Liberty is the town I visited for Dairy Queen ice cream, while I was growing up near Smithville Lake. Liberty is where my Dad introduced me to his alma mater on the hill. Liberty is where I fell in love with William Jewell College and my husband on that very hill. And when it came time to settle down and raise our children, we came back to Liberty. Liberty is where we live, shop, worship and find community.
I always felt that Liberty was special for its small-town charm, americana and overall friendliness. But when one of our own went missing this week during a routine run, I realize now how special Liberty really is. Now, I know for certain that it is filled with generous, determined, kind and sacrificial citizens, leaders, churches and businesses.
The outpour of volunteers to search has been remarkable. This is our typical hot July in Missouri, where most of us hide inside and yet the volunteers keep coming. The volunteers have had long stretches of waiting to search, yet so many people keep gathering at LCF (Liberty Christian Fellowship) to do what they can. Some know Chad and need to be there, because he would do the same for them. And then there are the ones who want to respond even if they don’t know Chad. Because really Chad is not a stranger to us. We have Chads in our families – – we have brothers, uncles, nephews, husbands, sons, grandsons, cousins and fathers. We are all connected to Chad and each other.
While Chad is lost, so many are probably rediscovering how important their “Chads” are to them. Some are making sure others know where family members are going when they head out to blaze a trail. And personally, it has made my husband and I establish a better plan for tracking each other as a result of Chad’s disappearance. Some are taking care of the volunteers with donating food, drinks and air conditioning. It has been amazing to hear of the response from local businesses. (You can follow along with 12,000+ others praying, supporting and reporting what is happening with the search – Bring Chad Rogers Home — https://www.facebook.com/BringChadRogersHome)
Also, the response of local churches being a place to gather and provide help is exactly what God wants. LCF is command central for volunteers, support and prayer. And today, Second Baptist Church opened up to offer childcare for anyone who wanted to go be part of the search. Games were played, songs were sang and community was offered and received. Today, I rocked a sweet 18-month old and sang to her like she was my own. I would hope that my children would have gotten the same love, affection and tenderness in a stranger’s care.
So, in search of Chad here is what I have found…
1 – That Liberty is a place that rallies for it’s own.
2 – That the CERT Team, Emergency Responders and local government are for the citizens.
3 – That not knowing Chad personally, doesn’t keep you from wanting to help.
4 – That a community in prayer and response is holy.
5 – That the “Chads” in our lives need us.
6 – That waiting to hear updates is excruciating.
7 – That showing up to help how I could was good and a great teaching moment for my children.
8 – That if this happened to my family I would feel cared for deeply by my community.
9 – That I am praying without ceasing that Chad is safe.
I am praying that Chad Rogers is found soon and that God’s protection has kept him safe. I am praying for Chad’s family and friends as they wait in the unknown and unthinkable. And I am praying for Liberty as we support, gather, search, pray and come together as a community.
Hoping and Praying in Liberty,
Recent News Link:: http://www.kshb.com/dpp/news/region_missouri/liberty/search-for-missing-liberty-runner-chad-rogers-to-resume-wednesday
Thank you, Kristin. Well done. Grateful you put into words what many others are feeling right now.
Thank you Ben. I appreciate your comment. Peace.
Kristin, this was very well said.. Thanks for writing and sharing these beautiful words.
Thank you very much. I am glad it was received well.
What a fabulous post. Just gave me goosebumps reading it…Thanks for this, and thank you for the sweet, nurturing, spirit that you shared with Bella today. Made me cry, actually… It’s so incredibly powerful to just take in the outpouring of support, love and devotion to finding Chad, I see glimpses of the Lord everywhere.
Oh I was so hoping you would see this post. I didn’t know how to get it to you! I was so happy and grateful to sing to your sweet Bella. She probably thought I was a little bit crazy, but then she already knows me pretty well. 🙂 Thank you for trusting others with your precious ones. We were so ready to help.
I was Chad’s fourth grade teacher at Alexander Doniphan in Liberty and I am one of those people who have been praying and searching and questioning how this amazing young man could disappear like this. I thank you for your kind words about all the wonderful people who care and want to help. I do not live in Liberty but I did teach there for 21 years and yes, the people of this small city are God’s hands and feet for this world.
Jeannette – thank you for your comment the other day. I am so sad today that Chad has been found. But I appreciate all he has taught me about my community this week. Blessings to you.
Thank you, Kristin. I know God will use this experience to touch others.
Absolutely beautiful and so true. Saw this through a share on facebook, glad I did.
Thank you Amber for your comment. I appreciate it greatly.
Beautifully stated! The community’s character is shining.
Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. – John Wooden
I so appreciate the quote you posted. It is one of my favorites. I hope our community continues to pour out it’s support into the trust fund for the family.
Thank you for commenting. God Bless You.
Makes me proud to call Liberty “My Home Town”!!!
Thanks Mary. Me too. What a wonderful, emotional and heartbreaking time for the people in our hometown. Praying for each other and Chad’s family is the only way now.
Thank you for your comment.
I’m writing this on Friday afternoon.
For those of you who have been keeping up with the news, you already know what is happening.
For those of you who have not, Chad’s body has been discovered.
Kristin, I thank you so very much for your post, and while my heart is so very very sad for the loss of a beloved friend I cared for so very much, I can find grace in how overwhelmingly invested an entire town (and not a small town, by any means) became in the search efforts for one man.
From a technological standpoint, it was incredible to see my entire Facebook feed rid itself of petty memes about politics, and pictures of food and fill with deep and genuine concern, and ultimately, grief over Chad’s fate.
It’s not often people get to say they come from a town so wholly supportive as Liberty, MO, and today, through all the grief and sadness, I can find a little comfort knowing that I come from one of those places.
In closing, and on a personal note, while Chad left us far before he should have, we can take comfort in 2 very simplistic things;
1) Chad’s life ended while he was doing the very thing he loved
2) Chad will finally get to meet Jesus.
Thank you for your comment today. I had heard the news mid-afternoon and it made me deeply sad. He was found so close to where I live which makes me feel even more forever changed.
I am relieved that you appreciated my post. I write all the time and only sometimes I put my words out for others. I tried to be so careful to honor what a great individual Chad Rogers seemed to be and also keep in mind how his family would feel if they ever read it. I am glad that we both can find peace in Chad meeting Jesus. Heaven is our forever home and we are just passing through.
Kristen you are blessed with a gift from God for sharing beautifully in words what others can merely think. Made me smile to picture you rocking and singing….miss seeing you!
Thankful that Chad knew Jesus and is now “home”.
Thanks so much Suzie! I am glad you like my writing. It feels good to have this form of expression. Miss you too!