Waco Over the last year, Courtney McCash has walked through the pain of losing a spouse, but in the midst of her suffering, she has also experienced the love and encouragement of churches across the state.
In April, her husband, Jason McCash, passed away, following a 14-month battle with cancer. A former chaplain in the U.S. Army, Jason had served as pastor of Timber Crest Baptist Church in Waco since 2014.
During his final months, the McCash family’s time was consumed with medical appointments and hospital stays, as Jason’s health declined.
“There was a lot of back and forth to doctors appointments and tests and wondering what’s going on,” Courtney recalls.
During this difficult season, Jason, Courtney and the couple’s two children found support not only from friends, loved ones, and their local church, but also from the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.
Throughout Jason’s illness, Gilbert Chavez, the field ministry strategist serving churches in that area of the state, faithfully walked alongside the McCash family, making visits to their home and offering constant prayer and encouragement.
“It’s always nice to know that someone is praying for you, especially with Gilbert. You just know if he says he is praying, then he is. We could feel the prayers being lifted up, and that means a lot,” Courtney said.
After Jason’s passing, Chavez and the state convention remained valuable resources for the McCashes, contributing to emergency funds that enabled Courtney to entirely cover the cost of funeral arrangements.
“That was amazing,” she said. “I’ve heard so many stories of people that have to pay a fortune and are in debt because of a funeral, and I would hate to have had that. Thankfully, that (financial support) helped us to be able to go in and pay it and not have to worry about it.”
Through the help of Chavez and other SBTC personnel, Courtney also learned that she was eligible to receive death benefits through GuideStone Financial Resources, which partners with the convention’s Pastor/Church Relations department.
Over the last three years, this ministry has provided $85,000 to families of SBTC pastors, like the McCashes, during times of need.
“The money we received from GuideStone (is) going to allow us to buy a home,” Courtney said. “We’ve lived in parsonages for the last six years, … and I didn’t know what we were going to do. That’s going to allow us to be able to buy a home and not have to worry about finances at this point in time.”
Because of these benefits, Courtney said she won’t have to go back to work full-time, giving her the opportunity to be with her children as they continue through the grieving and healing process together.
“That has alleviated a lot of pressure,” she said.
Chavez said being able to come alongside Courtney in behalf of the SBTC during the last year has been an honor.
“It was a blessing to me to know that we were able to intervene and provide the encouragement of knowing that people are standing with her and beside her to support her and her family,” he said.
The love and support have not gone unnoticed, Courtney said.
“It’s been great to have people that you know really care, that go out of their way, even though they’re not in the same city or area; they care and follow up with you and make sure that everything is ok.”