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An open letter, dated March 1, 2012

From the Desk of Bishop Derek E. Eurales, Sr:


On February 29, 2012, we experienced a great and violent storm that ripped across Southern Illinois among several other states. The worst hit was Harrisburg, Illinois. This day was my associate minister’s (Elder Walter Banks) birthday. This day also marked the end of African American History Month. Therefore, it was a day of celebration, embracing, and bereaving.

Our prayers and condolences go to the families of those lost during the devastating storm (tornados) that wreaked havoc across our Southern Illinois region. Many were injured and some dreams were shattered, but God is still in control. By His grace, the storms hit during a time of rest and less people were at the places where the storms hit the worst.

For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (Psalm 30:5 KJV)

To my friend, and the mayor of Harrisburg, Illinois Eric Gregg, be encouraged and know that my prayers will continue for your town. The church I pastor in Carrier Mills, Illinois, is seven miles from Harrisburg. To each of my members, friends and fellow yoke men in the Gospel, God is good all the time; hang on in there. As you pick up the pieces, broken, battered, but not defeated; know that His grace is sufficient. Strong winds may blow, rain will fall, but the righteous will never be forsaken, nor will his seed beg for bread!

As I saw one of CNN’s reporters lift up a baseball bat at the scene of some torn apart buildings, God reassured me that we are still in the ballgame and will win because Jesus has already hit a homerun!

The joy of the Lord is our strength. So step-by-step, going the way the Spirit leads us, with our hand in God’s hand, our hearts in the right place (loving Him as well as one another), we can make it. For many of us facing difficulty, the storm is passing over!

I love you!


Bishop Derek E. Eurales, Sr.
Prelate of the Southern Illinois Annual of Free Will Baptists
Pastor of First Opportunity Free Will Baptist Church, Carrier Mills, IL



Bishop Derek E. Eurales, Sr. has been pastor of First Opportunity Free Will Baptist Church in Carrier Mills, Illinois, since December 1988 and continues to stand on and preach the “Word”. He oversees the Southern Illinois Annual of Free Will Baptists (Western Division). To read his full biography, click here. Feel free to contact him today to share your testimony!