First Baptist pitches in

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 9, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

When Larry Hyche moved to Selma in August to become the youth pastor at First Baptist Church, he had a desire to do more than just preach.

“During the interview (for youth pastor), I told them, ‘I feel called to do missions. Is that okay?'” Hyche said. “And they said ‘Absolutely.'”

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On Thursday, Hyche and 11 others will travel to Slidell, La., a town destroyed by Hurricane Katrina as part of their Gulf Relief Missions Projects. The group will assist in rebuilding Slidell’s First Baptist Church, clearing debris and doing chainsaw work. They will also clean out mud from area homes and serve food to Katrina victims.

When Hyche toured Slidell in November, the church building was completely flooded – fish were swimming in the sanctuary.

Hyche and others felt they needed to do more than send donations and supplies.

“We’re going to be open to anything they need us to do,” Hyche said.

There is a possibility the group will travel to New Orleans as well. There they will clean up and repair the New Orleans Seminary campus for its reopening this August.

Another group of 18 from First Baptist will travel to Bay St. Louis, Miss., on Jan. 29 to reconstruct homes. The group will also provide direct financial support for pastors in devastated churches.

Hyche said both young and old have signed up for the mission projects.

Church response has been outstanding despite the cold weather conditions and labor-intensive work that lies before them.

Although hurricane media coverage has waned, Hyche said volunteers are still needed. He urges everyone to consider involvement in the relief effort – an effort he thinks will last indefinitely.

“Don’t think that since it’s not on the news that they don’t need help because they do for many years,” Hyche said.

Hyche said one day the church hopes to travel outside of the U.S. to do mission projects. “I’d love to do foreign mission trips down the road,” Hyche said. “To work wherever the Lord leads us.”