Even with his face covered by a mask, it was clear that Zach Lloyd couldn’t contain his emotions Monday when he discovered months of medical bills and other out of pocket medical expenses had been “paid in full” following a near-death experience with COVID-19.
Lloyd, a Tennessee bivocational pastor from Lafollette Baptist Church, was among a variety of surprises and testimonies shared during the NAMB Send Luncheon in Nashville.
During the event, North American Mission Board President Kevin Ezell announced that former college football coach Mark Richt will be the national spokesman for Send Relief. The announcement was followed by retired Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden surprising his former assistant coach on stage.
Both men embraced and shared stories about their faith and longtime friendship. Bowden, who is an outspoken Christian, emphasized the importance of being bold with the message of Christ. “If we don’t talk about Jesus how is the world going to know,” he said.
Ezell went on to share how Pastor Sam Greer of Red Bank Baptist Church, Chattanooga, Tennessee, reached out to the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board to find a pastor they could help. Executive Director Randy Davis recommended Lloyd, who at the time was a patient at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. During Lloyd’s ordeal, he ended up needing a double lung transplant and spent nine months in the hospital.
For several months, Greer shared, the church helped Lloyd’s family cover their mortgage payments.
While on the platform, Lloyd received unexpected news from the Vanderbilt medical team that his bills had also been covered, as well as receiving a check from Davis and Ezell to help cover other out-of-pocket medical expenses. In addition, expenses will be covered to replace the family’s vehicle that has racked up thousands of miles from months of trips to the hospital. To top off the gift, the Atlanta Braves fan received free tickets to a game and access to batting practice. The bivocational pastor continues to receive transplant treatments — one of which is scheduled for this Wednesday.
Relationships help make these types of outreach efforts possible, Davis said.
“Great kingdom work cannot be done without relationships,” Davis said. “It’s all about relationships, good relationships.”