All Anna Streeter saw in her refrigerator was three hot dogs and one bottle of apple juice. She was hungry and wanted to go to the grocery store, but her bank account was as empty as her icebox.
Streeter wasn’t used to needing to ask others for assistance. For more than 30 years, she had graciously ministered to those in need through the work of Southern Baptists churches. But now, at age 84, she had little left to live on besides a small pension and a modest Social Security check. Then, unexpected major repairs on her 21-year-old car and several medical bills used up the little she had saved. Streeter was facing a trio of troubles.
If she was going to survive, she needed to get help.
Filled with belief that God would provide, Streeter called to check on the status of her application for Mission:Dignity, which provides financial assistance to retired pastors, workers and their widows who are struggling to make ends meet.
She was relieved to discover she was eligible for assistance, but discouraged to learn that her check wouldn’t arrive for three weeks.
After a long silence, Streeter asked, “Is there any way to get it sooner? I don’t have any food.”
As Christians, we are reminded in James 1:27 to care for our widows in need, and that is exactly what the team from GuideStone’s Financial Assistance department, which administers Mission:Dignity, did next.
They gathered a few gift cards for emergency groceries, picked up lunch and headed over to bring hope to Streeter.
When she opened the door and saw the smiling faces and assistance from Mission:Dignity, she began to weep. Finally, help had arrived and those three weeks weren’t going to be that long after all. But Streeter isn’t the only one who needs help.
Mission:Dignity proudly serves about 2,000 retired Southern Baptist pastors, workers and their widows. These men and women faithfully served God’s people in small, mostly rural churches and are now struggling to meet their own basic needs.
“We are privileged that the ministry to which we have been entrusted is to provide for these dear servants of the cross in their declining years,” O.S. Hawkins, GuideStone president, said. “More than 60 percent of the people we serve are widows — with one in four being a pastor’s widow over age 85. When our generous donors give to Mission:Dignity, they join us in serving as Christ’s hand extended to these faithful servants.”
Mission:Dignity is funded through direct contributions from churches, Sunday school classes and individuals. It receives no Cooperative Program funding. All donations given to Mission:Dignity go directly to help a pastor or his widow in need, with nothing held back for administrative expenses, and are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Donate to Mission:Dignity online by visiting missiondignitysbc.org, or by mailing a check to Mission:Dignity at 2401 Cedar Springs Road, Dallas, TX 75201.
— John Ambra is director of development for GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.