Churches on the South Central Ohio District rallied around two causes this summer.
The first project began in March during missionary zone rallies on the district. Missionary Tim Eby spoke about the work God is doing in West Africa, showing a video about pastors and lay leaders using motorcycles to take God’s Word to areas that are difficult to reach. These pastors and lay leaders take the JESUS Film in a backpack along with hand-held solar units downloaded with teaching materials in their native language.
District Superintendent Trevor Johnston challenged churches to raise funds to purchase 10 motorcycles at $2,000 each.
"God moved the hearts of the people in a phenomenal way and they responded by raising nearly $39,000," said Carol Lee Carpenter, Nazarene Missions International president for the South Central Ohio District. "That is 18 plus motorcycles for pastors and lay leaders! We can envision the Word of God riding the winds of West Africa and bringing the good news of hope and salvation."
Eby expressed his appreciation for the churches' generosity.
“It was so great this week when I received this long list of motorcycle funds on our allocation," he said. "I sat at my computer for a few minutes and teared up thinking about how blessed we are to have such great support from good friends across the South Central Ohio District. You guys have gone the extra mile! You have exceeded my wildest dreams.”
Shortly after the motorcycle project was completed, on June 23, major rains and devastating floods hit West Virginia. Thousands of homes were destroyed, lives were lost, and churches, parsonages, and entire towns washed away.
"West Virginia is our sister district and once again, the generosity of the South Central Ohio District began to pour," Carpenter said. "Almost immediately, our disaster response coordinator, Rev. Daniel Fulton, and our Columbus Lifepoint Church with Pastor Brad Kochis formed a team of workers and were on the scene within a matter of days."
Other churches, including Grove City, Circleville Heritage, New Hope, Columbus Shepherd, and South Point, took supplies to West Virginia and sent work teams. The teams helped in the distribution center, shoveled mud, tore down damaged walls and drywall, put up floor joists and sub-flooring, insulated walls, and helped recover personal items like family pictures.
On the South Central Ohio District, four strategical locations were designated as drop-off points for emergency relief supplies — Chillicothe First, Gallipolis First, Hebron Church, and Ironton First.
"The message went out through email, local radio, and television, and the supplies poured in abundantly," Carpenter said. "People arrived with their cars and trucks full of bottled water, cleaning supplies, blankets, diapers, Crisis Care Kits, and much more. Due to the bountiful giving of the people we were able to load an entire semi-truck and have it delivered within two weeks of the flooding!"
The truck loaded with supplies pulled into Teays Valley, West Virginia, July 5. The district received more than $6,000 in monetary donations, and over the next few weeks, several churches gathered work teams that dug out mud, tore down buildings, and helped rebuild.
"In a very short amount of time, the South Central Ohio District came together and made a huge difference for a hurting community," Carpenter said. "Currently there are plans to go back and help restore a parsonage and ministry center."
The West Virginia South District thanked the South Central Ohio District in an email:
“What an awesome blessing to see all of these supplies. Please know that we appreciate everything. Your thoughtfulness and work is greatly appreciated! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Our district thanks you. What a tremendous effort for the flood victims. Everyone I talk to there can't believe that a flood of this magnitude occurred but are overwhelmed by the generosity of others!”
The Circleville Heritage Church of the Nazarene had previously scheduled a Work & Witness painting project in West Virginia for the summer of 2016. When it came time for the project, instead of bringing paint brushes, they were asked to bring shovels, boots, and gloves.
"God was preparing people for West Virginia long before the need was there," Carpenter said. "All of this is compassion in action and people with a heart to serve. The rains came down, generosity poured, and God’s abundant love shined through."
--NCN News submissions via South Central Ohio District
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