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Alabaster church helps Texas town get its first fire truckcomment (0)

June 17, 2004

By Sondra Washington

After losing numerous homes to fires, the city of Santa Maria, Texas, needed a fire truck, and their prayers were answered when Westwood Baptist Church, Alabaster, took a weeklong missions trip to the Rio Grande.

The Shelby Association church discovered this need last year during a similar trip when Minister of Missions Bobby Culpepper talked with the pastor of a church in the area.

After returning to Alabama, Culpepper contacted the Pelham Fire Department, which agreed to donate fire engine 93 to Santa Maria.

“We see the truck as a tool that God is using not only to fight fires but also to reach out into the community and let people know that God loves them and cares about them,” Culpepper said.

Driven by Pelham Fire Chief Gary Waters, the 500-gallon pumper 1978 model fire engine was dedicated upon arrival at Santa Maria.

Then Westwood’s 59-member volunteer team got busy working throughout the area and even across the border in Mexico.

During the week, some of the Westwood volunteers traveled to Mexico where two medical teams treated nearly 100 people and two eye-care teams distributed more than 40 pairs of glasses.

The volunteers also formed four construction teams that built four houses for the homeless and four teams that painted two houses each.

Other teams remained in the United States and concentrated on discipleship, evangelism, health, hygiene and Bible clubs.

In addition, 10 deaf ministry volunteers traveled to Rio Bravo, Mexico, to work with children at a deaf school and saw firsthand the great need for such ministries in the area.

“What was most inspiring to me was seeing how open and eager the children were,” said Westwood deaf ministry team member Donna Ott. “The(y) are like sponges, ready to soak up whatever we had to offer.

Culpepper stated, “For the short time that Westwood’s missions teams were able to minister to the needs of the people in the Progreso area, much was accomplished, not only helping to meet physical needs, but also in witnessing and leading people to the Lord.”

The church plans to take another missions trip to the Rio Grande next year to continue the work that they have begun.

Many Alabama Baptist churches will participate in missions trips this summer.

Look for reports of these missions trips in the Heart of Missions column that appears in The Alabama Baptist.

For reports on past missions trips, visit www.thealabamabaptist.org.

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