Encouragement, God’s plan, Mcdowell County WV, Uncategorized, West Virginia Mission

Coal Mines in McDowell County WV

The more I learn about McDowell County, the more compassion I feel for these families. I do realize other places face opposition but God has placed us here and my heart aches to bring them help, healing, and hope. I find myself daydreaming about rebuilding what was lost, an entire community of people living in unity, and striving to please God. But is this possible? They do come to hear the word. But James says to be doers of the word and not hearers only. Prayer will be our weapon to achieve this.

The information I’ve learned so far has helped me understand and connect more deeply with their pain, questions, and confusion.

In the 1950’s West Virginia had 125,00 miners. By 1970, machines moved in to replace these miners. I assume, they believed from a business point that this was more efficient but soon the number of operating mines spiraled downward. By the 1990s only 20,000 miners remained and today’s shocking number is 12,000.

(Above two images are from VirginiaTech.com)

Despite this history, McDowell County is still ticking along. I know many feel it will never be restored but I believe it is very possible with God. It will never be like it was but that doesn’t mean it can not be better.

When Daniel was cast into the lion’s den, the king said, ” May your God, whom you continually serve, deliver you!”

That was one of many things Daniel faced and God did deliver him.

This plant is right up the road from me. They load coal into train cars. It’s hard to get good pictures with the foliage. At night, it lights up like a Christmas tree.

God is going to do amazing things here so let’s watch him work!

God’s plan, Mcdowell County WV, West Virginia Mission

God Makes Things Possible!

So here we are in McDowell County West Virginia. We’ve been here for around 4 months (with no internet until now).

Four years ago next month we packed everything we own and set out with a call from God. The call for Larry to pastor a church planted out of our home church was all that was clear. We didn’t know where or when. We didn’t know how each step would go but we trusted God did. I won’t lie, we’ve had to be reminded from time to time that God finishes what He starts. But here we are.

Our goal is to bring help, healing, and hope to this poverty-stricken county. The plan, for now, is to, of course, share Christ but also to repair homes, give out food boxes as we find food donors and open a clothing closet. Larry is preaching most weekends and I’ve started teaching a group of youth. And I must say, they are awesome!

Being here is like stepping back in time. Everything runs on a slow pace and not a soul is in a hurry. It’s not a bad thing to slow down but it does take some patience. We are continually meeting and building relationships with some amazing people.

When the mines shut down, so did many of the businesses.

We all need hope and that is exactly what we intend to bring to the family’s here.

Joe Ford is the mayor of Iaeger. Larry and I have talked with him several times. I found this quote from him on “weheartwv.com“.

“People came here when the coal mines were big. I mean there used to be mines in just about all the hollows around here. We probably won’t ever see anything like that again in this area, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a future,” Ford said.

The article talks about how the town has survived despite the mines closing and people leaving. It mentions the population dropped from 1600 residents to around 300.

I’m currently gathering information on the history of our surrounding areas. I want to learn what these folks have been through. I know I want to show them a new hope and that hope is Jesus. I want to share what He can do for each and every person still here.

Please pray for McDowell County and pray for us!

If you’ve found your joy in Jesus, share it!

Encouragement, God’s plan

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1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on earth.

3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4, KJV)

C-enter

We all have something at the center. Something that every aspect of our lives revolves around. We build our lives around something.

Think about it for a minute. What is our life built around?

Some build around career and wealth. They need to maintain success and keep a certain image in society. They look good from the outside but are miserable on the inside.

Some build around pleasure. They accumulate martial things. They get a thrill from every purchase but it doesn’t last and continue to seek the next item.

Some build around other people. They strive to be popular. They surround themselves with as many people as possible. If you know everybody then your somebody, right? The answer is no because they will still feel alone.

We must build our lives around Christ. Christ is the only thing that will fill the void.

Christ is all and in all (Colossians 3:11b, KJV)

You have everything you need if you have been saved by God’s grace. Putting Him in the center of our lives and building on that is the key to success. Listen, my friend, you are somebody to Christ. He came to this earth and shed His blood for YOU. Did you know that if you were the only one on this planet that was going to accept Him into your heart and He already knew that, He would have still come and died for just YOU.

When the pain, disappointment, grief, burdens, and storms of life come, we need our lives built around Christ. He is steadfast, unmovable, never-changing, and knows exactly what you need and when you need it.

H-ope

What do we place our hope in?

Maybe, we place our hope in the government officials. We think the new president will turn this country around.

Maybe, we place our hope in education, doctors or scientific achievements. They will figure out how to fix us, correct this fallen world, and make us live longer.

No, darling, they can’t!

Christ is our hope. Our only hope. (1 Timothy 1:1b)

Jesus Christ is the only hope for this world, the church, and us. He can lift up the depressed, burdened, sick, lonely, and the tempted. He can give us eternal life with Him in heaven, a place with no more burdens, pain, and tears.

To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which Christ in you, the hope of glory: (Colossians 1:27, KJV)

R-edeemer

What can bring us redemption?

Can money buy us salvation? How about houses, land, and expensive items, can those redeem our soul? No, because the price has already been paid by the blood of Christ.

By His death on the cross, Jesus Christ redeemed those who repent and believe in Him.

18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. 1 Peter 1:18-21, KJV)

I-nstructor

I will instruct thee and teach thee…(Psalm 32:8, KJV)

To receive knowledge and an education we must work, study, apply ourselves, use the textbooks, and listen to the teacher.

Christ is the Heavenly Instructor. We must read the Bible, study, listen to the teacher (the Lord) and apply it to our lives.

S-trength

We need strength in today’s world. We either just came out of a trial, are going through a trial, or getting ready to start a trial. We are under constant threat of sickness, fires, shootings, and strife. Trouble and turmoil surround us.

David said, “The Lord is the strength of my life”. (Psalm 27:1, KJV)

Christ gives strength. He is bigger than all our troubles. He has power and is able to show it in every situation.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13, KJV)

T-rust

What do we honestly put our trust in? Often we trust in uncertain riches, achievements, other people, and ourselves.

We must commit our way unto the Lord and trust also in Him. (Psalm 37:5, KJV)

Others will fail us. We will fail ourselves. But Christ never fails. The power of God is a mighty thing.

Application

To make Christ our life…

  • We must build our lives with Him at the center.
  • We must place our hope in him and nothing of the world.
  • We must recognize Him as our Redeemer.
  • We must turn to Him for strength.
  • We must trust in Him and His ways and lean not on our understanding.

Are we doing these? Maybe, there are one or two areas of our life that don’t match up. Listen to the Holy Spirit because He will guide us if we allow it.

Remember, if you have found your joy in Jesus, share it!