In the stark darkness of poverty, addictions, broken homes and broken lives, a glimmer of light shines with help and hope. It is a small light, only a flicker at times, but it keeps shining and hope keeps rising. The unloved are being loved, the hopeless are finding hope, and the sinful are being made righteous.
In a community with little to offer hurting people,, the light of love and the good news about Jesus is shining from the little flock at the Hemley Road church of Christ. Out of their poverty they are feeding the hungry, repairing homes, and building broken lives. Few of those old enough to work have jobs and finances are very thin. Only their faith in God keeps the light shining.
Each Sunday morning two large vans comb the communities rounding up dozens of excited children who look forward to something to eat, smiles and hugs, and learning about the love of God. Just the expense of keeping the two church vans going and the electric bill is more than the church’s meager offerings. Very few of the adults have jobs and are barely able to survive. Yet, in the face of incredible odds that they can’t make it, they do, and somehow these faith filled people keep the light shining in the darkness.
On Easter Sunday morning dozens of happy children took the stage and sang some songs in “big church” then went to their worship time. After the services there was a frantic but happy Easter egg hunt and every little one was as happy as could be. Before I preached on the resurrection of Jesus and the hope it gives Billy Spaulding and I presented several baptismal certificates to young people who have trusted Christ in recent months and have been baptized
The church operates a food panty, a Grief Share ministry, an adult Bible study on Sunday night, dinner and a movie on Saturday night, and picnics at the beach frequently. Every event, every stop of the church vans, every Bible lesson, is an expression of love and an opportunity for those with no hope to find the hope of the good news about Jesus.
The immediate needs are $4,000 for the annual insurance premium for the buildings, air conditioners for the church building ($8,000 to $10,000). Then there is the weekly fuel bill to operate the vans, food for the hungry children, supplying the food pantry, teaching materials and crafts, the electric bill ($1200 per month when volunteer workers are there in the summer), the water bill, etc., etc.
Everyone can’t give, but everyone can pray. Will you consider sharing these needs with your Sunday school class, or small group? Will you ask God to keep the light shining in Bayou La Batre, AL? And, will you ask God if you should help? The El Campo church of Christ in Elcampo, Texas provides some support and others do what they can, but the survival of this great work for God desperately needs friends who will open their check books to assure that the people of the Bayou continue to have the Light shining in their dark world. Thank you for reading and for your prayerful consideration.
(Donations can be sent to the El Campo church of Christ, 410 E. Calhoun St. El Campo Tx 77437, or directly to the Hemley Road church of Christ, 8270 Hemley Rd, Bayou La Batre, Al. All donations are tax deductable.)