As I write, Boston is just inches shy of breaking its all-time record of 107-plus inches of snowfall in a single season — and Jefferson City, Mo., native Randy Sprinkle and wife Nancy have been right in the middle of it.
Randy retired two years ago as director of transformative leadership for the Baptist Convention of New England. He and Nancy make their home in Worcester on the western edge of Boston.
He is best known in Missouri for designing and implementing the International Mission Board’s first state/mission prayer partnership — the Missouri/Lesotho Prayer Partnership, particularly embraced by Missouri Woman’s Missionary Union and still functioning today.
Randy and Nancy initiated Baptist mission work in the South African nation in 1986 and initiated the partnership shortly after that. They previously were missionaries serving in Ethiopia and Botswana, and he was named director of the IMB International Prayer Strategy Office in 1994. He became executive director of the Wyoming Southern Baptist Convention in 2003 before taking the post in New England in 2005. I
n an email exchange a couple of weeks ago, Randy acknowledged the “severity of the cold combined with the depth of snow is taking its toll on people here. Buildings are collapsing daily from the weight of snow loads. In addition, thousands of homes are suffering internal water damage from a phenomenon known as ‘ice dams.’ Along the edges of roofs, snow melts from heat seepage and creates thick ice, which pushes up under the roofing shingles and then leaks into the ceilings.”
To prevent that kind of damage, families have to “rake the roof” with a special long-handled tool to keep snow from building up. “It’s hard work,” he said.
“Winter is always extra hard on our churches because of decreased attendance and increased heating costs,” he said. “This winter has been particularly bad as the blizzards and storms keep coming on the weekends, which necessitates the closing of churches (and everything else).
“We would be very grateful for intercession from the faithful folks of Missouri,” he said as forecasters called for a weekend of freezing rain and ice. “Should this occur, we will have homes and buildings collapsing in mass because they just cannot stand up under the increased weight.
“In addition, ice at this time of year brings down power lines, which causes the loss of heat which in turn results in frozen pipes and terrible water damage,” he added. “May God have mercy on us.
“Everyone knows New England as a beautiful place (and it is) but it is also a hard place to live, both physically and spiritually,” he said. “We need Him, particularly now.”
Readers will certainly want to honor this request to pray for the Sprinkles and millions of their neighbors in the Northeast. As winter weather continues, the needs of people — physically, psychologically and spiritually — are very real.