By Amanda Onks
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Oct. 27, 2016) -- This past June, the youth mission team from Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church traveled to Rainelle, W.Va., to serve through Appalachian Service Project (ASP).
Toward the end of their work week, Rainelle was devastated by flooding. Munsey’s team and others at the ASP center had to evacuate and return home. Our team was forever changed by the experience and came home with hearts heavy for the people of West Virginia. God began a new work from the moment our team felt the first raindrop, as He began molding their hearts. Since the team returned, their love and concern for Rainelle has continued to spread throughout our congregation, and we've been brainstorming ways we could help.
Early this fall, some generous Munsey donors offered a $20,000 gift to ASP with one condition: the Munsey youth would have to match the gift. A sum of $20,000 is enough to help ASP build a house. So, wheels quickly began turning as we considered what we could do to raise $20,000 to help ASP build two houses in Rainelle.
Our youth met to talk about it and decided to host a luncheon after a Sunday worship in October. Youth requested donations of some of the foods and supplies, while others could be bought through the youth mission account. The goal was for ASP to receive 100 percent of the funds received from the luncheon.
By the time Oct. 16 arrived, a silent auction had been added to the fundraiser, as gifts were given to the youth to auction for the benefit of Rainelle. Abraham McIntire, ASP chief volunteer officer, joined the lunch, sharing pictures and news of progress already made in Rainelle. Youth members from our Rainelle team shared stories in worship and at the lunch of what they experienced and how they were changed.
As the morning came to a close, we counted donations and were blown away to learn we had received $11,691 toward our goal of matching the $20,000 gift for ASP. Love for Rainelle quickly spread throughout the congregation, and people began giving even more to help the youth reach our goal.
It wasn't long before we surpassed the $20,000 goal and were within $5,000 of building a third house. Generosity continued to pour in, and we were able to bring in enough money to finish out that third house, for a total for $40,000 raised to go alongside the initial $20,000 offer.
Today, we presented a check to ASP for $60,000, which will provide new homes for three families who lost so much to the flood. We look forward to being in touch with the new homeowners. We have already begun praying over them and considering how we might continue to connect with them.
Amanda Onks is youth ministry administrator at Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church. For more information on how to be involved with ASP's long-term recovery efforts, visit ASPhome.org or contact Abraham McIntyre at Abraham@ASPHome.org/ 800-289-4254.