East Texas church pays off $4 million in medical debt

East Texas church pays off $4 million in medical debt

Hundreds of homes throughout East Texas got an unusual yellow envelope in their mailboxes thanks to one Southern Baptist church.

It wasn’t a church invite or junk mail. Instead it could be worth tens of thousands of dollars for the recipients.

Facilitated by more than $45,000 in generous gifts in August, Green Acres Baptist Church, Tyler, Texas, is working with a nonprofit toward paying off $4 million in medical debt for their East Texas neighbors. 

‘Crippling problem’

David Dykes, the church’s pastor, noted Tyler is the medical capital of East Texas with several large medical facilities. “Through my relationship with Mother Frances Hospital I know just that one hospital is carrying like $157 million of unpaid bills,” he said.

“It’s a problem that’s crippling many families.

“The Bible says to ‘bear one another’s burdens and so we fulfill the law of Christ,’” he noted. 

“The only law of Christ is to love God and love your neighbor. Because the need was so great we felt like this was the perfect thing for us to do.”

Helping with medical bills is part of Green Acres’ larger Kindness 25:40 initiative, based on Matthew 25:40: “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine you did for me.” 

As part of the initiative Green Acres challenged its members to participate in a variety of acts of kindness in the community. 

To pay off the medical debt Green Acres contacted RIP Medical Debt, a national nonprofit that has helped organizations, like churches, abolish $715 million of debt since its 2014 founding.

Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.