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On the way to the South Dakota mission trip, we took a detour through Kansas City. We stopped to see a couple of museums and then followed the path of Lewis and Clarke up the Missouri River. On the second night, we were headed to a classic Kansas City diner. Google was taking us off the main road because it was rush hour. I was completely helpless without the guiding hand of the regular updates.

I turned obediently and scanned the neighborhoods. We saw big houses and little houses. We saw boarded up businesses, thriving communities, and some urban blight.

Suddenly, a red brick building emerged on the right side of the road. I saw the sign out of the corner of my eye “Holmeswood Baptist Church.” It flashed by. I knew immediately what it meant. This is where my spiritual journey with the body of Christ began. Fifty-seven years and 4 months  ago, my mother and father took me to this church building. Inside were Christ followers. They delivered me to the waiting arms of nursery workers. I was enrolled in the “cradle roll” (I still have the certificate). The people inside that building were the first people outside of my family that loved me in the name of Christ.

We had to keep going to meet friends at the diner, but as soon as we finished, Cindy and I headed back to the HBC. We pulled into the parking lot. An event was going on, but it was not a church event. I wondered if there was anyone still in the church who would have watched me when I was a baby. They could be in there late 70’s.

None of those people who showed up that day so long ago had any idea who I would be. They did not know who I would become. I was not theirs, yet they served me and my family.

The years my family spent in Kansas City were hard years. My mother was recovering from the breakdown that came after the death of my sister during childbirth. My grandmother had cut two tendons on her foot when she stepped on a broken jar in our flooded basement where the family was sheltering from a tornado. My mother was often stuck at home with no car and no friends. The church was their lifeline. The people, that community gathered around the cross, enfolded my family. When my parents talked about the time they spent there, they always said Missouri as though they had said “misery.” The bright light was the Holmeswood Baptist Church.

Each week, volunteers in our church stand ready in rooms to receive babies and children so that moms and dads might find the community they need to survive the brutal realities of life. The single largest volunteer army in our church are our extended session care givers. Everyone ought to  volunteer. It makes a huge difference. Even if you only serve once a year, it is an investment in the future of the body of Christ.