Texas Baptists heeded a call to minister to people in the midst of crisis in 1967, said Bob Dixon, executive director emeritus of the Texas Baptist Men, known affectionately as "the daddy of disaster relief" for the Dallas-based organization.
"After Hurricane Beulah hit in 1967, Texas Baptists assigned me the task of finding ways to minister to victims of natural disasters besides just sending money," Dixon
said.In the early days, Baptist men boxed up donated groceries according to family size and distributed food, he
said.When a tornado ripped through Lubbock in 1972, the Texas Baptist Men
set to work in an empty shopping center and began serving hot meals.
said most people are dumbfounded when they discover the Texas Baptist Men
are not covered under anybody's budget."We are funded by volunteer gifts," he
said."Everything we have is from people who love Jesus.We work off the heartbeat of the people.We've gotten checks from all religious denominations.Checks for $10 or $50 - when you count them all up just like you count all God's people up, it's enough for a ministry."The Texas Baptist Men
's mission is not to preach, but to show the compassionate nature of Christ, Dixon
said."We don't go to places where people need help and say, ‘Now before we feed you, we're going to preach to you,' " he
said."These volunteers show the love, compassion, care and concern of Christ through their work.From that, people can see and understand our ministry."Most Texans may not know about the work of the Texas Baptist Men
, but Dixon wants to make sure Odessa residents know about the Permian Basin Baptist Men
."The people out there in West Texas need to know what this Permian Basin unit is doing," he
said."That unit was the hub of relief efforts in Arizona.West Texas can be proud of that, but West Texas can also commit more people to that unit."