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