For Buck Brown, the road between Leatherwood Baptist Church in Anniston and the Fellowship of American Indians Mission in Chickasha, Oklahoma, is well worn. Since 1999, he has been going there every year, sometimes several times a year.
And every December, he makes the trip loaded with more than 100 bags full of Christmas gifts for children in the Chickasha community.
It’s a partnership that started with a vision and a phone call.
“My husband had received a call from Buck Brown, and he shared that he had a vision that he was supposed to help an Indian church,” said Tewanna Edwards, whose late husband, John, was HUNGER’s pastor at the time. “He said, ‘This is where the Lord is leading me, and I was wondering if there was anything I could do in your church to help you, whether it was repairs or whatever. other.’
“My husband said yes, and he said, ‘When can I come?’ My husband said, ‘You can come whenever you want.’ »
Brown came the following week, and Edwards said she and John didn’t realize at the time that he had never flown on a plane or had been away from his family for a long time.
“He was just obeying what God told him to do,” she said.
And when Brown arrived, he realized the couple needed help.
The area where they served faced many problems. The church had no paid staff and five adults tried to maintain a ministry that was primarily aimed at reaching children. Edwards recalled seeing tears in Brown’s eyes when she asked him what he had noticed about people in the area.
He said, “I just see they feel there’s no hope.”
So in the months and years to come, Brown found ways to connect, such as financially supporting the church on a monthly basis and returning with Leatherwood Baptist teams to lead Vacation Bible School and revivals and help with renovation projects at HUNGER.
And one day a children’s ministry official in Leatherwood asked, “If we do something like Samaritan’s Purse shoeboxes for kids in Oklahoma, are you going to do it there?”
“We’ve been going there ever since,” Brown said.
The people of Leatherwood collect and assemble the bags, and Brown and others deliver them. They are distributed to Chickasha families on the Sunday before Christmas.
“We are hugged to death that Sunday,” he said.
Edwards noted that Brown and the other Leatherwood volunteers have “just been a blessing.”
She said they have seen lives changed and they have seen children impact their parents as their faith grows.
“[The volunteers from Leatherwood] I just don’t know how many lives they touched, and to this day we still have children who come back and tell us how much this church meant to them with the giving, love and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ,” Edwards said. , “to feed them when they were hungry, to learn about fruit because they had never eaten it before…they will never know how much they gave to this community, because it was our ministry – the children.”
Joe Lucero, who is currently a pastor, agreed.
“We were able to reach many families without a church,” he said. “I know the community has been truly blessed and has always expressed their gratitude to us and Brother Buck for what he has done.”