Mission team from Florida working in Cordova this week
by Jennifer Cohron
Jul 12, 2013 | 1907 views | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Representatives of Holmes Baptist Association in Florida build a porch earlier this week for a resident on Branch Street in Cordova. Daily Mountain Eagle - Jennifer Cohron
Representatives of Holmes Baptist Association in Florida build a porch earlier this week for a resident on Branch Street in Cordova. Daily Mountain Eagle - Jennifer Cohron
CORDOVA — Three months after faith-based disaster relief organizations finished their work in Cordova, four Florida churches have sent 75 people to the city on a week-long mission trip.

Several local residents are receiving home repairs through the efforts of Holmes Baptist Association.

Teams of youth are also hosting games for kids at a local park and sharing their testimony door-to-door.

Pastor Eddie Eaton of West Pittman Baptist Church said he sees a community that is still looking for hope nearly two years after being devastated by tornadoes.

“They’ve looked for hope in other things and still haven’t been satisfied. What we’re trying to tell them is all of that is material and one storm can wipe it out. Then you’ve got nothing if you don’t have faith. So we’re here to share with people the hope that they can have in Christ,” Eaton said.

The group has traveled all over the country during the two decades that Holmes Baptist Association has organized annual mission trips.

The last several summers have been spent evangelizing in the Northeast.

“This is our vacation every year,” Eaton said.

For 84-year-old Mark Crawford and his wife, Juanita, however, mission work is a full-time job.

The couple have been affiliated with God’s Pit Crew, a crisis response team based in Virginia, for five years.

Crawford said they “got hooked” on helping disaster victims after delivering clothing and Bibles to areas affected by the California wildfires of 2003.

They met Randy Johnson, the founder of God’s Pit Crew, while working in Mountain View, Ark. after that community was struck by an EF4 tornado in 2008.

Two days after returning home from Arkansas, the Crawfords were on the road with God’s Pit Crew again to assist in Prattville following an EF3 tornado.

In the summer of 2011, the couple spent three months serving teams of disaster relief volunteers at a Tuscaloosa church.

They have not missed an opportunity to serve together in a disaster area until the Moore, Okla., tornadoes, which occurred while Crawford was recovering from serious health problems.

Crawford, whose career as a college instructor was preceded by more than 20 years of flying planes for the United States Air Force in Strategic Air Command, rededicated his life to Christ 10 years ago.

“I’ve had excitement all of my life, but this is the greatest joy I’ve ever had,” Crawford said of mission work.

Cordova is about a four-hour drive from Holmes County, Fla., an area of approximately 20,000 people located just across the state line.

Eaton said when planning a trip, members of the association seek out partnerships with churches that share their vision of reaching people with the gospel.

He added that the goal is as much to encourage local churches to become more involved in their community as it is for missionaries to be active in the area for a week.

Members of Cordova First Baptist funded the various service projects and are also working alongside their counterparts from Florida this week.

Eaton said the participation from church members is atypical, as is the support the group has been receiving from the community.

“On one of our roofing jobs, a guy who lives across the street came over and helped because he saw people out there working. We’ve never had that before,” Eaton said.

Cordova Mission Week concludes today with a block party at First Baptist Church from 3 to 8 p.m. The public is invited.

All activities are free.