Operation Inasmuch Express
Here at Operation Inasmuch, we spent all of 2020 and the first part of 2021 trying to encourage the Church to not sit idly and forget about the community, our neighbors, that are hurting and still need to be reached for Jesus.
It’s difficult! Navigating all of the safety recommendations, the mandates, the multitude of opinions that church leaders, church goers, and the rest of the world continues to share has been, to completely minimize it…. challenging.
Through this past year of COVID-19, many things were cancelled or postponed. Big events and milestones were missed all together or celebrated in new and creative ways. Many Inasmuch Days were put on hold until the outlook on “this thing” seemed clearer.
But, some churches and communities still found ways to host their Inasmuch Days. Up in Portsmouth, Virginia, leaders found ways to give and serve in the “spirit of Operation Inasmuch” to help with COVID-related needs.
It’s called Operation Inasmuch Express and it has proven to be a lifeline for so many families in the Portsmouth, VA area during these difficult times. Through a grant from the Baptist General Association of Virginia and matching funds from local churches, the Portsmouth Baptist Association began giving grant money to local churches in the area to be used for COVID-19 relief. The goal was to raise $50,000 in total to help support “the least of these” in the Portsmouth area.
At a time when getting out into the community in large groups and hosting huge Inasmuch Days was not allowed and seemed unsafe, these funds were used to meet real and immediate needs. Port Norfolk Baptist Church and Deep Creek Baptist Church received a $2,500 grant and then doubled that amount through gifts within their churches. Terry Taylor reported, “A portion of the funds will be used for the Food and Clothes Closet, which has been very active throughout the virus assisting a large number of families in the Deep Creek Community. Some of the resources will be used to help with the Taste Ministry, which takes hot meals each Thursday evening to some of the neediest people in the Deep Creek Community. The rest of the funds are being planned to be used in cooperation with the Mercy Drop Ministry to adopt a [city] block in both church communities and assist those who are directly affected by the virus.”
Even this year, East End Baptist Church used funds through Operation Inasmuch Express to host a vaccination drive in their area. This church and community have recently received local and state recognition for continuing to help with COVID-19 relief.
This one story tells us so much. It reminds us how THE CHURCH needs to continue to work together. It proves that even in the middle of a devastating virus, we can move forward and continue loving people in Jesus’ name. It convicts us to not let anything become an excuse to stop being obedient to what God has commanded us to do.
What about now? Spring is in the air. Things seem to be improving. Vaccines are more and more accessible. Our prayer for now is for the church to have a sense of urgency for reaching the lost. It may take some creativity, like Operation Inasmuch Express, but our encouragement for everyone reading this is to simply “Go DO the gospel”.