Christ's love in action: Church responds quickly to help family in need

3/9/2012

The following article written by Ken Bonner appeared in The Daily Sentinel.

Donald and Elaine Thomas had an immediate and critical need.

Michael Carver and his congregation at Randall's Chapel United Methodist Church in Scottsboro met it.

"We did it to show the love of Christ," Carver said.

Carver is the pastor at Randall's Chapel. He said members of the congregation helped in many ways when a natural disaster struck the Thomas home in the Long Hollow community.

During recent heavy rains the roof on the Thomas's mobile home caved in during the middle of the night. Water poured into the home. It damaged contents and compromised the structural integrity of the home.

Carver responded immediately after receiving a middle of the night phone call from the Thomas's daughter, Sherry, who is a member of the church. He went to pray with the family, console them and offer hope.

Quickly, Carver put a small group together to move furniture, rip up carpet, tear out the ceiling and put a tarp over the home to prevent further damage. But, he realized there was a greater need. The Thomas family needed help for the long term.

"Christians have to respond in the love of Christ," Carver said. "Some people think you have to go to the foreign mission field to help. You don't. This was a real life example of seeing a need and I had to respond, we had to respond."

Help came quickly. First, Carver, Thomas Lusk, Charles Killough and James Gray did immediate work to protect the property from further damage.

Then the church answered the call. Money, materials and household furnishings were donated to meet needs.

Carver, Lusk and others have replaced the rafters, placed new metal on the roof, installed new flooring and are well on the way to having the job completed with volunteer labor. There is work to be done to complete the ceiling and other odds and ends but the finish line is in sight.

"We're not carpenters, we're not skilled laborers," Carver said, "but we had to be the hands of Christ. "

God gets the credit.

"Faith is Christ in action. We had faith that God would lead us and make it happen," said Carver. "It has come together. God's power and victory will not fail when His people respond in that way."

The Thomases have been blessed. They've gone from a sense of despair to one of to victory. "They know they are loved and supported by a community. They've come through."

Those who had a hand in returning the Thomases to a sense of normalcy have also been blessed.

"Everyone involved has been blessed as equally as the Thomases. Seeing the faces and the journey the family has come through is worth it," said Carver. "There is a great satisfaction."

Carver is proud of those who helped in any way. He said it's a process that opens eyes to the possibilities of sharing God's love and helping others.

"You see people doing it for the first time. And, then they receive that feeling of victory, a sense of completion and pride in their ability," he said. "After that, they know they can do it and are often the first to show up when another situation occurs."

It's a process. Showing and affirming Christ's love comes back and results in receiving that love as a blessing.

To get the ball rolling, Carver shared the need with his congregation. That's all it took.

"All that came in to help in this situation was from immediate giving. People responded," Carver said. "We had an abundance and we have plenty left to complete the work."

Again, Carver credits God. "He put the right people together, the right materials and the right donations. We responded."

© Copyright 2012, The Daily Sentinel, Scottsboro, AL. Reprinted with permission.


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