ravaged area to help with rebuilding… homes, businesses,
lives, even hearts. Friendships form, trust increases. People once devastated
by tragedy begin to see familiar faces once more, living up to their promises
to come back, to help with the next phase… long after the government aid and
the insurance checks have dried up along with the receding waters.
As the disaster subsides and the rebuilding begins, folks often confront a
bigger danger to their well-being than any storm surge or 155-mile-per-hour
wind: a future without Christ. And so the real Hope begins.
In this issue on how to plan a mission trip, On Mission introduces to you a
new feature. It's an ongoing story we'll be posting on our website, telling one
on mission Christian's experiences in West Virginia over several
Bruce Mundell, a native of New York now transplanted to Georgia, responded
when floods in 2002 swept through McDowell County, West Virginia. Bruce's first
trip was a life-changing experience. He found himself responding to on-going
problems as well as the immediate disaster. He returned often, four times the
first year, sometimes alone, other times with help from a dozen or more from
his church or workplace. Even his son, Seth, became involved. In five years,
Bruce has been back eight times.
And so what began as a Disaster Relief effort grew into a longer-term
calling. Bruce began to care about the coal-mining region and its mountain
folk. Eventually God nudged him to do more to help them. A mission trip turned
into a mission experience, a pattern we see emerging in the aftermath of
Bruce's West Virginia stories will introduce you to people like Harry, whose
combination work area and living space had been flooded out, and Ruby, mother
to a Down's Syndrome son. Bruce tells them about Christ as he ministers to
their basic needs.
In his own life, Bruce has seen the results of missions work. He came to
know Christ when he was a 20-year-old visiting his brother in Spain who was
serving in the U.S. Air Force. His brother had recently accepted Christ as a
result of the work of an American missionary and had been praying for an
opportunity to share the gospel with Bruce.
God responded in a dramatic way. Bruce had just escaped from a hotel fire in
Paris with his life and the clothes on his back. He traveled to Spain to borrow
clothes from his brother and got more than he bargained for-a testimony and a
gospel tract. Bruce accepted Christ that very night.
When he returned to America, God's path led him to Georgia, where he lived
at a Christian summer camp and met the woman who would become his wife.
Bruce wanted to serve the Lord, but at first he felt frustrated, thinking he
needed to become a pastor or missionary or Christian school teacher to be
effective. Yet he was skilled in working with his hands, having learned trades
from his father, a bulldozer operator. "I was always the son who could be found
with my little feet next to Dad's big feet sticking out from under a broken
machine, trying to learn all I could about how things work and how to fix
Finally, Bruce realized that God needs his skills as much as He needs
eloquent preachers. "God drew my heart to use my hands for the needs of
people," he recalls.
Carolyn Curtis is contributing editor of On Mission.
A Southern Baptist Convention entity supported by the Cooperative Program and theAnnie Armstrong Easter Offering® ©Copyright 2013 North American Mission Board, SBC