TRIMBLE – Ten years ago, Mike Beasley never could have imagined the ministry God had in store for this car-hauling truck driver.
After retiring in 2006, the member of Trimble Baptist Church decided to be productive with his time and volunteer with Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief (DR) after an ice storm in Springfield. But he was turned away because he wasn’t trained.
“I came home and talked with my wife and said we needed to get trained,” he said. “We didn’t plan on getting in too deep.”
Mike and Ruth immediately got trained, but they didn’t follow through on plans about not “getting in too deep.” They now respond to callouts as part of shower/laundry units, chainsaws, mud-out, communications and ash-out. He is the statewide point person when it comes to training for shower/laundry units.
“It’s easier to tell you what we’re not trained in,” Beasley said.
Since he has the experience and proper drivers’ licensing, Mike frequently gets called on to haul various DR trailers as well. He’s lost count on the number of DR callouts he’s answered.
“I can call him and within a matter of hours – if not minute – he’s ready to go,” said Dwain Carter, director of Missouri Baptist Convention DR. “Ruth is at Mike’s side 24/7. They do DR as a couple. She grew up as a pastor’s daughter so she understands ministry and knows what it means to be a partner in Great Commission work.”
Last November, Carter and Mike were at a training event sponsored by the United Nations to learn how relief organizations can help during international crises. After the first day, Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) hit the Philippines and the UN began asking for volunteers to put what they’d just learned into practice. The two Missourians raised their hands and three days later they were on the ground organizing feeding points, assessing needs, and laying the groundwork for an eventual partnership with the tiny island of Gibitngil and the Missouri Baptist Convention. Beasley made a second trip there this spring.
“It’s where the Lord led us,” he said.
His most recent DR assignment was different, in more ways than one. Twenty-seven Missouri DR workers volunteered to provide childcare during the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Baltimore last month. Beasley got the call and drove the bus the 1,079 miles to Baltimore, and ferried the crew in two trips to the convention center and back each day to their church they were staying in 30 miles away.
The final day of the convention, he returned from ferrying the workers and felt some chest pains. He made it to a hospital where the doctors said he needed immediate heart surgery. They reluctantly cleared him to fly home, where doctors immediately operated to fix a tear in his aorta. He is recovering well, but is anxious to be back in the DR field.
“He just had open heart surgery, but it’s killing him to not be responding to disasters in Nebraska and southeast Missouri,” Carter said.
“Whether it’s leading training, driving a truck, operating the skid steer, he’s there,” Carter said. “He goes above and beyond. Ever since retiring, he’s been wearing a yellow shirt.”
When he’s not wearing the yellow DR shirt with blue overalls, he’s often in a suit and special Missouri Baptist Children’s Home (MBCH) tie: Beasley has served on MBCH’s board for five years and also sits on the MBCH Properties board.
“It’s been very interesting,” he said. “There’s so much the Children’s Homedoes that I never realized.”
Beasley may not be cleared to respond to disasters just yet, but he is planning on being at the MBCH board meeting July 22.
“Mike is just a solid kind of Christian,” said Carter. “He wants to advance the gospel, feels that call to missions and wants to do it through however he can. If there’s a job to fill, he’s more than willing to fill that.”
Koonce earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Oklahoma Baptist University in 2005.