By Ashley Perham
Contributing writer, B&R
FRANKLIN — Don Owen, First Baptist Church, Morristown, is the recipient of this month’s “Light Award” from the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board, which recognizes volunteers who are making a difference for the TBMB across the state.
Owen started working with Disaster Relief in 2004, although he admitted he came into it “kicking and screaming.” He owned three different companies at the time and said he was very busy. However, he has not regretted jumping in.
“I’ve seen so many blessings come from this work,” he said. “Just having the opportunity to work with some of the greatest people on the face of the earth.”
Mark LeMay, facilities/risk management manager for the TBMB, said the Light Award is based on Matthew 5:16: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your father who is in heaven.”
Owen runs God’s Warehouse Ministries in Morristown. There are five ministries under the umbrella of God’s Warehouse Ministries, each of which has their own directors: Disaster Relief, Baptist Builders, God’s Warehouse Services, Harvest of Israel and the Midwest Food Bank.
Owen works with Nolachucky Disaster Relief, which responded to 18 disasters last year.
Owen explained that when he ran businesses, he paid his employees but still had to make sure they did their work. However, with Disaster Relief volunteers, the problem is keeping them busy enough.
“And that’s the difference,” Owen said. “When people are doing what they want to do and love to do and God is blessing, it’s just a world of difference.”
Baptist Builders comes in after Disaster Relief teams have cleaned up from a disaster. They then help to rebuild destroyed homes. Owen said that Baptist Builders also participates in building projects on a local level to help widows, widowers and people with disabilities.
God’s Warehouse Services provides furnishings and appliances to local families who have lost everything in disasters such as fires or floods. Owen said he believes ministry begins by taking care of local needs.
“We need to take care of home needs first, or we don’t need to go out of town,” he said.
Harvest of Israel is a ministry that sends supplies to Israel to help different groups there, such as Holocaust survivors or Jews emigrating to “Mother Israel” with only a suitcase and the clothes on their back, Owen said.
The goal of Harvest of Israel is to send one container every month, but last year, the ministry was able to send 15 containers. The group has sent 56 containers in total.
The containers are filled with medical supplies, bedding, mattresses, furniture and other household goods, Owen said.
Midwest Food Bank distributes food to 31 different ministries every month in the Appalachian region. Their ministry extends into southern Kentucky, western North Carolina and middle Tennessee.
In his 16 years of ministry, Owen said God has taught him so many things it would take all day to tell.
“God’s timing is always perfect. His provision never fails. He is faithful,” Owen said. “I could tell you stories of how God has blessed that you would not even believe me if I told you.”
Owen said that he doesn’t feel like he runs God’s Warehouse Ministries. “God just lets me be in the middle of it, kind of orchestrating and trying to help a little bit,” he said. B&R